AOL announced today that, in December, it’s shutting down AIM, the best instant messaging service for posting song lyrics in your profile. With it dies the end of a more innocent era: a time when everyone had bad screen names and no one was good at online flirting. If the thought is leaving you wistful with nostalgia already, the good news is that visual novel Emily is Away can fill that hole in your heart.
Developer Kyle Seeley released Emily is Away in 2015. It unfolds through a series of AIM conversations with Emily, a high school friend. In addition to being able to set a screen name or your text to a classic, subtle black background with lime green text, players also control where the story goes by how they respond to Emily.
The game is both an examination of the culture of that time, complete with references to Snow Patrol and Lord of the Rings, as well as how relationships progress — or die — online. It’s a digital coming-of-age story, soundtracked with AIM’s annoying beeps and door slams.
If you’re curious about the game, it’s free to play. There’s also a spiritual successor, Emily is Away Too, that launched earlier this year. RIP, AIM.