Emily is Away is a text-based scenario “game”. The premise of the game is that you are a high school senior who is using AIM to talk to his crush. I say “game” in quotations because it is more of an interactive story with the main gameplay being typing. Your crush is Emily, and the gameplay revolves around you messaging her at different stages through your senior year and the years of college that follow after.
When you start the game, it’s almost exactly like setting up your first AIM profile. You can see your AI ‘friends’, but the Steam integration even gives phony profiles to your actual Steam friends. After you’ve finished setting up your profile and checking out all of your friends’ away messages and what they are up to, Emily messages you, and you get to start picking one of four lines that will hopefully show her that you are the person that she should be paying attention to. However, the most powerful moment in the game doesn’t come from what you say to Emily, it’s what you don’t say.
What makes this game worth playing (it’s free) is the emotional response that it demands from the player. This game isn’t aimed at those that feed off of first-person shooters, or in-depth RPG lovers, or maybe it is. This game is made for someone who wants to play a quick (45 minutes) game that tells a story that makes you think back to days of new Blink-182 lyrics, cheesy away messages, and praying that after you heard that dial-up connection go through, that you would see that special person online.
In my opinion, Emily is Away is a game that everyone should play once, or maybe twice if you want to explore the different endings. You should play Emily Is Away if you’ve ever had a young love, summer fling, or crush you were afraid to approach. This game will make you remember those days and what it felt like to have sweaty hands striking keys for words that you thought sounded good together.