Emily is Away is a visual novel set in the early 2000s. Chat with a girl named Emily and see where your conversations take you: is it a romantic future or a deep dive into a painful past? Choose your name, personality, and conversation starters as you talk with “Emily.” Functioning as somewhat of a chatbot, this “game” is a casual play for anyone who just wants their fair share of early ’00s online drama.
From here on out, you can get hooked to many other visual novels. Five examples are at the very end of this article.
Inside This Article
- Introduction to Emily Is Away
- Emily Is Away Review
- Emily Is Away Too (Sequel)
- Visual Novels Like Emily Is Away
- Final Word
What Is Emily Is Away?
What Kind of Game Is It?
Take a trip down memory lane with Emily Is Away. Allow yourself to be zapped in an early 2000s world where you find yourself in the same chatroom as a girl named Emily. Emily Is Away is a visual novel that audiences can enjoy for free. Each player functions as the protagonist of the story, making their own screen names and chatting the years away with Emily, the story’s leading lady.
Audiences decide where they want to take the story. You can decide how to reply to Emily, changing the story as it goes along. The visual novel will give you a number of choices to choose from, so choose wisely.
Unlike other visual novels, Emily Is Away is not a horror experience. The novel’s narrative falls into the casual adventure genre, which makes it a great escape for anyone who just wants a fun and relaxing time.
Talk to Emily as she traverses through the heartbreak and fun of high school and college. Choose your path, and see how it can intertwine with hers.
Emily Is Away is another independently developed success. Created by Kyle Seely, this visual novel is a product of his love for gaming and coding.
Seely is a homegrown developer from Boston, Massachusetts. He has also worked on other games, which goes to show how he managed to create a world all on his own. He developed, published, designed, and wrote everything you see in Emily Is Away.
Many indie games that found their footing in the recent decade, like Phasmophobia, are like Emily is Away. Managed by a one-person show, these games are passion projects, which audiences around the world can feel.
Attributing indie games’ successes to their simple but effective methods can be best seen in Emily Is Away.
Emily Is Away was released on November 20, 2015, in North America. The game centers itself on the American experience of senior high school all up to the final year of college.
Those who want to play Emily Is Away can get the game for Microsoft Windows, Mac, or Linux PCs. Laptops can also access the game, as long as its hardware meets the minimum requirements of the game.
The game’s minimum requirements will differ for Windows and Mac users.
For those using Windows, the game requires at least a Windows XP Service Pack 2+ operating system. It also needs your hardware to have an Intel Pentium 4 or later and at least 512 MB of RAM.
Mac users, meanwhile, can play the game on a Mac OS X 10.6 or later. It also requires players to have at least 512 MB of RAM and an Intel processor.
Emily Is Away is not a particularly heavy game to process. It is a simulation of a chat box in the early 2000s, which did not have a lot of graphic requirements at the time. This adds to the sentimentality of the game, but also makes it very accessible to anyone who wants to try it.
One of the best things about Emily Is Away is its price. The game is completely free and can be downloaded from Steam today.
Emily Is Away Review
The gameplay for Emily is Away is very simple. This game is a single-player experience like a chatbot. Each story, question, or proposition from Emily can be responded to. However, you have to choose from Seely’s pre-programmed answers.
A casual adventure and simulation visual novel, Emily Is Away will only need you to create a screen name and an icon. After that, you can get started with chatting up high-schooler Emily.
Your choices will determine the fate of you and Emily’s story. One choice can mean the end of your online friendship, and another can lead you to a cute meet with the girl. To get a better grasp of the game’s aesthetic and goals, visiting the official website of Emily Is Away may help.
Before you put the story in motion, you must first decide on your screen name and buddy icon. Your buddy icon choices are loaded with sentimentality, as they are references to popular ’00s culture. They reference Harry Potter, Avril Lavigne, Blink-182, The Ring, and more.
When you log on, you meet fellow high school student Emily in a chat room. The setting is 2002, and you are both seniors in high school. Now actually setting the story in motion, Emily mentions a guy named Brad who seems to be interested in her romantically. She also mentions a party that her batch mate is throwing.
As the player, you can decide to go or not. This will cause a domino effect to the story, as most in-game choices do.
From there, you will catch glimpses of Emily’s life through the years. This includes her first, second, third, and final years of college. These take place within the years of 2003–2006. This time period is loaded with references to indie music, the “latest” movies, and stories of teen angst. A magnified look into Emily’s love life is also provided. The player learns that she is with either Brad or another batchmate named Travis. At the same time, certain feelings between Emily and the player may develop.
