Listen, I’m a blubberer. It doesn’t matter what it is, a film, song, game; if it’s sad I will blub like a baby. Taking players into the terrifying world of Syrian refugees, I strongly suggest stocking up on tissues if you plan on picking up “Bury Me, My Love” produced by indie game developer, The Pixel Hunt.
Named after a Syrian phrase meaning “take care, and don’t even think about dying before me”, Bury Me, My Love follows the harrowing tale of Nour as she tries to escape war-torn Syria to Europe, whilst trying desperately to stay in contact with her husband, Majd who stays behind in Syria. The game follows an instant-messaging style conversation between the couple and players effectively decide the outcome of Nour’s fleeing to Europe through Majd who advises her on her next steps.
For many choices, it feels like you’re choosing from a lose-lose situation, but that’s the point; covering everything from human trafficking, sexual assault, and political push-back. The decision is tough, and much like with titles developed by Telltale Games, you know whatever you choose will come back to bite you in the backside, and boy does it.
You grow to like Nour and Majd, and for me at least, see elements of your own relationships and personalities in theirs
The writing feels very real and at times can be overwhelming; you feel the fear that Majd has when Nour doesn’t message for hours, you smile when they send each other selfies and encouraging emojis, you even think to yourself “wow Majd is a dickhead!” when he snaps at Nour. The writers have somehow brought real-life people to our gaming systems, flaws and all. Paired with a lovely sounding, yet sad in tone, soundtrack and you have a truly immersive game that is bound to pull at heartstrings. You grow to like Nour and Majd, and for me at least, see elements of your own relationships and personalities in theirs; perhaps this is what makes it so sad.
When I first played this game through, Nour didn’t even make it to Greece. Instead she froze to death after her canoe, carrying herself and a family of six, capsized. Horrifyingly, we hear her last message (and subsequently breath) to her husband as she passes away, freezing on the shore where she was able to drag herself.
The voice acting, though limited, is phenomenal. As the screen faded to black I sat for a moment in a deep sadness; we all know this is one of many horrors refugees face trying to reach safety (we’ve all seen the infamous photo) yet being so removed from it as we sit in the UK, it’s a sharp reminder of how privileged we are to have won the lottery of where we were born, and how we too could very easily be ‘Nours’ and ‘Majds’ had we simply been born in Syria. It is not often a game moves me quite like this.
The heartbreak and brutal reality of Bury Me, My Love is admittedly hard to swallow, yet completely necessary and needed. Often, we find ourselves disconnected from the fear, strength, and bravery so many refugees exude when they decide to flee their homes.
Their struggles have been politicised and hijacked in order to feed anti-immigration narratives; even going so far to generalise and fear-monger against refugees in light of terrorism, and yet this beautiful and touching game reminds us all of the humanity refugees possess. Thousands of ‘Nours’ and ‘Majds’ flee their countries every year, and Bury Me, My Love reminds us that they often leave more than just ruins and war-zones behind.
Bury Me, My Love reminds us that refugees often leave more than just ruins and war-zones behind.
Although this game had some cross-platform flaws as the Switch version (which I played) struggled to maintain the authenticity of the mobile game, I strongly recommend playing this game if you want to have a good cry, or learn more about the realities of the refugee crisis. Regardless of political affiliation, this is a game that needs to be played by us all, especially so in such an uncertain time.
You can purchase Bury me, my Love on Steam, Nintendo Switch, Google Play and the App Store.
Last modified: 13th January 2020