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Exploring Helplessness in Games with 'Bury Me, My Love'


Florent Maurin (Game designer, The Pixel Hunt)

Location: Room 2002, West Hall

Date: Thursday, March 22

Time: 3:00pm - 3:30pm

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference, GDC Summits, Expo Plus, Expo, Audio Conference + Tutorial, Educators Summit, Indie Games Summit - Get your pass now!

Topic: Advocacy

Format: Session

Tutorials: N/A

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

'Bury Me, My Love' is an acclaimed WhatsApp-like interactive fiction in which Nour, a Syrian woman, tries to reach Europe whilst Majd, her husband who's still in Syria, provides her with support and advice. In this talk Florent Maurin, the project's game designer, explains how he tried to confront players with a feeling of helplessness through a series of design choices. From lack of information to loss of control, to the possible brutality of death, he presents his choices in creating a thought-provoking experience for a game on such a tough topic. Because sometimes, games don't have to put the player first.


Learn to break generally accepted game design rules. Learn how frustration, confusion and unfairness can serve your narrative and leave an interesting mark. Learn how user-centric design doesn't always work best, how not being fun may be a good thing, and how players may consider helplessness a worthy experience.

Intended Audience

Those who are interested in matching storytelling techniques and game design mechanics to provide players with an involving narrative. Those who like the idea that games may sometimes be directly inspired by real-life events, people and stories, and try to tell those stories with the respect they deserve.