Suicide Game Sparks Outrage

An online game which parodies the struggles of a deeply depressed musician faces severe criticism in the U.K.

The Sun reports that, in particular, Billy Suicide is outraging suicide prevention advocates. In the game players attempt to get Billy through his day with doses of caffeine, alcohol and anti-depressants. The character can also engage in activities such as playing his guitar or watching T.V. to elevate his mood. If Billy gets too depressed, however, he will take his own life.

A spokesperson for advocacy group The Samaritans told The Sun:

Certain types of suicide portrayal can act as a catalyst to influence the behaviour of people who are already vulnerable — particularly young people.

Paul Kelly, a representative of Papyrus, an anti-suicide organization, added:

This game is completely irresponsible. The people who made it should realise the damage that it can cause.

GP: We should note that Billy Suicide is an amateur game, not the product of the commercial video game industry.

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  1. Ormick says:

    I hope more people make games like this just to piss politicians off…. Maybe I should start working on "Religocide Mass Rape Massacre" again… I dunno

  2. TBoneTony says:

    I found something on here where the game is played

    "Please note the programmer of this game suffered from depression and this game is more or less a representation of something he went through."

    So in a way, the programmer wanted to make a game about the issue of suicide.

    But sadly these people who criticize such a game would do more dammage to the person who created this game because he was wanting to evoke a message of the issue. NOT trying to make a game that kills people.

    All I have to say, is that these anti-suicide people don’t understand and have never even played the game yet to even have a basic idea of what the game is about.


  3. Cecil475 says:

    See, its ok to make a movie about suicide, or a television show about it, Write a song about it. (Suicide is painless anyone?)) "But, a videogame? OMFG, NO!

     – Warren Lewis

    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  4. urutapu says:

    What about that game on Adult Swim where you bascially try to commit suicide as spectacularly as possible in a time limit? That’s been out for at least two years.

  5. DannyLedonne says:

    I rather enjoyed this game – a nice balance of ideas and game play. While limited in scope the game does seem to suggest that it’s awfully hard to stay mentally healthy by drinking and watching TV all day.

  6. shady8x says:

    Oh no, how dare the guy talk about his experiences…

    This is the worst INDUSTRY abuse since kaboom…

    We must immediatly pass laws to ban the sale of this game in stores before all the children kill themselves…



    I wonder how many awards the guy would get if he wrote a book or made a movie?

    I hope to god that when they try to ban games with this example someone shoves the fact that this is NOT an industry game and that it can NOT be banned in to the face of which ever politician tries to use it…

  7. TBoneTony says:

    Once again,

    People judge a game without playing it.

    Now as a person who wants to make games that people can think about what is going on, I find that their claims of the game doing damage without them accturely playing it really offencive.

  8. elal says:

    It this were a book, everyone would have swallowed it already, and would be carrying it like a badge of honor, verbally petting and praising each other for being "sensitive" or "cultured". But if it’s a game, then it’s trivial and disgusting, even if the goal is suicide prevention.

  9. garrett says:

    Wow, Billy Suicide has been around for years.

    This isn’t a bad game at all. It teaches the importance of nurturing yourself, of having to love and feel loved, getting a hobby, and encourages you to go out and get a job. The Sims does that too, and death scenes in it, as well. Like mentioned before, if these groups think too hard, a cup of tea may cause suicide as well.

  10. MaskedPixelante says:

    So, even though the game is about preventing suicide, because the game involves suicide, it’s bad…

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  11. Jabrwock says:

    what is it with all these old games being spotted recently, and everyone shouting ‘Itl be so harmful!!’. And then you point our.. really? well it hasnt done much over the last 2 YEARS.

    The people complaining don’t actively troll the ‘net looking for games like this to complain about. They only rant and rave when it’s been around long enough to be noticed by the mainstream media. And it has to wait for a slow news day as well… Can’t have outraged people on all the time. Gotta milk each one before moving on to the next.

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  12. NovaBlack says:

    this game has been around for like 2 years..


    what is it with all these old games being spotted recently, and everyone shouting ‘Itl be so harmful!!’. And then you point our.. really? well it hasnt done much over the last 2 YEARS.

    seriously. And as ppl have said the aim of this game is to hlep keep the guy alive! In fact its all about BALANCING WORK AND PLAY! Oh.. but that doesnt sell newspapers.

