I got married in a few games over the years – The Sims 4, Skyrim, My Time at Portia, stuff like that – but I haven’t had much experience with virtual divorce. That will change next month when I play the adventure game My Divorce Story, which is developed by a South Korean divorce lawyer and is based on real divorce cases.
The adventure (it’s a bit weird to call it that) starts when you receive an anonymous message indicating that your spouse is cheating on you. “Within six months of discovering the case, you must gather enough evidence and bring it to court,” the game states. Steam Store Page (opens in a new tab). “In this nightmare of a lifetime, you must maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse. But behind your spouse’s back, you gather evidence for a successful divorce.”
Sounds, uh, fun? The six-month period refers to Article 841 of the Korean Civil Code, which states that if a spouse has committed an act of “immodesty”, his partner may file for divorce, but only within six months of becoming aware of the case. So, time is running out in your thrilling quest to prove your true love is shit. In the trailer, we can see one partner investigating the other and growing increasingly suspicious as they collect pieces of evidence, like restaurant receipts and movie ticket stubs. Who do they take to dinner and the movies? It’s definitely not you. A mini-game involves poking a voodoo doll of the supposedly unfaithful partner with a pin, which is not usually a sign of a healthy relationship.
Despite the comic book art and mellow soundtrack, it all sounds pretty…uncomfortable? Yes, cheating is a terrible thing to do, but so is digging into your spouse’s phone, cracking their password so you can read their emails, and tracking them with a GPS. Then again, I can’t pass up the opportunity to play detective, even though all the clues point to my partner’s secondary room and the case ends up in divorce court.
The bullet points listed on the Steam store page alone are grim, as you “Find items that contain special memories for both of you!” which then become “the bursts of rage and misery which form the testimony of the end of the marriage”. Jesus. There are also multiple endings, so you can play through the grief over and over again to discover them all. Would you like to do this? Of course you would!
As harsh as that sounds, it’s an interesting concept and as prevalent as divorce (South Korea has a divorce rate of around 47%, and in the US it’s around 45%), this is a little explored topic in video games. You can say “yes” to My Divorce Story on August 18.