Take a walk on the thin line between hope and despair in Actual Sunlight: A short interactive story about love, depression and the corporation.
User reviews:
Very Positive (311 reviews) - 81% of the 311 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 3, 2014

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“The Biggest Challenge In This Game Is Preventing Your Character From Committing Suicide”

“Actual Sunlight Is The Hardest Hitting Game About Depression I’ve Ever Played”

“Actual Sunlight is a brutal depiction of a man’s life self-destructing, and it’s a game whose central character can only find hope in his own death.”
Rock, Paper, Shotgun

About This Game

“I know what you’re thinking: Why keep getting up, day in and day out, even though your life is going nowhere?”

Notorious: Widely considered to be one of the bleakest and best-written experiences in indie gaming, Actual Sunlight challenges you to confront the life of Evan Winter: An overweight, lonely and severely depressed young professional.

Fear the words, not the reading: Presented almost entirely in text, a mixture of sharp observation and pitch black humor captures your interest from provocative beginning to shattering conclusion.

Prepare yourself: Actual Sunlight is a uniquely unforgettable adventure that will etch itself into you as one of the most difficult, haunting and beautiful experiences you have ever had as a gamer.

Key Features

  • An intense, heartbreaking story with themes of video game addiction, unsatisfying work and miserable solitude.
  • Beautiful, original pixel and CG artwork invokes the streets, offices and sanctuaries of Toronto, Canada.
  • Dark and moody original music sets a proper tone for the brutal indifference of real life.

Important Notice

Due to explicit language, Actual Sunlight is not appropriate for players under the age of 18.

It also deals with extremely mature themes, including depression and thoughts of suicide. Similar to other forms of art that tackle these issues, Actual Sunlight can be an extremely powerful emotional experience – before downloading it, please first consider what your reaction to a book, film or piece of music in a similar vein might be.

For immediate updates on the game, please follow Will O'Neill on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/willoneill

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows 98, XP, Vista, 7
    • Processor: Intel Pentium III 800 MHz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 1024x768 High Color +
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 100 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
15 of 17 people (88%) found this review helpful
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 25, 2015
"It's cool to be sad"

"No, it isn't. It's just sad."

Actual Sunlight is best described as an interactive short story portraying a man fighting a losing battle with depression; as the protagonist's dark thoughts get the best of him his hate for himself and his own life send him down an ever darker spiral.
There's not much of a game here but its strong narrative, great writing and rarely touched subject matter make Actual Sunlight an experience worth considering for those strong enough to face its bleak, hopeless nature.


-top notch writing creates a great, mature narrative

-the few artwork pieces used in the game are simple yet beautiful

-good soundtrack

-holds no punches when it comes to subjects such as depression, suicide, self-hatred, abuse etc...

-will easily evoke strong emotions and/ or provide some food for thought


-the themes presented will be too much for some, the game is crude and bleak and could easily cause discomfort to gamers who are either too sensitive or too close to the subject matter


-some phrases can feel a tad too stereotypical

-very short, you'll be done in an hour

-little to no player input is required


Actual Sunlight is an experience...a bleak, raw, thought-provoking, emotional journey that is sure to stir strong emotions in its audience. There's basically no light or hope here, the story goes on and meticulously chronicles the feel of desperation, self-loathing and hopelessness that many people fightning with depression face every day. There can be a few bitter laughs here and there though, if you're a cynic like yours truly, when the game provides some social commentary on how relationships or job seeking work nowadays.

Evan Winter, the game's protagonist, is on the far end of the depression spectrum but there's no denying that many people will feel familiar with at least a few of his thoughts, actions and feelings: hereby lies Actual Sunlight's true strength as the game lets you project your own uncertainty and discomfort onto the tale being told.

Is this story one for you? It's honestly hard to say...I was deeply touched by Actual Sunlight and personally feel it'd be experienced by basically everyone at least once, provided you won't be upset or disgusted by its themes. I must also warn you though, just as the dev does ingame, that this story could also push you further down a dark path if you're having issues yourself so tread accordingly.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 29, 2015
Like many struggling with mental illess In Actual Sunlight you find yourself in control of a pessimist with learned helplessness: Evan Winter.

It is an interesting visual novel... a label I attritribute to the seemingly lack of actual gameplay other than occasional user movement and object clicking. Evan often daydreams to escape his depression - a torment exasperated by an unsatisfying work/social/sex life resulting in his belief that he is a failure.

