Doki Doki Literature Club Allegedly Linked to Teen’s Suicide
Nobody expected the storm wrought by Doki Doki Literature Club. A free visual novel, Doki Doki looks like another waifu simulator until you dig any deeper. Once you do, however, things get a bit hectic. Depression, obsession, and bullying become focal points. Multiple characters secrete a number of bodily fluids. The game certainly earned its Psychological Horror tag, which I thoroughly doubted upon first glance. It cracked me open like an egg and left me pondering what I’d played for days.
The game became a critical darling for its shocking and emotional twists and turns. Now, however, the game is under the microscope for its potential role in a suicide. The Manchester Evening News reports that Manchester school officials have been warning parents about Doki Doki Literature Club. The warnings come after the Manchester coroner’s office notified authorities that a 15-year-old had been playing the game before committing suicide.
The boy’s father, Darren Walmsley, claims that the game was contacting his son at all hours of the night and that it had “sucked him in.” The boy was also drawing Doki Doki Literature Club’s characters in his free time. “It is free to download but once you get into it, it will not leave you alone,” said Walmsley. “The characters befriend and love you and give you tasks to do but if you do not do them, they turn nasty.” Walmsley hopes that all parents will be vigilant and aware of the dangers posed by the game.
My memory may be eluding me, but I do not recall any option to enter a phone number in Doki Doki Literature Club. That sounds more like Mystic Messenger than Doki Doki. (Correct me in the comments if I’m wrong, gamers.) It may seem trivial in the face of such a tragedy, but it isn’t. Misidentifying a cause for blame can lead to serious issues for the accused.
The game’s developer, Team Salvato, has not responded to the story as of this piece’s publication.
The news could not come at a worse time for the gaming industry. Last week, the World Health Organization classified gaming disorder as an official health condition. In response, the first gaming rehabilitation funded by the NHS will open soon in England. While the industry’s public response has garnered plenty of attention, deaths related to gaming undermine their argument.
Doki Doki Literature Club comes with an explicit warning at the start of the game: “This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed.” It’s hard to fault the game for making mature content and providing players with a suitable preface. The game wowed millions of players with its fresh and daring content, and it’s a shame that it is now in the spotlight for negative reasons.
Is it possible Doki Doki Literature Club played a role in this tragedy? Do you think the Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board is getting ahead of itself? How much of an impact do you think a game can have on a mind? Keep the discussion going in the comment section, on Twitter, and on Facebook.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline any time, 24/7.
Drew Weissman230 Posts
Drew is a freelance writer for DFTG. He's the former Managing Editor of Haogamers and has been published in the Chicago Tribune and The Paragon Journal. He also edited the novel Three Brightnesses and Artist Journey: Rachta Lin (2016 and 2017 editions).