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Emily is Away Too

If you grew up in the late 90s or early 2000s, you're no doubt familiar with AOL Instant Messenger. As one of the first ways to easily talk to friends online, for many of us AIM was a huge part of our childhood. Before Facebook, or WhatsApp, or Snapchat, there was AIM. For a whole generation it's synonymous with adolescence and the drama that so often goes with it.

Part of that comes from the fact that it was one of the only means of easily chatting online with people you knew in person. That, plus the fact that AIM didn't have a group chat feature for years, meant that it was a bit more intimate than other online communication.

Emily is Away Too (as well as its predecessor, 2015's Emily is Away) leans on that hard. Both take place almost entirely inside an AIM chat window, exploring the bizarre nature of digitally mediated relationships. As you play, you nurture your connections by relating, empathizing, and exchanging bits of your lives via chat. Your pen pals are set in stone – coded by the game's developer – but it's a unique take on communication in gaming. If you follow either Jacksepticeye or Markiplier on YouTube, you've no doubt seen them both play this in past couple of weeks.

Emily is Away is free on Steam. Its sequel is $4.99.

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