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Video Game / The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker

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"What do you think, Doctor?"

The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker is an Interactive Movie, developed by D'Avekki Studios, and originally released on PC through Steam on 19th May, 2017. It was then ported to Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch on June 5th, 2018.

Your character is a psychologist, called to fill in for the titular Doctor Dekker, who has been murdered. Your job is to treat his roster of patients, while also trying to determine who killed him. However, Doctor Dekker's patients have some unique problems which may make your job more difficult than expected.

Since so much of the plot is revealed directly through gameplay, some tropes might be spoilers by their very nature. Proceed with caution.

On March 14, 2019, the game's creators released a prequel to Dekker in the form of a livestream on Twitch. The prequel concerns a new patient named Eve whom Dr. Dekker has left in the care of his "colleagues" (i.e. participants in the livestream's chat). Viewers got to ask Eve questions in real time and help determine whether she ends up happy, sad or insane.

The game has a Spiritual Successor called The Shapeshifting Detective, to which it was eventually Canon Welded by Dark Nights with Poe & Munro.

Provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: If you still have questions to ask someone, their icon will be red. If you've asked enough questions to move on to the next chapter, their icon will be orange. If you've asked all possible questions, their icon will be green. However, completing everything isn't necessarily in your best interest. Most of the "extra" questions will affect your sanity.
  • The Alcoholic: Doctor Dekker himself, who kept vodka in his desk. In the prequel, Eve confesses to drinking a lot in order to help mitigate her anxiety.
  • All Therapists Are Muggles: Averted. You may have started as one, but your conversations with the patients soon include supernatural elements.
  • Amoral Attorney: One of the endings implies that certain lawyers sent Dekker his clients and told them to feign "strangeness" in order to get insanity diagnoses.
  • Animate Dead: Claire considers herself to be something of a necromancer.
  • Antimagical Faction: Some of the characters believe that psychologists should be this, talking any reality warpers out of believing in their powers, so that those powers cease to work. Dr. Dekker apparently abandoned this philosophy.
  • Came Back Wrong: David Castleford, if Claire is to be believed. Dr. Dekker may have done it too... Maybe.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: This is how psychokinesis supposedly works.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Claire threatens you with this if you don't give her her insanity diagnosis, implying that she'll kill and reanimate you repeatedly.
  • Creator Cameo: The game's director, Tim Cowles, is seen in a photo as David Castleford.
  • Creepy Child: A little girl named Molly sometimes shows up that invokes this.
  • Death of a Child: The truck driver who caused Nathan's accident takes his daughter Molly with him. It can also happen with Anoushka, depending on whether you tell Claire to kill David (again) or not.
  • Dream Walker: A past client of Doctor Dekker named Scarlett claims to be one of these.
  • Driven to Suicide: During the sequence where you get stuck in time, Nathan mentions that Doctor Dekker gave him a pill with a skull-and-crossbones on it that could put an end to the time loop. You can encourage him to take it, but doing so doesn't seem to work.
    • The truck driver who was involved in Nathan's accident also does this.
  • Easter Egg: If you ask Professor Warwick about Atlas, Ryan Rand or Contradiction, he will chuckle and say "I think you're confusing me with someone else" and swirl his whisky glass.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The undersea creature that Marianna lures people to.
  • Empty Shell: The reanimated David.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: You don't know who killed Doctor Dekker, but most of the characters could conceivably have done it. The killer is chosen at random at the beginning of the game, and some scenes are different depending on who did it.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The game plays out almost entirely from the player character's point of view and we never find out anything about them, including their gender (There are hints that the doctor is male, given Marianna's flirtatious behavior. However, even that isn’t complete confirmation, as Marianna has admitted to seducing women as well as men).
  • Foot Focus: Marianna always seems to be barefoot, allowing her to put her feet up on the couch. Jaya occasionally as well.
