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Emily Is Away <3 is dragging the chat-adventure series into 2008

Kyle Seeley’s Emily Is Away series feel like interactive time capsules. An all-too-vivid recollection of what social media felt like, and how it affected the lives of people back in the day. In the upcoming third instalment Emily Is Away <3, Players have to say goodbye to AOL Instant Messenger and begin their descent into the only slightly invasive (at the time) vortex that is Facebook, circa 2008. Expect drama, multiple-choice dialogues and several possible endings once more when it launches. There’s no launch date yet, but you can see the debut trailer below.

Despite obfuscating characters in the series’s classic colourful silhouette style, it feels like this game might hit a little closer to reality than the previous AIM-inspired stories. Sidebars on every chat root you in the zeitgeist of the time, excitedly promoting the new ‘Incredible Hunk’ movie, or the unheard of and weird phenomenon of ‘indie games’, with a picture invoking Braid. My greatest fear right now is the game will too accurately recapture the lingo and memes of the Extremely Online circa 2008, and I will feel compelled to hurl my PC out a window.

As a naturally antisocial creature that only started on Facebook recently because of family who demand it, I feel this game may also be a little educational for me. What do normal people do here? What even passes as normal again, in that bizarre transitional year of 2008, back before everything went a bit mad. I’m also curious to see how well researched the game is regarding its greater internet space – players will be able to poke around ‘YouToob’ and other related sites, when they’re not elbow-deep in ‘Facenook’.

Oh dear. There are going to be Chuck Norris memes, aren’t there? Suddenly, this is a vision of hell worse than anything I’d see in a horror game.

Emily Is Away <3 is due out ‘soonish’, and you can find it here on Steam. In the meantime, you can play the original here for free, and the second game here for £3.99/€4.99/$4.99. Players at PAX East will also be able to try a public demo at the show.

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Dominic Tarason

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