“Bury me, my love” is a Syrian phrase that loosely means “take care on your journey; don’t die before I do.” Lately, the plight of Syrians has been all too real, with the civil war continuing to rage, kill and destroy the country, forcing millions of people to escape to safety. For many Syrians, fleeing their country is a double-edged sword; as at the heart they love their country, but they know it’s too dangerous to stay. Their pilgrimage to a better life comes with a foreboding sense of peril and excitement.
There is no better game out there that I’ve played that gives witness to the plight of a refugee escaping conflict better than Bury Me, My Love a phone simulator-type game that is more “Choose Your Own Adventure” than a phone-snooping operation. Its premise is relevant, and the stories are realistic and immersive.
Nour and Majd are a married couple from Homs, Syria. Nour is a Physician who leaves Majd behind to seek asylum in Germany. Meanwhile, Majd is a history scholar who teaches, runs the family shop part time and looks after his mother. You play as Madj, who communicates with Nour via a Whatsapp-type of text messaging app. Majd is there to provide encouragement, and advice through Nour’s daily strifes. Nour is also an independent woman who scoffs at wearing a hijab in public, even though Majd encourages her to for safety. Nour’s journey begins as she waits for a cab ride to the airport to catch a plane to Turkey, but the anxiety begins immediately when the cab is late. Most text messages are sent by your character automatically. Every once in a while, you will have to choose from two responses which will have an impact on the outcome of Nour’s story. Squabbles, jokes and loving conversation string the bleak and palpable uncertainty of Nour’s living experience as she constantly has to decide between two equally shady decisions with unknown consequences.
There are apparently at least 19 endings to Bury Me, My Love, each uniquely different, so I felt free to experiment with situations just to see how Nour’s story could end. I replayed this game at least eight times – some with a very happy ending, some with shocking consequences. The conversations feel real, and you’ll find yourself vested in Nour and Majd’s story enough to want to try the game again.
Overall, I was quite impressed with Bury Me, My Love‘s localized language. I don’t know about the other languages (French, Arabic, etc), but this game was like I was reading text messages from a couple from North America. No broken English here, and it was appreciated, because I’ve played some games from devs who have not taken the time to get a proper translation. There were even funny autocorrects, missing words and misspells that are common among us all in texting; so the conversation felt natural, and well paced.
This game is not without a few glitches. When I first fired up Bury Me, My Love, for some reason I couldn’t get my mouse or keyboard to work with it at all. I couldn’t even exit out of the game without the usual ctrl-alt-del method. I am guessing something updated because I started the game this week and my mouse worked fine. Who knows why…I also experienced some unexpected crashing a couple of times; it was fine since this game autosaves (hooray!) so I was able to get back into the swing of things easily.
I did notice a wee bit of a continuity gap in a couple of the story lines where money and ID were stolen from Nour, but were miraculously back in her hands three text exchanges later, or she had ID and now doesn’t. Maybe 19 endings is too much for the developers to keep track of?
In any case, Bury Me, My Love is an immersive experience I won’t soon forget. It’s also available to play on iOS and Android. I highly recommend it!
Bury Me, My Love
The Pixel Hunt