After all the sales and holiday shopping, The Dungeon Dame understands if you’ve busted your budget. If you’ve spent entirely way too much on friends, family, or Steam games this year, don’t panic! We’ll be featuring free games for a while, so you can give your wallet a break.
From time to time, I find a game that makes me wish that there was such a thing as a book club for games. Stuff like short indies or story-heavy experimental games that I desperately want to discuss, so I badger my friends into playing them so we can talk about them! Are game book clubs a thing, or should I start one? Either way, Emily is Away definitely qualifies as a book club game; a short visual novel with a very discussable story.
Are game book clubs a thing, or should I start one?
The game takes place over AIM in the early 2000s, on a computer running Windows XP. As someone who spent their formative years over instant messaging services, the nostalgia factor was sky-high. The story is spent chatting to your friend Emily and navigating all the drama that can happen over AIM as a young person. You select an answer, and “type” it in. This mechanic allows you to see how your character corrects a message, changes their mind, etc. before hitting the all-important send button.
The choices don’t really matter, (spoiler alert: kids are dumb) but what I found interesting about this game is that the protagonist you play as is… not the best. Emily and the character you play as are both flawed, but while I’m used to dealing with all sorts of disagreeable characters in the third person, it’s jarring to have a first person antihero. It definitely forces you into the shoes of someone you might not want to be. There’s one point in the game where I was actually horrified at “myself” and what I was “typing.”
Emily is Away needs only one playthrough to see everything, and takes less than an hour to complete, but I’ll recommend experiencing it, especially if you’re in your late-twenties/early-thirties. Thankfully it’s 100% free to relive your awkward years!
Updating my away message,
The Dungeon Dame
The Dungeon Dame