As a visual novel, Emily Is Away’s strongest suit is its storyline. This will change along with the player’s decisions, but each outcome makes for a riveting tale.
As a simple chatbot-type of experience, Emily Is Away does not have intense or powerful graphics. This is not the game’s aesthetic in the first place: an early ’00s tale, the game is a simple pixelated chatbox.
Pop-up screens are involved, but for the most part, what you see on Emily Is Away is what you get. This is not a bad thing, either. The game’s graphics are in line with its theme, story, and overall goals.
Emily Is Away is full of features that call back to the era of instant messaging and AOL chat rooms. Players (or the main protagonists) of the story can view Emily’s info and change font colors as they chat the night away with Emily.
The small details of this visual novel also make all the difference. Choosing a reply does not equal an instant send—players will have to watch their character type a reply first. This process is also a fun experience: hear the sound of old-school typing and watch as your character deletes emoticons that may turn Emily off.
This game is definitely of high value to anyone who lived through the early ’00s. Those who did not experience the age of instant messaging, random chatrooms and the MySpace era may not understand the value of Emily Is Away.
However, for those that do know what life and the internet were like at the time, this game is full of nuggets of sentimentality and casual fun.
As a simulation, you are zapped into a lost time of the early internet. Emily Is Away provides an escape from the modern era of messaging, emojis, and internet culture.
Emily Is Away Too (Sequel)
Following the success of the first game is Emily Is Away Too, also developed independently by Kyle Seely. This visual novel is also set on an instant messaging platform. However, unlike the first game, Emily Is Away Too features websites like “YouToob” and “Facenook,” making it possible for players to link across messages.
The gameplay is similar to its predecessor, where you decide what to reply to Emily as you talk about your last year of high school. Set in 2006–2007, the game gives you many different topics to talk about and platforms to discuss on. You need not expect a large difference between this and Emily Is Away, though.
Still, the game has a new character you can also talk to: Evelyn. This is a departure from the first game’s single-correspondence experience with Emily. Also unlike the first game, Emily Is Away Too requires a small fee before downloading and playing. Those interested can get the game on Steam today.
Emily Is Away Too is also only available on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. Almost the same minimum requirements apply.
Mimicking the same gameplay from the first game, Emily Is Away Too’s story is somewhat similar as well. The only difference is the year this game is set in.
Split into five chapters, the game finds you and Emily talking about your final year in high school. Making things more interesting, you also begin corresponding with a girl named Evelyn, who Emily does not know at all.
The game will often put your experiences with these people head to head. These two girls are very different from one another, which makes each chatting with them a different experience. From their music interests to their life plans, Emily and Evelyn will give you different perspectives to admire.
As both women navigate their life in high school and romantic prospects moving forward, you will have to choose whose friendship you value more. The two may need your help and comfort as life kicks them down.
The story for Emily Is Away Too is a more interconnected and complex one. When the two characters meet each other by the end of the visual novel, they will talk about you. Your responses from start to finish will shape the trust and respect you will have with Emily and Evelyn.
You will either start or end relationships with one of these girls. Like the previous game, you must choose carefully and wisely.
The game features layouts that are very much still callbacks to the early ’00s. Seely parodies the visual design of YouTube and Facebook during 2006–2007.
Other than this, Windows and MacOS users need to be able to support 800×600 High Color + graphics. SteamOS + Linux users must have at least 256 MB to support the game’s graphics.
As mentioned above, the game features five chapters that have short month-long breaks from one another. This feature is unlike the first game, which follows you and Emily from senior high school all through your final years of college.
Emily Is Away Too boasts more customization compared to the first game. Where in the first game you can control your buddy icon and the pop references you make with it, the second one gives you the chance to constantly change this throughout the game.
High school students are continuously evolving and are dynamic individuals. The game shows this by giving you the tools to change your icons, edit your profile, and change other social media settings.
Other features of the game include multiple endings, linking across different social media websites, file transfers, and even more dialogue decisions.
As an added bonus, the game zaps you into a world you thought you could never enjoy again.
Emily Is Away Too is another valuable game for those looking for an escape to the past. This visual novel gives you characters, issues, and websites that are truly a product of their time.
By chatting with Emily and Evelyn, you remember all the things that made the internet what it was back in 2006–2007. This independent game is grassroots at its core, developed by someone who did live the 2006–2007 internet experience.