  • Foreshadowing: The opening sequence consists of clips from Dr. Dekker's therapy sessions including one with a girl called Molly who says her father is trying to hurt her. We later find out that her father committed suicide and took her with him.
  • Freudian Couch: The main way you interact with the other characters is by typing questions while they sit on the couch in your office. In fact, almost the entire game takes place here.
  • Gainax Ending: The endings become increasingly bizarre depending on how many "insanity points" you pick up. They include the suggestion that the patients are nothing more than aspects of your personality, that you are actually Dr. Dekker back from the dead or that you are one of Dr. Dekker's patients.
  • The Ghost: Most of the people Jaya and the patients talk about are never seen. Dr. Dekker himself is also this since we never see a picture of him and we never even learn his first name.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Nathan believes he is stuck in one. At one point, you get stuck alongside him.
  • Hospital Hottie: Elin to an extent, and possibly Doctor Dekker, who may have dated certain patients. The prequel stars an attractive young woman named Eve who worked as a doctor before circumstances forced her to quit.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Doctor Dekker was stabbed through the heart with a paper spike on his desk. Claire stabbed her husband with a steak knife.
  • Infectious Insanity: Practically name-dropped in the title. Some characters believe their sessions with Dr. Dekker only made their symptoms worse, since they feel he had characteristics of a Psycho Psychologist.
  • Inkblot Test: Several of these hang on the wall above your Freudian Couch.
  • Insanity Defense: Claire killed her husband. It's mentioned that it would be quite convenient if her sanity was put in doubt.
    • One ending implies certain lawyers are trying to invoke this by telling their clients to feign illnesses.
  • Interactive Movie: Like its predecessor, it's a game centered on live action footage that works similar to a visual novel.
  • It's All My Fault: Nathan blames himself for the truck driver's suicide, after sending him an accusing letter.
  • Jump Scare: A couple, mostly caused by Jaya breaking into your conversation to provide information. The other major ones tend to be implied to be either visions or hallucinations, as if something like a ghostly little girl appears they won't appear in the video's playback, or little Freeze-Frame Bonus events in a client's idle screens like Claire suddenly walking towards you holding a knife.
  • Keywords Conversation: All the conversations you have with the patients. They can react to certain words, usually giving you more information. But if the game doesn't recognize any of the words you type as important, you won't learn anything new.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Elin has a cat called Church.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When you're stuck in the time loop with Nathan, he at one point mentions that he believes the whole conversation is being controlled by someone behind a computer, creating the conversation through a keyboard, which is exactly what you, the player, are doing. In the prequel, Eve wonders if she might be in a video game because she can see other people's "life bars" (which indicate how much life they have left).
  • The Lost Lenore: Hannah, Nathan's fiancée.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Do your patients truly have supernatural powers, or are they delusional and only think they do?
  • May–December Romance: 25-year-old Elin dates Max, one of her former patients who is 77.
  • Meaningful Name: Claire's husband (who is an optician) had an assistant named Iris. Claire lampshades it as being incredibly on the nose.
  • Mental Time Travel: Nathan says he experienced this.
  • Mercy Kill: It can be argued that David's second death, if he experienced it at all, is this.
  • Mind over Matter: One of the types of supposed psychic abilities that can come up is this to lift objects and the like.
  • Morton's Fork: A few choices can arrive at the same conclusion anyway. For example, Claire will kill David again whether you tell her to or not, but if you do, Anoushka will live.
  • Multiple Endings: Dependent on how much insanity you accrue and who the murderer is.
  • Never Found the Body: At one point, Dr. Dekker's body went missing.
  • Offing the Offspring: Molly's father kills both her and himself via carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Off with His Head!: Claire beheads the reanimated David with an axe.
  • Only Sane Woman: Jaya seems to be the only character to have a firm grasp of reality. Unless she turns out to be the killer, that is.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: If Dr. Dekker hadn't died, you wouldn't be interviewing his clients.
  • Police Are Useless: Implied to be the case given that it's up to Dr. Dekker's replacement to find the killer.
  • Posthumous Character: The titular doctor.
  • Professional Gambler: Professor Warwick tried to become one.