  13. sirjonk says:

    If a video game can convince you to off yourself, you weren’t likely to make it much longer anyway.  Although my first run through Devil May Cry 3 did have me reaching for a straight razor.

  14. Bennett Beeny says:

    Sounds like fun!  I’ll have to give this game a try.

    As for the controversy, yes, suicidal folks may use it and commit suicide.  Car drivers might play a driving sim and then go driving.  Pilots might play a flight sim and then fly for real.  I’m not sure why that’s news or even noteworthy.  Suicidal folks are by nature suicidal – heck, drinking a cup of tea might encourage them to kill themselves, but that’s no reason to stop production of Earl Grey tea.

    [edit] Played the game – it’s fun for what it is.  I failed – Billy killed himself after only a couple of minutes.  This game just goes to show how far out of the game mainstream the wacko anti-gamers have to go to find something to be outraged about.  I mean this game is about the simplest sort of game there is.  I mean have people got nothing better to do than complain about a little amateur ‘one-man show’ production like this?

    Oh, and by the way, The Sun hasn’t been regarded as a serious newspaper for decades.  It was a laughing stock when I lived in England in the 1970s and ’80s (we used to call it ‘The Stun’).  It’s hardly unusual that The Sun finds this game outrageous – outrage is The Sun’s stock-in-trade.

  15. Aliasalpha says:

    It’s not like it’s the first time a game has portrayed suicide as a less than ideal ending. Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy (It wasn’t that bad Mogbert, it was 3/4 of the way through by the time it got screwy) had it as an option if you fucked up the primary character’s life a bit too much.


    That game certainly takes me back though, has a strange combination of my own depression experiences (minus female company [and how fucking useless was she? Didn’t even ask how he was doing. I hope he sprays his brains over her good shoes], booze, pills & musical instruments) and nostalic, almost mortal kombat style, graphics. Heh shame he seems to kill himself in such mundane ways, he should try and pull out his own spine whilst yelling FATALITY!

  16. Derovius says:

     To be honest, the person whining about it probably heard about it as a suicide game and thought, "Suicide is not a game". If the programmer called it Happy-Happy Kitty Loveland no one would care.

  17. nighstalker160 says:

    I can definitely see how many people would be offended by this.

    I think the bigger story is that if this story gets legs you know the public, press, bloggers, and at least 2 readers of this site (I don’t think I need to give names) will either fail to see or simply ignore the distinction between commercially produced video game and amateur flash game.

    The REAL story as far as gaming goes is how for many there are simply videogames.  There is no distinction between a game made by EA or Take-Two and a game made by Joe Schmo in his dorm room.  They’ll use this as evidence of INDUSTRY corruption when this game has nothing to do with the industry.

  18. SeanB says:

    no no no, you see, it’s a game. so it’s trivializing the matter. Worse, it’s making it seem like suicide is OKAY!

  19. mogbert says:

    Oh my! A suicide game! I should play it and get really good at it!

    Finally a game the Stupid One Who Shan’t Be Named can get behind! He even advocated playing it earlier. He can’t POSSIBLY complain about it!

    Actually, there are a number of games that had this mechanic, or something similar. Indigo Prophesy (stop playing halfway through, trust me, the game tanks quickly) and Eternal Darkness both had sanity meters which could have bad endings if you let them fall to far. A number of other flash games (mostly sims not in english) have had similar mechanics, usually having your character becoming comotose.

  20. Derovius says:

     Rule #1 in public relations: You cannot please everyone.

     That being said, if this game does anything for suicide it creates awareness.

  21. Zevorick says:

    I know, nobody cares about this thread anymore, but i’d rather correct myself late than be wrong forever. After some "research" (and by that I mean a coincidental lecture backed up with recent research), it appears that suicide can be affected by the media. According to reports (and this is purely correlational data mind you), there are pockets of suicide attempts that occur whenever a suicide story is reported within the media in the particular town that housed the innitial attempt. They could best be described as copycat suicides.