There are days where we all climb out of bed in the morning and think, "I'm not going to make it," but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you've felt that way. The ending of this game didn't have to be the ending. Keep climbing out of bed everyone! Make each day count.
Start a band.
Start a company.
Start a band that sings ABOUT companies(no don't do that).
Learn about something everytime you get on the computer before you goof off.
Pick up dancing.
Read some decent books, you can look online for some lists if you're overwhelmed by the 129,864,880 currently existing books.
Eat healthy.
Go volunteer locally for christ sakes.

...and don't go doing all this in order because it's not meant that way but if you do you'll be #1.

Recommended highly for it's excellent and somewhat humourous writing.

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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 4
I don't think this game deserves a negative review, but neither do I think it deserves a positive one. I chose to give Actual Sunlight a "thumbs-up" because it's well made, not because I had a good experience playing it. At any rate, I think it's best to look at what I will say below as a warning or observation rather than a review.

First of all, this isn't really a game. It's a narrative experience centered on Evan Winter, a man who thinks he's worthless. The only things to do in Actual Sunlight are examine objects and talk to NPCs. The only choice you have is in which order to do them. Each interaction you perform presents a written vignette that will gradually lead you deeper into Evan Winter's troubled life. Through talking to a limited cast of characters and examining Evan's home and work environments, you will learn about how his life has gone stagnant and gain insight into exactly what Evan thinks of himself, his culture, and his circumstances. These vignettes are sometimes humorous (in a cynical way) or sad, but they always seek to illustrate the profound loneliness of Evan. It took me about an hour and a half from start to finish.

The writing is good. That, almost exclusively, is what will carry you through the experience. But when you finish reading the last sentence of Actual Sunlight, you're not going to be smiling. You might not even feel the satisfaction of having read a well-told story... even though the writing does deserve praise. Here's the catch: if you suffer from depression or social anxiety, like I do, reading through Actual Sunlight can be triggering. If you play this game, you are going to stand in the shoes of a man who has no hope and thus no future. If you think (mistakenly) that you are even remotely in the same situation, then please consider firing up some zombie-killing simulator instead. It'll make you feel better than following Evan Winter around.

Actual Sunlight is unrelentingly, brutally harsh and dark. There is no redemption to be found here and certainly no happy ending. This game seeks to embrace the old idiom: "sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a train." It's like witnessing a horrendous car wreck and trying to make sense of it. Can you? Is there any meaning or purpose in something like this? Why did I play this game? I appreciated the quality of most of the writing, but I certainly didn't have fun. In fact, I feel pretty bummed out.

So there. There's your warning, and I got something off my chest. Now where's that shortcut for Plants vs. Zombies? <click-click>
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 1, 2015
While I certainly respect, and understand, and even applaud designers for approaching the topic of depression in a game setting, I don't think Actual Sunlight is a good exploration of the topic. The graphic presentation, the user interface, and the functionality are all fine, and the game runs well. What I find fault with is that this isn't so much an exploration of the topic of depression and its effects, as it is a reveling in its misery and depravity. There isn't much of a point to the game. The player just rides along through a few days of the main character's terrible existence before he's faced with a terrible decision. I think I understand what the designer was attempting to perform with this approach and design, but it's not something that I would recommend for anyone as its just far too dark and hopeless. I would never recommend it for someone who is going through depression as this doesn't present or even explore any possible oulets for recovery or for resolution, except suicide. The main character wallows in his own misery while the player is drug along for the ride, and then he dies.

I didn't enjoy it one bit, and it was miserable. Perhaps that was the designer's intent. Regardless, I did not like the vision it presented, and I found no redeeming quality in it.
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81 of 90 people (90%) found this review helpful
13.5 hrs on record
Posted: April 17, 2014
As a person that suffers greatly from depression, this game was highly relatable. Feeling like no one understands you or bothers to even care about your issues. Kind of having deep conversations with yourself, and fighting with yourself. Depression is terrible and I wouldn't wish that on anyone...so to see this kind of scenario actually laid before me in such a well written manner was refreshing..but also saddening. Although I wouldn't handle most of my situations like the main character did, I could still empathize and actually feel care towards the character. In my opinion this game is something everyone should play and give a thought to..even if its only just once. There's a bunch of reading..well its basically an "interactive story", but it was well worth the read.The author makes valid points towards the current state of society, how we treat our fellow man, and things that most people wouldn't publicly say. I honestly hope whoever reads this will pick this game up and see for themselves.

"Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem." Right..?
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