Sawbuck Gamer

My Life Is Yours

’Til Death Do Us Part

Two games of morbid love.

By Steve Heisler • April 24, 2012

My Life Is Yours begins with a loaded premise: You are traversing the underworld, escaping puzzles laid out by Hades, hoping to get back to your long-lost love. Quickly, the game turns even more nefarious, throwing you in front of a spiky pit that’s too wide for you to jump across. You die, and in that moment, your soul is transferred to her—your love, waiting just out of reach. You move her along, she dies, and you’re back.

The two lovers never meet, and their fate is determined by how effectively you are able to commit suicide. Drowning yourself, for example, reincarnates your lover as a being composed of water, able to walk through gates that keep out flesh. Burning yourself alive spawns your lover en fuego to bust up icy blocks. Some levels offer a veritable smorgasbord of interesting ways to die, requiring you to do each one at the right time just so the other person can effectively progress. The characters may not know it, but their fates are deeply entwined, each death bringing them one step closer to a bittersweet reunion.

I Saw Her Standing There

Part love story and part basic run-and-jumper, I Saw Her Standing There doesn’t necessarily excel at one or the other. On the love story front, you play as an upside-down exclamation point whose girlfriend turns into a zombie when you get within close proximity. Once your former lady friend is in hot pursuit, you hop from one platform to the next, unable to get so far away that she stops chasing; then you trap her in a cage. It’s the only way your love can thrive—the world won’t understand, but you will.

There’s little that’s puzzling or challenging about I Saw Her Standing There, and the “story,” unfolding between levels, isn’t much more complicated than what you’d find in a Suzanne Collins novel (the non-dystopian-future parts). But taken as a whole, the game can be sweet and a little affecting. Later, when other zombies stand in the way of your beloved, you pick up a gun and mow them down, only to have your girlfriend once again turn on you. She’ll never recognize your love, but you soldier on anyway. Love, even one-sided, always has value.

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132 Responses to “’Til Death Do Us Part”

  1. Drew Toal says:

    Dudes are always trying to get their girlfriends back from Hades. Guy’s a pimp.

    • nummymuffincookoobutter says:

      I want a gritty reboot of the story of Persephone with Sigourney Weaver as Demeter.

    • AuroraBoreanaz says:

      It’s so unfair!  Nice guys always finish last…women SAY they want nice guys, but they always go for the immortal ruler of the underworld instead!

  2. Ramon Mujica says:

    Us gamers are so Romantic. That’s why we don’t get any, ever.

    • LimeadeYouth says:

      Speak for yourself. I was able to parlay Innkeeper into getting some “Favorite Amenities” from my wife, if you know what I mean.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      People who play videogames are huge nerds with no social skills who no one will ever love, amirite?

      (I don’t think your comment is particularly offensive, It’s just the kind of self pitying nerd joke that I see way to often on the internet. Usually followed by how they’re such a nice guy and why won’t stupid bitches fuck them? Basically I’ve spent too much time on reddit.)

      Also, it seems like every other flash game is a SO ART platformer about love. You’d think they could come up with a different premise or maybe not be totally cliche. I dunno, I’m grouchy.

      • itisdancing says:

        But Braid! Braid is Art! So making games like Braid is Art!

        And as we all know, the best thing about Braid was the philosophical ponderings/bad poetry, not the interesting gameplay!

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          Yeah, those books that you walked past were like, so deep. And did you know that it’s about BOMBS? 

          MIND = BLOWN!!!

        • itisdancing says:

          @Douchetoevsky:disqus Jonathan Blow is truly the great artist of our time — like Shigeru Miyamoto getting groped on the subway by David Foster Wallace’s shade.

          Here’s my game: you’re a silhouette of a boy and there’s a silhouette of a girl and you walk towards the girl on the silhouette of the ground and then you fall down a hole because it’s invisible and you fall onto spikes and die and you have to fill the hole with your corpses in order to get across to the girl but it turns out she’s already dating YOUR BEST FRIEND! WHAT A SLUT!!!

      • Girard says:

         I think if you replace “gamers” in the offending comment with “game designers,” you get the answer to your complaint in your last paragraph.

        Apart from stereotypes of game designers having relationship problems (or problems depicting relationships that don’t cast the girl – the object of affection is always a girl – as a princess or a monster), I think a fair amount comes down to certain demographic factors. Designers of little indie flash games tend to be young, male, introverts, and I could imagine a fair amount of relationshippy games deriving from game maker’s first break-ups and stuff. It’s like the new-media equivalent of bad break-up poetry.

        If Flixel had been out when I was in art school, I probably would have made an embarrassing flash game or two after my first relationship ended and I was in the throes of a very adolescent dysphoria. (Instead I made a mopey animation and picture book, neither of which, luckily enough, turned out embarrassing).

  3. Swadian Knight says:

    Lots of self-destruction in today’s articles. Is it because it’s tuesday?

    Anyway, both games are pretty entertaining, if a bit light on challenge.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      Traumatic Tuesdays have long been the release date of suicide simulations! I’m surprised the government hasn’t yet tried to pin self-violence on video games.

      • Swadian Knight says:

        It’s like that urban legend about the japanese government prohibiting games from the Dragon Warrior series from being released on weekdays, only more depressing.

    • trilobiter says:

       Yeah, I think I would have really liked My Life is Yours if it were longer and harder (phasing!), but it was still fun.

      As for I Saw Her Standing There, I like it less, particularly since it’s so fixed on zombies and zombies are not fun anymore.  But hey, pancakes!

      • Girard says:

         Zombies aren’t fun. Neither are games with simplistic takes on “relationships.” Especially ones where the female object of desire (it’s ALWAYS a female object of desire) is some kind of monster or something.

  4. Aaron Riccio says:

    “I Saw Her Standing There” is a cute variation on the “get the girl” theme, and the ending (sans overly twee pancake reference) is nice; and yes, it’s not challenging . . . but there’s an Extreme Mode that is. 

    “My Life Is Yours” is a more serious riff, but it’s a bit sluggish and the puzzles don’t go nearly as far as they should. I see that there are different “endings” but I have no motivation to replay to find them, especially since I got basically no reward for finishing it the first time.

  5. itisdancing says:

    It’s a Yet Another Minimalistic Puzzle-Platformer Themed Around Love double-header! I saw the horse move! We’d better keep beating it! Beat it until another Braid comes out!

    • ShitMcFuckensteinAVC says:

      I never thought Minimalistic Puzzle-Platformer Themed Around Love would be the new Military Themed First Person Shooter.

    • Girard says:

       At least the first one is made by a woman, and consequently doesn’t rely as much on “get the girl” (or “why don’t girls understand ME?!”) tropes. Both the woman and the man are playable and contribute to the relationship/game, rather than the woman just being an abstract Beatrice/Princess figure, or an accessory to the hero. That’s at least something.

      (And hey, the programmer goes to school at my alma mater! Neat!)

  6. Sarah Sharp says:

    I Saw Her Standing There is just Midas. It’s so obviously and completely Midas.