Emily is Away’s AOL-style chat hits eerily close to home

It’s like a game about my life

The tagline for Emily is Away is what got me to try it out. “Relive your awkward teenage years.” Sure, that sounds like a blast.

It’s a short text adventure set in the early 2000s and made to look like AOL Instant Messenger. (Yes, that was my real AIM screen name in the header image.) What struck me immediately was how closely the dates mirrored my life experience. If it’s autobiographical, I’d guess designer Kyle Seeley is just a year older than I am.

What struck me later was how other bits of the story applied to me as well. I responded as I would have in that situation and the branching pathways took me to a place I’ve already been. Drifting slowly away from a girl I cared about, separated by time and space and growing up. On the one hand it’s almost eerie, like it was loosely based on my own life. On the other hand, it’s kind of reassuring, evidence that I’m not the only person to have those experiences.

Emily is Away releases on Steam on Friday and it is totally free. If you were also an awkward college kid 10 years ago, you too might see yourself in it.

Darren Nakamura
Darren is a scientist during the day. He has been a Destructoid community member since 2006, joining the front page as a contributor in 2011. While he enjoys shooters, RPGs, platformers, strategy, and rhythm games, he takes particular interest in independent games. He produced the Zero Cool Podcast for about four years, and he plays board games quite a bit when he can find willing companions.