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 (199 reviews)
Release Date: Apr 3, 2014
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Recommended By Curators

"Showed at PAX East 2014."


“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
    • Hard Drive: 100 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
12 of 13 people (92%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
This was a tough game for me to play. Like many have said, it is an accurate representation of the thoughts and mindset of a suicidally depressed person, accurate to the point that I worry about anyone who has these thoughts or feelings playing this game and emulating the protagonist. The game is linear. Plot points are unlocked by making certain decisions and talking to other characters in a specific order. It was almost reminiscent of Takeshi's Challenge in that way, but unlike Takeshi's Challenge, decisions you make in Actual Sunlight have little to no effect on the progression of the game. In fact, the only decision the game lets you make is the order in which you talk to the characters around you to progress the storyline, which leaves you feeling like the ending is inevitable, another thought that someone suffering from clinical depression might have. The game is so spot-on with the symptoms of depression that the developer threw in an in-game note urging young people to not follow in the protagonist's footsteps, which is a nice thought, but I feel it could have been worded much better and overall read as something he felt obligated to do given the subject matter of the game. In short, this game could be a great tool for those who have never felt suicidal to understand what a friend or loved one is going through, but it may not be the best thing for someone going through a dark moment in their life to play.
Posted: May 20
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10 of 10 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.3 hrs on record
Before I begin (and you buy/play it) keep this in mind: This is not a normal game. It is an interactive text-based story.

The gameplay is a very little exploration (but if you aren't interest you can go straight to the objective), walking from one place to another. The music and sound effects are ok and the graphics is good, it was made in RPG Maker Ace, so you can have an idea about it.

The deep, dark and sad (and maybe dangerous) story is presented in many text screens, but very well organized and written. You will want to know more and more as you play it.

It has a short story, about 1 to 1,5 hours of gameplay, and I was pretty surprised in the end. That's all I can say without ruin your experience.

If you have some depression problem or your life is not ok, you should prepare yourself before play it.
If you are ok in those areas, it's definitely worth try this title.
Posted: June 21
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11 of 13 people (85%) found this review helpful
1.2 hrs on record
Not a bad game. Quite depressing though especially since it conveys a very raw set of emotions.

The artwork is nice and I commend the guy who drew all the characters.

Seriously though, consoles are for lamers. Your life went downhill the moment you got rid of your awesome PC.
Posted: June 29
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
This is a truly deep and emotional journey, no sugar-coating or anything, this game is really blunt and honest.
i can truly relate to many things here, i always feel life has passed me, i thought about suicide many times, went through depression many many times. if you ever had doubts, suffered any emotional troubles, went through depression...etc.
then you should give this game a try and i can assure you that you will relate to many things here.

highly recommended of course and hats off to the developer for this strong, brutally honest and deep experience <3
Posted: July 25
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11 of 16 people (69%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
To be honest, I find it difficult to deny this project (it's not a game in any modern-day sense of the word) a healthy recommendation. But after "playing" it for over an hour, I feel like I can't do otherwise. Actual Sunlight zooms in on the themes of depression, suicide and the feelings of loneliness and uselessness in a very, very direct way, hitting one straight in the face time after time after time. It does so alsmost exclusively by using text, text one has to scroll through by hitting enter again and again and again. There's not much more "gameplay" except for walking around your depressive character in a generic environment and talking to objects and people. This triggers ... more text ofcourse. Whole the time, one gets confronted with ideas and opinions about how bad/gross modern society is to its core.

Now I don't have a problem with text-based games as such - back in the 1980's several excellent games were text-based -, but the actual texts used here, and the way the different themes are handled, is really too grim and too "in-your-face" for me. Having experienced the loss of a loved one to suicide quite recently, I could hardly bear playing this. Themes like these presented in such a direct way as here, should imo be the subject of therapy-sessions in a well cared-for, safe environment. To punch this through one's throat as it's being done here, may help in making a point, but it's not healthy for the ones playing or rather reading it.... So be careful, I guess, and try this one at your own risk.

Gameplay: 10/30
Graphics: 5/20
Sound: 5/10
Longelivety: 4/10
Technical/stability: 7/10
Personal appreciation: 5/10 (it does take some courage to make a "game" like this)

Overall: 36/100
Posted: August 21
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83 of 91 people (91%) found this review helpful
4.0 hrs on record
For anyone who has ever suffered through the many stages of depression or felt like the world was crumbling around them while you just sat there and watched. This is the game for you. It's also for the people that have friends going through this.
The game is very text heavy, there is no gameplay as such. It's more an interactive story on social commentary, past events and life as some people know it. It's a work of art. And no, not that 'Dear Esther' kind of art.

It will be different things for different people, but if you relate at all to the subjects this game covers you can expect it to deliver in spades.

Thank you so much for sharing Will O'Neill. :)
Posted: April 3
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