Emily Is Away: Special for chat simulation for internet nostalgics

Emily Is Away: Special for chat simulation for internet nostalgics

Emily Is Away

"Emily Is Away". But where did the good one go? The title of the retro chat simulation refers to the notification that users receive when the person they are talking to has logged out of the AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Some of us may still remember the days of Windows XP and think sadly back to the familiar green field. With Emily Is Away we can relive the early days of the Internet and also get an interactive story full of emotions delivered.

Table of Contents

1 Part 1 - Emily Is Away 2 Part 2 - Emily Is Away Too 3 Part 3 - Emily Is Away <3 Already in the title screen we are transported back to a simpler time. Source: Kyle Seeley Indie developer Kyle Seeley has now released three parts of the series on Steam, the most recent being released on April 16, 2021. In Emily Is Away <3 - the heart is part of the name - we no longer use AIM, but a simulated version of Facebook, because this time we are in the year 2008. What exactly to expect when playing or chatting and why could be worthwhile for you to immerse yourself in the world of Emily and Co., you can find out here.

Part 1 - Emily Is Away

Which icon best represents us and our obviously red-hot interests? Source: Kyle Seeley The year is 2002. At that time, we are a teenager as a player, struggling with high school and all the problems of puberty. In our free time we like to sit in front of the computer to exchange messages with our friends via the AOL Instant Messager, which was popular at the time. But before we get started with the lively exchange, we first have to make a few preparations. We choose our name with which we want to be addressed, a nickname and a profile picture with a contemporary motif. The selection consists of well-known album covers and film posters that were current in the early 2000s. For example, we can identify with Blink182 or the first Harry Potter part. New icons are available to us in each chapter and more can also be unlocked. By the way, our gender does not play a role and is not queried, because the entire dialogue with us is not gender-specific.

Our author Yannik had a little cameo with a wonderfully kitsch profile. Source: Kyle Seeley We start after the chapter overview with a clunky, gray-blue window that shows our buddy list, i.e. our contact list. Here we find the profiles of various people and can click through colorful quotes and sometimes more, sometimes less profound thoughts. For many players, this is probably a bit of a shock: People from the real Steam friend list can also appear here. The game picks up their names and pairs them with a random profile. It comes to quite absurd and amusing combinations.

Even if the number of possible chat partners is apparently quite large, we can only get in contact with one person. And with none other than Emily himself, to whom the game owes its name. We can see through an icon that it is currently online when we log in. It's about time to send her the first message. Using a text field with three options, we decide to start the conversation. The entire sentence is not displayed, but only a short form, which is a little more detailed when it is sent.

To write, we simply hit our keyboard at random and the words appear on the screen. At first glance, the fact that we are actually being stopped to type seems to be just a tiny gimmick, but in reality this creates the strong immersion that we feel during the simulation. In contrast to many other games, we don't need a lot of imagination to be able to imagine that we are completely real in the protagonist's situation. That is some of the magic behind Emily Is Away.

Howdy Emily! That's how smoothly we sneak into Emily's DMs. Source: Kyle Seeley In total we can text our way through five contiguous chapters, each of which takes place a year after the previous one. So the last playable section deals with the year 2006. After we have finished a session and logged out, it will be a while before the next meeting with Emily, during which a lot can happen, depending on the decisions we have made. Certain parts of the conversation have a significant impact on how our relationship with Emily develops. But apart from that, Emily reacts very believably to the way we play. For example, she comments individually on the selected profile picture. So we can enjoy several rounds in which we experiment with different answer options.

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The team behind the Baldur's Gate-style role-playing game Black Geyser has found a publisher. var lstExcludedArticleTicker = '1373300,1372163,1371732,1371723'; The whole story that unfolds around us and Emily was deliberately not designed to be particularly exciting or unusual. It is realistic and could happen to each of us in this way, so that we can fully empathize with what is happening. The well-implemented dialogues make Emily seem alive and make us feel as if she might actually perceive us somehow.

Playing through the game doesn't take long. But for the price of absolutely nothing - the first part of the series is free on Steam - we get something wonderful delivered. Kyle Seeley manages with little means and a simple mechanism to take us on a moving journey.

Part 2 - Emily Is Away Too

In the second part the gameplay does not change fundamentally, but there is a lot of content on top. The crux of the matter - to which the "Too" in the title also refers - is that we can now chat with another person parallel to Emily. This is Evelyn, who communicates with us under the nickname Punk4Eva. We also get links from time to time that direct us to YouToob or Facenook, for example. These websites are based on their counterparts from real life and have been optically adapted to the game world. Music videos are sent to us that capture the zeitgeist of the early 2000s and the addition of the Facenook profiles gives us further insights into the private lives of our chat partners.

Here we find out for the first time about Evelyn, a punk loving, edgy Teenage girl. Source: Kyle Seeley At the start of the game we are asked if we would like to play Emily Is Away Too or Emily Online. This begs the question: What the hell is Emily Online, please? Is it an epic MMORPG? No, unfortunately not. But there is at least one pretty cool feature hidden behind it. We can use the nostalgic design of Emily Is Away to replace our Steam chat.

"This installer is definitely fake." Source: Kyle Seeley If we then start with the actual game, a simulated installer greets us. A few little gags are built in here and we are provided with a classic Windows XP background image of our choice in a pixel look. This is how we create the perfect atmosphere to be transported back in time. From then on it continues as usual, only the layout of the messenger has changed a little. In addition, we can now also create a profile from funny movie quotes and song texts.

While the predecessor covered the years 2002-2006, the five chapters of part two extend over a shorter period of time, namely 2006-2007. However, there are no contextual connections between the two games. Because even though we graduated from high school in the course of Emily Is Away and then went to college, we find ourselves in high school again in Emily Is Away Too.

As the game progresses, we learn Evelyn and Emily better and better know. The two could not be more different and everyone will have their preference here with whom they have more fun to talk to.

Part 3 - Emily Is Away <3

Mat would like to, that we choose a cool status to complete our profile. How do we want to present ourselves to our digital friends? Source: Kyle Seeley The third part of the text adventure takes place in chronological order in 2008. At that time, AOL had clearly lost its importance and was considered dead. So anyone who wanted to continue chatting online had to do the same and switch to Facebook. These events also carry over into the game world. To the extent that, for the first time, we don't find the familiar buddy list and clunky text fields to which we have become so used. Instead, we land on the Facenook platform, a simplified version of the original. Once we have just set up our profile with a profile picture and stating our name, we will receive our very first friend request. Is it emily Is it Evelyn? No, this time we finally have the opportunity to exchange ideas with other characters that we previously only knew from their profiles. This includes our buddy Mat, who is about to offer us his help to pimp up our Facenook page a little.

It doesn't take long before we have to make the first important decision in the game. Both Emily and Evelyn are throwing a party that same evening to mark the end of summer. So where are we going to go? After we had a little chat with both of them and received all the information about the events, we received two Facenook invitations, which we can now accept or decline. The premise, by the way, is as always that we're a senior high school student.

Snooping around profiles, poking people at random, and chatting with friends. The classic Facebook experience. Source: Kyle Seeley

In Emily is Away <3 there is once again a lot of love and a multitude of cool details, such as the small parodied advertising texts on the side of the page. Due to the posts that keep popping up, the course of the game feels dynamic. The playing time has increased significantly and after round one the only logical consequence is a second round. At least after we have mentally recovered from the emotional roller coaster that this game represents.

Getting to know Emily and the cyber world around her is well worth it. Especially for those who care about immersive and dialog-heavy games. Since the first part is still available for free download on Steam, getting started is not at all difficult. If you are hungry for more, you have two more parts in front of you.

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