While those who grew up in the 2010s may not recall most of the references or choices Emily Is Away Too gives, it still roots itself in a fun story. Decide what person you want to be. Take this game as seriously (or not seriously) as possible. It’s all up to you, and that’s the main value of the Emily Is Away series.
Visual Novels You Can Enjoy After Emily Is Away
Visual novels have a novelty to them that other game genres do not. These are relatively easier and cheaper to make. At the same time, it is also some of the most immersive to experience.
There are at least 20 best visual novel games every kind of players can enjoy, but here are five fun ones to start with.
Also a visual novel, Knights College presents its choices differently from Emily Is Away and Emily Is Away Too. Here, choices come in the form of cards, which you will collect as you board in your university: Knights College.
From its name, players have an idea of the lives they lead in this visual novel. Only the best and most elites of knights get invited to Knights College, and for some reason, you have been chosen by the university.
Playing as Argo, you have a simple and countryside background. The life you know from being raised in a fishing village is different from the life you are about to lead. Knights College somehow gave you a letter of recommendation without you knowing why. What makes you so special? You do not know yet, but as the story unravels, you will find out.
Argo enrolls into the university and meets knights of all walks of life. Blend in, stand out, and be a rock for what you believe in. You are now a knight candidate, make decisions like it.
Emily Is Away and Emily Is Away Too are text-based games, just like Suzerain. However, this is as similar as these titles are going to get.
Suzerain finds you assuming the role of a president with the complete political package: drama, fear, and power. Named President Rayne, you are the head of state in a country called Sordland. As its leader, it is up to you how you can build or destroy your land.
Why would you destroy it? This game of politics challenges your morality and appetite for power. There are political controversy and corruption lurking in every corner. Will you embrace it or change the way the world works one decision at a time?
Roleplaying as president gives you access to your country’s security, and economy, as well as your citizen’s opportunities. Get to the very core of your beliefs with Suzerain and show what you are made of in your four-year term.
Like Emily Is Away, Riddle Joker is set in a school. However, the stakes go much deeper and darker than your typical high school drama.
A sci-fi visual novel, Riddle Joker is in a world where superpowers, psychic abilities, and “Astrons” are real. Because of these, there are people known as “Astrals,” who are one of the most powerful beings in the universe.
Not everyone is blessed with these powers, like Arihara Satoru, a secret agent.
He is on a mission to infiltrate an academy that uses Astrals. Seeing what happens between the lines, what makes them so special, and how they hone for powers (for good or evil). He also meets Astrals such as Mitsukasa Ayase and Nijouin Hazuki, who become his friends during his stay.
What will happen as Arihara keeps his secret for long? Will it be revealed or will he keep his identity intact through it all?
Possibly the most inventive and quirky story from this bunch is Purrfect Apawcalypse. This visual novel features anthropomorphic animals going through an apocalypse in high school. Yes, you read that correctly.
Assume the role of Olive the mutt and shape her final hours in Hachiko High School by making choices along the way. As the world ends, Olive is consumed by the most high-school of things: her love life.
With hours left to live, Olive wants to make the most out of her life. She also wants someone worth it to spend these hours with, and this is where you, the player, come in. Will Olive choose Brownie the corgi, Sparky the husky, or Patches the dalmatian? Each dog has their own interests and personalities, so choose what will make Olive happiest of all.
While this visual novel has high-school furries as characters, it still has its fair share of apocalyptic violence and demon action.
Despite this warning, one thing is for sure: when you play this, you see a story you have never heard or seen before.
Last on this list is Psycholonials, which is set in the most recent times: April 20, 2020, England.
Become a modern-day social media influencer and build an online brand with the help of the supernatural. As things go south (which they often do online), make decisions that can benefit you, your brand, and your business partners.
Stardom is a fickle, addicting, and dangerous thing. Drama is present in every corner, especially in the year 2020. Live out the influencer life and live on an island while boasting about your life in Psycholonials.
There are many visual novels that you can enjoy for free or for a small price. These interactive stories provide an escape for you by putting you in situations you may never find yourself in day-to-day life.
Emily Is Away is everything that is great about visual novels. With a simple concept and a passionate one-man show, Emily Is Away became a hit visual novel encapsulating the beauty of its time.
Relive the early ’00s and get back to the melodrama fueling the era in the first place. It is like watching a reality show with you and Emily (or Evelyn, Brad, etc.) as the stars!