- An anonymous dirtbag asks: Can a relationship in a video game constitute emotional infidelity? (32:47)
I had a boyfriend back in highschool who wasn’t into video games. I didn’t talk about video games with him because I knew he wasn’t interested in them but one day I decided to tell him about a mobile game I had just started playing called Bury Me, My Love because I thought it was really good and I suspected he may find it thematically and conceptually interesting.
Bury Me, My Love is a game about a woman called Nour who decides to flee from Syria, you play as the husband of said woman who stays in Syria because he doesn’t want to leave his mother behind, thus the whole game is presented/played in a WhatsApp like interface and you respond to text messages from your wife, offering her emotional support and advice through a series of dialogue choices.
What makes this game special is that in the default mode you can’t decide when to play it, the game is played out in real time and it sends you a notification each time Nour makes some progress in her journey, upon seeing the notification you open the game, you talk with her for a couple of minutes and then she goes away and you can’t respond anymore. So if at some point in the story she loses access to her phone or she doesn’t have cell phone reception you may not hear from her in an irl day.
When I told my then-boyfriend about the game he jokingly said: “Oh, so I will have to compete with your Syrian wife now?” I laughed and didn’t think much about it. The day after that, he watched me playing the game for a couple of minutes while in class and I didn’t mention the game after that. Later that week whenever he noticed I got a notification on my phone he would “jokingly” ask: “Is that your wife?” At that time I still thought he was joking and laughed.
A couple of days later I didn’t respond to a text message he had sent me until a couple of hours later because I was at band practice, and when I texted him back he told me: “Were you too busy talking with your wife?”.
At that point I noticed there was something going on ( I’m slow and not very good at knowing what other people are feeling) and asked him if it bothered him that I was playing that game, he said that it bothered him a little bit but he didn’t know why and then he got very defensive. We didn’t talk about the game after that.
Two weeks later out of nowhere he asked me: “So, how did that game you were playing end?” I told him that I got a bad ending and that Nour had died while attempting to cross the Evros river.
He said: “Good”.
He never accused me of “emotional infidelity” but he definitely had some strange form of jealousy over me playing that game.
In a way, what Tim was saying about how a Tokimeki Memorial game that actually texts you is the next step towards a game constituting emotional infidelity really happened to me, because I don’t think my ex would had gotten any jealousy-like feelings if Bury Me, My Love hadn’t texted me at any time of the day.
People (especially teenagers!) often talk about having crushes on literary characters and (at least from what I tell) I don’t think a lot of people get mad about that or perceive it as something that falls outside a monogamous relationship but when fiction begins to actively demand your attention stuff gets complicated!
Anyway, Bury Me, My Love is very good and y’all should check it out. It is also available on the switch and steam but I think the mobile version is the best one because of the real-time mode (and because the game interface is literally a phone) (although it can also be experienced at any pace when you deactivate the real time mode).