Winners & nominees 14th IMGA

Bury me, my Love

14th IMGA

Winner of
Best Meaningful Play
Florent Maurin
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    About Bury me, my Love

    Bury me, my Love is a reality-inspired interactive fiction designed for mobile phones.

    We imagined its core mechanics with two main references in mind: WhatsApp and Lifeline.

    You and your virtual counterpart Majd will be able to communicate with Nour and follow her journey, just as if you were chatting with her via WhatsApp. You will text each other and exchange emojis, pics and selfies, relevant links…

    You will also be asked to make important choices – as you are required to do in the Lifeline series and other interactive stories. Nour will regularly seek help and ask for your advice. The happy unfolding of her journey is in your hands. She won’t systematically do as you say though, and sometimes she might also hide things from you. You’ll have to deal with that, as she is the one risking her life.

    Communications will occur in pseudo real-time. If Nour is supposed to do something that will take her a couple hours, there will be no way for you to reach her during that time lapse. Once she is back online, you receive a notification that she’s available – and perhaps needs you. How will you best help?

    Bury me my Love tells the story of Syrian refugee Nour and her husband Majd, as Nour
    undertakes a perilous journey to safety in Europe.

    Bury me, my Love is a Text Messaging Adventure game about Nour, a Syrian migrant trying to find her way to Europe. Her husband Majd, who remains behind in Syria, communicates with Nour through a messaging app, advising her as best he can so that she reaches her destination safely.

    “Bury me, my love” is a Syrian goodbye phrase that roughly means, “Take care, don’t even think about dying before I do.” This phrase takes on a deeper meaning as Majd says it to his wife, Nour, as she undertakes her perilous journey to reach Europe.

    A co-production from ARTE, the European cultural network, with The Pixel Hunt and Figs.

    ***A game in an instant messaging app
    As Majd, you can communicate with Nour and follow her journey, just as if you were chatting with her via WhatsApp. You will text each other and exchange emojis, pics and selfies, relevant links…

    *** Multiple narrative routes to discover
    By reading instant messages and choosing response options, players help Nour overcome the hardships she will encounter.
    Your choices in Bury me, my Love truly impact on the story, with Nour able to visit 50 different locations and reach 19 potential different endings with widely divergent outcomes.

    *** Based on real-life events
    Bury me, my Love is a “reality-inspired game”, a documented fiction that draws inspiration directly from real-world events. The original idea stems from an article written by Le Monde journalist, Lucie Soullier, telling the story of Dana, a young Syrian woman who fled her country and is now living in Germany.

    What makes my game unique?

    When we pitch Bury me, my Love to people who are not familiar with The Pixel Hunt’s previous reality-inspired games, the first reaction we often get is one of caution, if not reject. “You must be mad”, they say, “thinking that making a game about such a complicated and tragic issue is a good idea when it clearly is distasteful”. And we get it: almost from their inception on, video games have been closely associated with entertainment and triviality. For a vast majority of people, even among games enthusiasts, they’re “just games” - they should be fun, not political. But for us, this isn’t intrinsically true. Let’s be clear: we often play games for fun and enjoy them very much. But we also see them as a media of its own, and we crave to explore every aspect of it. No media has fixed boundaries. Take comic books, for instance. Back in the fifties, who would have said making a comic about the Holocaust was a good idea? Yet, 20 years later, Art Spiegelman made Maus. Then Joe Sacco covered wars, and nowadays, in France, La Revue Dessinée is publishing in-depth journalistic investigations as comics on a regular basis. So yes, we believe games can tackle any topic - it’s all about finding the good distance, with an honest methodology. For us, it meant to gather a lot of documentation, to have someone directly concerned by the story (Dana Shaker) keeping an eye on how we tell it, and to be extra careful about how to evoke particularly sensitive sub-topics such as rape or death. We’re not considering ourselves trailblazers, but we modestly hope Bury me, my Love will participate in broadening the scope of what games can be.

    Why could my game win an award?

    There's a ton of brilliant games that were out this year, so to be honest we're not quite sure we should win the grand prix :-D But if we do, that's probably because we tried to draw player's attention to a very complicated situation that a lot of people face everyday - and do it in the most honest way we could!. In a world of mobile gaming where the focus often is on sheer entertainment, such an endeavor has got to be worth something!