    That being said, however, considering the point of the game is to NOT commit suicide, I do not see this type of thing happening in this case. It’s possible, but I don’t think it’s all too likely.

  22. sirdarkat says:

    I say we lynch the bastard … I do not need any more sharing of experiences or feelings … where’s my pitchfork and torch.

  23. Jabrwock says:

    Man, what a bastard! Trying to share his experiances of depression with others… what was he thinking?!

    If he’d written it down instead, they’d be cheering him as a poet and submitting it for a book prize…

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  24. Zevorick says:

    Indeed. Is it offensive? Possibly. The goal of the game is NOT to kill yourself… Furthermore, it is unlikely people without severe psychological disturbances or grossly illogical thinking would attempt suicide after seeing it in a game, especially when it’s an unwanted consequence. 

    When people commit suicide they have, generally speaking, a very primal line of thought. Thinking about suicide, calling out to others for help when those disturbing thoughts call to mind(which is what most suicide prevention agencies get because those truly are frightening thoughts), and actually being in the proper state of mind to do it are three completely different things, albeit perhaps on a continuum. The primal thinking that can best described as "pull trigger, feel good" or "if I take this entire bottle of aspirin, I’ll feel SOOO much better", that generally comes before actual suicide attempts is not likely to result from a viewing of a game, or any media content for that matter. There are, however, cases in which young girls will attribute the medias portrayal of women (unrealistic standards) as a defining factor in hating themselves and thus lead to suicide attempts, but I humbly believe there is a predisposition to either the media content and/or suicidal tendencies underlying that issue. 

    With all that being said, I could be very wrong here. That’s just my thought


    Oh, and those who are outraged by the game should take a look at one of the descriptions for the game

    "Try to keep Billy alive.

    Please note the programmer of this game suffered from depression and this game is more or less a representation of something he went through."

    Man, what a bastard! Trying to share his experiances of depression with others… what was he thinking?!

  25. Zevorick says:

    Of course they don’t, but at the very least you can know for yourself. If a friend of mine tells me he’s going to kill himself and he needs someoen to talk to, I really don’t think he is ACTUALLY going to kill himself. I think he has had some suicidal thoughts and it scared him greatly and there is a great possibility (I’d say around 85%) that he does need someone to talk to. Is he lying when he says "I think i’m going to kill myself"? Not really. He very well may think he might do it, but again it’s doubtful.  Take in mind that I am grossly overgeneralizing every situation that comes to mind. The point is, if someone you know says "i’ve been having suicidal thoughts lately" listen to them. They really don’t like it anymore than you do, and giving an empathetic ear can do all the difference.


  26. DarkSaber says:



    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  27. Shadow D. Darkman says:



    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  28. Zevorick says:

    A million little pieces. I never read the book, but from what I’ve heard of it, it’s fairly unrealistic anyway. People should have had some kind of inkling that he was embelishing a little.

  29. Moriarty70 says:

    Yeah, but then it would come out that the book is half fiction, he’d have to apologize to a weepy Oprah, and killed by a mob. Of course being dead, he’d have a hard time apreciating the irony of the last part.

  30. Zevorick says:

    The sad thing is… i suck at killing myself in that game. I’ve always either failed, or borderlined it at the last minute.

  31. Eville1 says:

    That game is a great work time waster. I constantly stapled my head and tried electrocuting myself in the bathroom.

  32. mredria says:

    are these people offended by that adult swim game, five minutes to kill yourself (or whatever) ?

    -I apologize-

  33. Jabrwock says:

    I’m going to start mocking books as being nothing but "harlequin trash", and declare that nothing written can possibly tackle serious subjects. Authors that try are clearly just being heartless bastards trying to get a laugh out of the suffering of others.

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  34. Soldat_Louis says:

    It reminds me a little bit about this oooooold game entitled "So you wanna be a rock and roll star ?".

    By the way, I played the game a little bit, and I really don’t understand the outrage over it. It doesn’t encourage suicide at all ! Altough it’s not very sophisticated, it’s not offensive either. It has nothing to do with Kaboom Suicide Bomber or Muslim Massacre.

  35. SeanB says:

    "We should note that Billy Suicide is an amateur game, not the product of the commercial video game industry."

    Like they give a shit.

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