  • Psychological Horror: Delves into this at times.
  • Psycho Psychologist: Some of the patients seem to think Doctor Dekker became this.
  • Rape as Drama: Comes up during a possible conversation with a patient as Marianna can accuse you of this, making reference to you "getting inside her" and it hurting. If you press her further, she goes into more detail. She says she strips naked while your face turns into worms that get inside her. She then accuses you of being the "sick one". This is very bad for your sanity.
  • Reality Warper: A lot of the strange happenings mentioned in the game are said to have occurred because someone willed them to happen.
  • Really 700 Years Old: We see a photo of a grave that says Dr. Dekker was born in 1875 but this is most likely a delusion.
  • Recurring Dreams: At least one character has them. Complete with an Eldritch Abomination and Meat Moss!
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Marianna has blackouts that end with her being found naked on the beach. This results in unwanted attention from the police and her Uber driver. Though she does enjoy dancing in her underwear (or less).
  • Sanity Meter: Each of your recurring patients has one, as do you.
  • Sanity Slippage: Can happen to characters as the game progresses. Including you.
  • Secret Test of Character: Bryce believes that the "hooded figure" is putting him through these.
  • Shapeshifting: Elin claims to be able to do this in certain circumstances.
  • Shout-Out: Six possible suspects, a murder victim known only by their last name, a randomly chosen murderer and the game concluding with an accusation (which you can get right or wrong) make it superficially similar to Clue. There's even a character named Scarlett who wears a red dress (although she isn't a suspect).
    • Bryce's ability is that as time stops for everybody but him for an hour at the stroke of midnight, which he refers to as his "Midnight Hour".
    • Eve specifically mentions playing Skyrim.
  • Slipping a Mickey: It appears Doctor Dekker was this victim of this.
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion: Apparently, Jaya's mother succumbed to this.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Marianna seems to attract a LOT of these. Possibly including you. Also, Bryce to a certain extent. He takes naked photos of his neighbor without her knowledge.
  • Take That!: Glyn took his date to see Zoolander 2 and says he doesn't recommend it.
  • The Tease: Marianna, Marianna, Marianna.
  • Text Parser: How you interact with your patients.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: At the end of the prequel stream, Eve began reading comments from the despondent chat, who believed they'd gotten the bad ending (as she ended up killing someone) and that they'd screwed up.
    Eve: You think this is a game? She winks, stream ends.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Some of the patients describe seeing things that... aren't right. Sometimes you do, too.
  • Time Stands Still: Bryce describes experiencing this for one hour every night.
  • Title Drop: Jaya says the full title out loud at one point.
  • The Unreveal: Bryce says he can sometimes see a girl standing behind us and speculates that it might be a relative of ours. This is never brought up again and is ultimately left unexplained. It's conceivable that the girl is Molly but since Bryce has no connection to her (unlike Nathan), it's not clear why he'd be able to see her. Asking about her does not help your sanity in the slightest.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You're a therapist after all, and trying to actually help your patients can be very rewarding, since the ending will show what happened next.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Alternatively, you can be a giant dick to all your patients.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Elin claims to be able to "shift" into her patients' relatives.
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: We get to see what happens to the five main patients but not the minor ones like Scarlett and Professor Warwick.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: At the end, depending on how the patients have been treated, you'll get to see what happened to them after the game.
  • Who Watches the Watchmen?: Your assistant Jaya stresses the need to keep an eye on you as you work with the patients.
    • If she's the murderer, she asserts that her job is more important than yours precisely because of this in her confession.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Molly's father commits suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning while both of them are in the car. The reanimated David kills Anoushka if you tell Claire to let him live.
  • You Can't Get Ye Flask: As the game is entirely based around "following up on statements via a text parser," it can run into this pretty frequently. It gets particularly bad when one needs to include multiple keywords to follow up on both at once.