I’ve gotten married in a few games over the years—The Sims 4, Skyrim, My Time at Portia, stuff like that—but I don’t have a lot of experience with virtual divorce. That’ll change next month when I play adventure game My Divorce Story, which is being developed by a South Korean divorce lawyer and is based on actual divorce cases.
The adventure (it feels a bit weird to call it that) kicks off when you receive an anonymous message that your spouse is cheating. “Within six months of discovering the affair, you must gather enough evidence and bring it before the court,” says the game’s Steam store page (opens in new tab). “In this nightmare of a life, you must maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse. But behind your spouse’s back, you’re gathering evidence for a successful divorce.”
Sounds like, uh, fun? The six month deadline is a reference to the Korea Civil Code, Article 841, which states that if a spouse has committed an act of “unchastity” their partner may apply for divorce, but only within six months of learning of the affair. So, the clock is ticking on your exciting quest to prove that your true love is a piece of shit. In the trailer we can see one partner investigating the other and growing more suspicious as they collect bits of evidence, like receipts from restaurants and movie ticket stubs. Who are they taking to dinner and movies? It sure isn’t you. A minigame involves poking a Voodoo doll of the allegedly unfaithful partner with a pin, which typically isn’t a sign of a healthy relationship.
Despite the cartoony art and gentle soundtrack, this all feels pretty… uncomfortable? Yeah, cheating is a terrible thing to do but so is digging around in 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 chance to play detective, even if all the clues point to my partner’s side piece and the case ends in divorce court.
The bullet points alone listed on the Steam store page are grim as hell, as you “Find objects that hold special memories for the both of you!” which then become “the slivers of rage and misery that form the testimony for the marriage’s end.” Jesus. There are also multiple endings, so you can play through the heartbreak again and again to discover them all. Would you like to do that? Sure you would!
Harsh as all that sound, it’s an interesting concept and as prevalent as divorce is (South Korea has a divorce rate around 47%, and in the US it’s about 45%) it’s a subject not explored much in videogames. You can say “I do” to My Divorce Story on August 18.