Fun fact: I played Bury Me, My Love just last week. It took pretty much the entire seven days even though it spanned a scant few hours (maybe) of that. But from the moment it spent its last drop of paralyzing, dramatic ichor, I knew it was going to be something I had to talk about. And as I kept thinking about it day after day, I knew it would have to be in my top ten for the year.
If you ever played that Mr. Robot mobile game, Bury Me is an awful lot like that. It presents itself as a real, living, breathing interaction through a fake chat app. In this case, it’s a series of texts with Nour, a young woman fleeing Syria for the relative safety of Beirut. Bombs, death, and a tragic loss are more than enough reason to run.
You, however, are not Nour. You are Majid, Nour’s husband, but with an ailing set of family unable to make the journey, you are unable to join your wife. If this sounds grave, that’s because it is, but this also creates a vital contrast. Humans, if nothing else, are able to make anything feel normal.
Nour and Majid have a deep, loving relationship, and it comes through in spades through these texts. They’re lighthearted and charmingly casual, even though the shadow of the grim chaos all around you never leaves your view. You’ll share and receive pictures, map pins, and voice recordings, and each missive is another shared experience between a pair you’re almost voyeuristically peering into.
Part of the magic, though, is that it takes multiple days to get through. It not only sells the illusion of this taking place in real time in another, very real part of the world, but it lets the facade stand taller—stronger—as there ceases to be a Majid; it’s just you and her. Your phone dings and you step away from a group conversation or duck out of a meeting. It’s an encompassing experience, a buy-in that sneaks up on you and doesn’t ever really leave.
It’s also a game I’m afraid to play again. It has 19 different endings and I’ve only seen the one, but it ruined me. It shattered me. It broke me in a dozen ways I didn’t know I could be broken even though I’d girded myself for it for days. I don’t really know what else I can tell you about it except please, please play it. This is a game that’s about love and loss smashing up against each other like waves on a pier, and it is our number eight game of the year.