Human & Machine• GAMING

The Refugee Experience as Video Game

Playing with the anxiety of disconnection.
Nisha Gopalan

EASTER EGGS, TROPHIES, KILL ratios—none of these exist in the new video game “Bury Me, My Love.” Instead, in this text-based nail-biter set in Syria, there are no do-overs or extra lives. The game’s haunting title comes from a Syrian expression that means “Take care. Don’t even think about dying before I do.” 

In “Bury Me” (a BAFTA game-award nominee), you play Majd, whose wife, Nour, escapes to Europe while you stay behind to look after relatives. As she makes that harrowing journey, you speak to each other through text messages in real time. 

The game is Based on the life of Syrian refugee “Dana S.”—now a Bury Me consultant—who communicated to her family through WhatsApp on her trek to Germany. The game’s illustrations resemble sepia-filtered war photography. 

Waiting on text replies in the game can be harrowing, especially after long silences. The story comes with 20 different conclusions. As in real life, not all are happy endings.