The game takes place in a five year span, from 2002 to 2006. All interaction is handled through an instant messaging client similar to America Online's IM client. You have a few friends on your friends list, but you only directly interact with your friend Emily (screen name: emerly35), chatting about each others' lives and relationships.
A third game in the series, Emily Is Away <3, was announced in March 2019.
Compare and contrast Digital: A Love Story.
emerly35 is typing...
- all lowercase letters: Up until the middle of Chapter 4.
- Bi the Way: Thanks to Hello Insertname Here and to the fact your gender is never addressed, your character might be a girl, making you a lesbian (if you try and hook up with Emma) and Em bi.
- But Thou Must!: You can't actually type your responses to Emily; rather, you have to mash keys on the keyboard until the game finishes the pre-made response for whatever option you picked. This fuels the Wham Shot in Chapter 5, where you keep trying to ask Emily about your relationship with each other, only for the game to backspace those questions and make them boring.
- Also, no matter what you say or how you act, there are only two endings. Both of them involve the two of you going your separate ways.
- Cannot Spit It Out: The main flaw that stops you from getting together with Emily.
- Downer Ending: Emily has mixed feelings about having met you at your college (if that option was chosen) and gets back together with Brad/Travis. The only other girl you may have been interested in hooks up with one of your former college friends. And the final moments of the game suggest that you and Emily will never speak to each other again.your username is away
- Easter Egg: DOZENS of them, all of them doubling as a Shout-Out to video games, popular Let's Players/streamers, or memes.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You have to provide a username and first name to log in at the beginning. Both carry through the rest of the game, unless you start Chapter 1 over. The bonus Easter Egg icons are unlocked by inputting specific usernames during Chapter 1.
- It's a Small Net After All: Justified, seeing as the game takes place in the earlier days of the internet, before social media sites existed in the capacity they do now.
- Last-Second Word Swap: Done in bits and pieces throughout the game, sometimes to fix typos, sometimes to hide your true feelings for Emily. Played for Drama in Chapter 5, as you keep backspacing the questions about yours and Emily's relationship, replacing them with banal questions about the weather and school.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Many of the Easter eggs do this. The wall gets shattered when Emily makes references to curent games, websites, and YouTube in 2002.You: "but it's 2002, twitch/youtube/lets plays doesn't exist yet."(game displays message below your text box) oh shit, youre right
- Love Triangle: Between you, Brad/Travis, and Emily. Possibly Emma, as well. In the end, Emily gets back together with Brad/Travis, and Emma hooks up with Mike.
- Musical Gag: Some of the icon Easter Eggs have Emily reference the band you chose.
- No Punctuation Is Funnier: Most of yours and Emily's dialogue has very little punctuation up until Chapter 4, when things get serious.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Played for Drama in Chapter 5. Eventually, you WILL run out of things to talk about, so you will end up saying goodbye to Emily. The only exception to this is if you were uncooperative when Emily wanted to talk in Chapter 4, in which case she'll do this to you instead.
- Take That!: emerly35: "get hyped for the third one! at least Square Enix can count to three :P"
- Verbal Backspace: Justified, since you will occasionally make typos that will be automatically backspaced as you type. You'll do the same with your true feelings towards Emily.
- Video Game Caring Potential: You can be a supportive friend to Emily...
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: ...or you can be a complete jerk to her instead.
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If you decide to be a complete asshole to Emily, then she leaves the chat room at the end of Chapter 5 instead of you.
- Wham Line:
emerly35: well, why didn't you kiss me?"
- Chapter 3 can deliver the first major one, when Emily reminisces about Travis's party if the player character attended.
emerly35: player please be honest with me.emerly35: did you plan that we would hook up?"
- Chapter 4 can deliver a second one, a year after Emily may have visited you at your college.
you: you wanted to hook up
- A possible minor one from the same chapter if Emily had visited, before you delete it:
- Wham Shot: You, the player, get one when the more personal questions you want to ask Emily in Chapter 5 get replaced with dull questions as you're typing. Eventually, your dialogue options will be reduced to saying goodbye to Emily before logging off.