The Emily is Away games are visual novels about the end of the instant messaging era, time capsules of this century’s first decade. The second, Emily is Away Too, was set in 2006 at the end of AIM’s life and the beginning of social media. The third game, which will be out next month, moves to 2008 and the time of Facebook—I mean Facenook, ha ha, who would call something a name that goofy, a book for faces, how ridiculous.
Emily is Away <3 also moves its teenage characters forward to a time in their lives when they’re posting the photos and statuses they will be deeply embarrassed about when old school friends look them up in years to come.
Developer Kyle Seeley says that Emily is Away <3 will be bigger than the previous two games put together, with more characters and a more in-depth system to simulate than just a chat program. “Facenook is way more than just chat”, Seeley wrote in a development update. “You can write statuses, post on friend’s walls, and get into poke wars. There’s note surveys, event pages, and 3rd party apps to explore. All of these new features tie back into the narrative and the way you use them will effect your playthrough.
“This is a major change from previous Emily games that were almost entirely chat-based,” Seeley continues. “As you might suspect implementing these new features took some time. I also wanted to design narrative scenarios where each feature could really shine. It would feel disingenuous to create a version of Facenook that didn’t have all these different avenues for interaction. And personally, I remember all these features vividly. Posting an edgy status, reading a crush’s note, flirting via poke war, these are all part of our memories of Facenook.”