I’ve been playing a game on my phone while we have been bedding in this show. It’s called “Bury me my love”. The phrase is one of great affection. I love you. I want you to outlive me.
It’s a game played out through fake text messages that come to your phone. The premise is that your Syrian wife Nour is leaving you in wartorn Homs in order to try to escape to the UK. She’s brought plenty of battery packs and has cashed in the life savings. She asks for advice and help and it tries to play out in an approximation of real time while you try to continue your life in Homs.
It’s written by a woman who made that journey, from Homs to London, and then spoke with many others with similar journeys. I first downloaded it a few years ago, and happily hit on a very optimistic ending on my first playthrough. I think it’s possible to end it badly…
I figured I was fortunate. Out of many possible endings it felt like a good one. I didn’t play through again until recently, when enough time has passed that I’ve forgotten the first playthrough. It doesn’t feel like a game made for entertainment, even though it is extremely compelling. It feels more like a game and an education simultaneously. The top review on Google after a quick search is snarkily written by some 24 year old called Oliver Roderick. It totally misses the point. Send him back to Fortnite and employ somebody with a backbone to review your games, switchplayer.
But yeah, so. First time I played it we got through fine, and she got off the bus somewhere in the suburbs of London and she seemed happy and felt safe and it all kind of worked. This time I’m deliberately giving her slightly sketchy advice, but nevertheless she’s made it as far as Lesbos by the skin of her teeth and thanks to the coastguard. It’s such a weird game. I like it because I suspect it is helping me deepen my understanding of something way out of my experience. Also there’s just something geeky and cute in the way it is written and in the way the characters communicate. Unlike poor soul-free computer game reviewer Oliver Roderick, I find it moving at times, and relatable. But also unlike him, I have had real relationships with real hew-mans.
It’s more of an interactive fiction than a game, sure. Your responses are limited. But I find it effective. Just before the show this evening I got a garbled call for help from Nour, with a GPS pin. My character tried to call the coastguard.
It’s worked out okay. She’s in Lesbos now. Meanwhile I was pretending to be Scrooge and dancing around like a tit.
It’s just midnight and I’m already in bed with a chamomile tea. Nour is asleep in the camp in Lesbos, Jack is asleep in his room over the corridor. Lou will be here on Sunday. I’m only just processing that for the next three days we have two shows and I’m in at half ten in the morning. I’ll be asleep shortly and having happy dreamtime. Humbug. Night night.