Genre: Free to Play Casual Adventure
Release date: November 20, 2015
Not feeling old enough? Perhaps I can help:.
The Internet is old enough that nostalgia about the early days of the World Wide Web is now a thing. It’s a legitimate thing.
Don’t believe me? Try playing Emily is Away, a new game that sends you back to the early days of AOL instant messages.
The entire game consists of you chatting with your friend Emily. You get to name your character and you get to pick from a variety of responses whenever she asks you a question.
The game very quickly takes you through five years: Senior year in high school to first year post-college.
This is a tiny game. It’s free (actually it’s pay-what-you-want) and is an easy download. One pass through its brief story will take you less than an hour. But I doubt if you’ll only want to play it once.
That’ll depend on you, though. Do you are about Emily? Are you in love with her? Do you simply want to manipulate her? Do you think she’s just using you? Your responses will determine the shape of your relationship with the person on the other side of the IM window.
The game does a really cool job of making you feel the experience with authenticity. You can change your font color, pick your icon, and name your character. These small actions get you more invested in the interaction with the title character.
I want to be careful not to oversell this pint-sized adventure, but I really do recommend you play it. It’s yet another example of an indie developer exploring what makes a game. I admire the purity of its premise and the slyness of its writing. All-in-all, playing Emily is Away is a surprisingly poignant experience. It’ll give you two interesting things to think about: The nature of our online relationships and our relationship with games in general.
+ Intriguing, singular premise
+ Excellent execution
+ Good writing
- It’s too short and tight to really have any cons