What Am I Playing Lately? (Emily is Away Edition)

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Usually when I’m taking a look through Steam’s Free to Play section, I see a bunch of stuff I have absolutely no interest in playing. It’s not to say that a majority of games contained within that section are crap (although a good chunk of stuff in there is), but most of it is. I stumbled upon Emily is Away during one of my searches, and had really only downloaded it due to the nods to AIM and oddly enough, Windows XP.

I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to play it, I couldn’t tell what the game was about from the video, or from the screenshots. If you had told me it was a mystery game, I would’ve believed you. I really had no clue, and so the game sat in my backlog for months.┬áThis past Saturday night, I decided I’d finally give the game a try. I don’t know if it was fatigue from the day, or the alcohol talking, but I was feeling pretty brave.

The game takes place of the course of 5 years, you start out in High School, and the game ends when you’re ready to graduate from college. The only thing that is changing over the course of the game is your relationship with Emily. It started off innocently enough, but then as your character gets older, and starts making some important decisions that impact your friendship/relationship with Emily, that’s when the game starts to have a different feel to it, and the themes get a little bit heavier.

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After creating a screen name (johncena), I was looking squarely at the AIM UI and the rolling hills background within Windows XP, which is what drew me to the game in the first place. After sitting there for a few seconds, I hear a familiar sound; it was the AIM chime, someone was talking to me. I had a hard time taking the game seriously at first, I was answering questions about what my plans were for that night, and if was thinking of going to some party. Basically, all things that one would think about if they had a social life.

Halfway through the first play through, which was around chapter 3, I started to realize the game wasn’t as lighthearted as I thought. I wish I could talk about some of the choices that I had made, but there isn’t really a way to do that without spoiling the experience. I will say however, that this isn’t a game about making progress and “getting the girl”, in fact, I would venture to say that, that isn’t the point here. I think the point of a game like this, is to make you feel something, be it guilt, uncertainty, or even a twinge of sadness.

I know that at the end of my first play though, my final options of things to say to Emily were “Goodbye”, “Goodbye”, and “Goodbye”, and I felt really shitty about that. I thought that I felt this way because I was tired; but I went through the game again the next day, and felt the same thing (well maybe a little worse), since I was able to experience friendliness at the beginning, and the distance at the end.

Emily is Away is an interesting experiment, and I’m glad I took some time to check it out. Its always nice to be surprised every once in awhile.

 

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The Legend of Zelda (An 8 Bit Game a Day mini edition)

the-legend-of-zelda-enemiesIt’s hard for me to admit this, but I’ve never finished the original Legend of Zelda. I can’t really say for sure why that is; the only thing that I can think of, is that I never owned Zelda, Metroid, or Kid Icarus, and so the nostalgia just isn’t there in the same way that it was for say, Super Mario Bros, or Castlevania. Those were games that I physically owned, and therefore had access to those titles whenever I wanted it.

It’s a shame really, because two out those three games are iconic (Kid Icarus, is okay, but it by no means should be considered a classic). But considering that I didn’t really have much of a say when it came to getting new games, I mainly played what was available. Like most kids at the time, it wasn’t really a problem, except for when you got that really terrible game (looking at you CastleQuest) and were stuck playing it for the next few months, until the next holiday came around.

That being said however, it’s not as though you couldn’t get any of the games that you missed out on, at any point down the road, it’s just that when you have a backlog of things you want to get through, whether it be games, movies, books, or whatever, its always shifting and evolving, and so that game that you were interested in playing 20 years ago, may not seem so interesting now.

Which brings me to the point of this entry. I’ve only played the The Legend of Zelda up to the first dungeon, and that’s it. I’ve attempted to go through this quite a few times, but just ended up not really being interested. However, it being the 30th anniversary and all, I’m going to finish this game.