This Game Reenacts Your Teenage Instant Messaging

We all remember sprinting away from family dinners to check if we had any messages on AIM. Or that thrill when you got your first crush’s SN (not that you hadn’t stalked it out days beforehand). Remember spending long minutes adjusting the capitalization and wording of your away messages? (Mine was a Jay Z verse until someone IMed me to tell me that I was being really lame.)

The computer game Emily is Away sends you back to those days before Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and even Ello by simulating an AIM talk with a bot called Emily (“emerly35” for the curious).

Designer Kyle Seeley made the game look like early 2000s Windows XP, complete with the blue taskbar and the iconic green hills desktop background.

Your journey starts with selecting a screen name — just like in real life — which is also randomizable with the click of a button, alternating capitalizations, “xX”s on either end of the name, leet-speak, and everything else you can think of.

The game asks you to tackle high school topics like college, a party, and the all-important music selections. Your relationship with Emily unfolds gradually, just as it did with your high school crushes, over painstakingly long conversations on AIM. The game presents you with a buddy list that looks just like the one you would have had in high school as its story unfolds over five chapters. Bands name-checked include Snow Patrol, Jet, Coldplay, and Blink-182.

"For me at least, Aol instant messenger is so nostalgic because I used to use it everyday," Seeley wrote to Mashable in an email. "I would come home from school, get on the computer and talk to friends for hours. Then when texting and Facebook came along, AIM was replaced and forgotten. Sure, AIM still exists today but it's not like how it was, gone are the iconic Away Messages and Buddy Infos. That's one of the main reasons I made Emily is Away, so we could all relive that slice of time again."

The game won’t replicate the (false) emotional connection that takes place over AIM but does provide a window into a past before we were on Google Hangouts all day.

I mean, I guess it wasn’t that different. But whatever.

Emily is Away
is available for Linux, Mac, and PC. Name your price. It’s worth it.
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