About Emily is Away
Developed by Kyle Seeley, Emily is Away is a free-to-play 2D simulation video game, available for the Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux operating systems. It presents a blast from the past in the form of a story-rich, romantic interactive novel. The game released as free-to-play in 2015. Users interact with Emily, the main character, and potential on-again-off-again love interest. Its design throws back directly to AOL Instant Messenger (or AIM, for short), and most of the story takes place in this virtual world. The game spans over the course of five years and focuses on an evolving relationship between the user and Emily. Choose from many different paths to get close to this mysterious girl.
Emily is Away is a big dose of nostalgia.
Emily is Away is a big dose of nostalgia. Its customization evolves as the years go by. Users choose from different buddy icons, update their away messages, and change their profiles. The game transports the player into a totally different time on the internet in all the best ways.
Emily is Away Features
Emily is Away starts in 2002. The main character and Emily attend high school together. Interact with Emily over AIM, and choose from a variety of text choices that will create many paths through the story. Deal with many issues that arise in high school. Parties, crushes, and teenage reflection are all fair game in the conversations with Emily. The game winds through many choices to tell a heartfelt tale of young love. Talk to Emily for five years (up to college graduation in 2007) and discover where the relationship ends up.
The design is crafted entirely around AOL Instant Messenger.
The main features in the game focus on nostalgia. The design is crafted entirely around AOL Instant Messenger. Players choose from many popular buddy icons from the time. As the years progress the buddy icons do, too. They reflect the pop culture of the time for an added dose of memorabilia. Players write unique "Away Messages" and profiles, as well as make original AIM screen names. Customize text colors and backgrounds for the finishing touch to transport back to a different internet world.
Emily is Away is a video game that feeds nostalgia in a great way. It presents players a taste of a time past. It focuses on high school romance in a way that resonates with lots of users. The interactive novel received critical praise. Choose from Harry Potter or Eminem buddy icons, leave an angsty away message like old times, and rock the lime green text like there's no tomorrow. It spawned a sequel that released in 2017. It is a short, sweet, and free-to-play game that gives a true throwback text-based tale.
Review: Emily is Away - Relive the '90s Net
Away messages haven't hit so hard since '02!
Throwback to the AIM Era
Stories of the early days on the internet are chock-full of chatrooms and online drama, with a ton of it happening on the infamous AOL Instant Messenger. Get a taste of angsty teenagehood from the late 1990s and early 2000s in Emily is Away, a short text-based story told in five chapters.
Concept: Chronicling Life on the Early Web
Emily is Away features the classic AIM look. It became so quintessentially iconic that even a generation later, it's recognizable. The entire game centers around an online relationship that you have with a fellow high school classmate on AIM.
Emily is Away features the classic AIM look.
Chat with Emily and learn more about her. Help her with relationships while managing your own character's developing feelings toward Emily. The visual novel format progresses across five years of your life, from senior year of high school to senior year of college.
It's a thoughtful dose of nostalgia for anyone eager to relive the days of AIM. Additionally, the concept itself is clever and engaging, earning a 4/5.
Graphics & Audio: Keep the Classics Coming
It's the sounds you thought you'd never hear! Like, ever ever again. Emily is Away features those classic Windows chimes, like the boot-up sounds. Furthermore, AIM's sounds are all recreated with accuracy that might creep into your dreams.
Emily is Away features those classic Windows chimes, like the boot-up sounds.
The graphics are about the same. The early 2000s PC screen exudes through every nook and cranny of Emily is Away. You'll certainly feel like you were transported back to the turn of the century logging in with your username on the recreated AIM screen. Everything has been built with this in mind, from the chatbox customizations with different text and background colors. There are even unique profile pictures that you can select, like Lord of the Rings and Blink 182.
All of these aesthetic choices are what make the game a true blast from the past. It's truly a careful recreation of an era so many gamers grew up in coming to life on the screen. There weren't a lot of advanced graphics when AIM was king. For these reasons, the game holds solid at 4/5. Prim and proper aren't always the most important things in graphics and audio, and Emily is Away showcases that.
Gameplay: High School and College Life
Log into your online chat program. There, you'll see what all of your friends are doing or saying. You can customize your profile by picking your text color and background, your profile pic, and even your bio. Click on your friends to see their bios and profile pics, too.
In the early 2000s, flirting on AIM was the best way to get in with your crush.
Emily is one of your friends as well. She's kind of actually your crush. In the early 2000s, flirting on AIM was the best way to get in with your crush. Chat with Emily about different things, like your real-life time together and upcoming events.
The story progresses over five years. When you first start chatting with Emily, you've both seniors in high school. Head off to college, and your relationship with Emily changes, though. Things you say and do cause events to happen offline. Where will you and Emily leave things at the end of your five-year journey through college and self-discovery?
The game pulls at your heartstrings. It's a tale of growing up, one that everyone can certainly relate to in some way or another. Growing apart from friends and becoming a different person is a scary but necessary part of growing up. Emily is Away earns a 4/5 for evoking those emotions and reminding us all why we left AIM in the first place.
Worth a Play
Anyone with a love of visual novels and fond nostalgia for the early days of internet chatting should dive into Emily is Away. It's a short playthrough, with each year only lasting a few minutes. Conversations are well-written, the emotions are raw, and you'll feel like you're sitting at your dial-up desktop within minutes of the first time Emily puts up her moody away message.
REPLAY VALUE: 4/5
Emily is Away is a visual novel based on the early 2000s internet chat culture sensation, AIM.