Concerned individuals are warning parents about the possible psychological impact of Doki Doki Literature Club after a father linked his son's suicide to the game.
An investigation is underway regarding the circumstances that led 15-year-old Ben Walmsley to take his own life in February this year. His father is suspecting that his son's habit of playing the anime video game has contributed greatly to his son's decision to commit suicide.
Indeed, despite the games colorful and charming visuals, Doki Doki comes with a warning.
"This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed," it reads.
'Doki Doki Literature Club' Has Dark Plot Twist
The game features multiple fictional characters that, at some point, will commit individual suicides. The narrative is strategically laid out that these suicides will always come as a surprise to the players.
Among the four main characters, players can choose whom they can befriend and date as the game progresses.
What made the game darker and truly disturbing is the female character named Monika. Her character is designed to trick players into believing that she is real and an actual girl trapped inside the players' computers.
She appears to be self-aware and in fact, makes it clear that she does not want players to date anyone but her. Like an actual lover, Monika will not permit the players to walk away from her. She conditions their minds that she and the players should share a lifetime together.
Players who end up choosing Monika would have to leave the characters that they initially chose. Characters that are not chosen "romantically" by the players will then kill themselves. Their suicides are depicted with graphic scenes, where they either hang or stab themselves.
The characters' suicide appeared to be the result of the players' control over the game. The deaths seem to be the result of the players' wrong turn or poor decisions while they are playing. However, it will be revealed later on in the game that all the suicides were orchestrated by Monika.
Game Linked To Teen's Suicide
Darren Walmsley, the teen's father, believed that Doki Doki made its way to his son's head. He said the game might have "dragged" his son in.
In response to Darren's concern about the anime game, a coroner brought the matter to the attention of a local high school in the UK. The school responded by circulating a letter warning about the potential psychological harm that Doki Doki may bring to teens.
"This is a psychological horror game with suicide as the main feature. A concern has been expressed that the game may trigger suicidal thoughts in young people who may be emotionally vulnerable," the letter reads.
Video Game Addiction
Incidentally, the issue surrounding the game's dark theme came as the World Health Organization officially recognized game addiction as a mental health disorder. WHO defined video game addiction as a pattern of behavior where players could no longer control his desire to play, prioritizing gaming over other interests or daily activities.
Gamers continue to behave this way despite the occurrence of negative consequences, such as significant distress and failure to properly function in their personal, social, educational, and occupational dealings.
Ultimately, a person may be diagnosed with video game addiction when he or she exhibits impaired control over gaming in a persistent or recurrent pattern of sufficient severity lasting at least 12 months.