Emily Is Away is an indie visual novel by game developer Kyle Seeley, released for free in November 2015. The game’s story is linear, with the player unable to significantly change the course of the plot throughout the game. Set in the senior year of high school, 2002, Emily Is Away tells the story of the protagonist’s relationship with a girl, Emily, and their relationship over the course of five years, ending in senior year of college. The game is presented through a chat client on Windows XP styled after ICQ and AOL Instant Messenger, specifically their builds in the early 2000s, complete with other users’ profiles and interface. The choices for profile pictures are generally collected from the culture of the early 2000s, including pop punk bands and Harry Potter.
Main the protagonists’ senior year of high school in 2002, an unnamed protagonist sets up a chat client to talk with “emerly35” or Emily. They talk to each other and discuss about high school and a fellow student, Brad, who keeps sending Emily messages. They also talk about a party that a classmate Travis is throwing that evening. Then they say goodbye as Emily logs off.
Depending on your choices: If you choose to not go to the party during senior year of high school in 2002, Emily will get together with Travis instead of Brad.
In the freshmen year of college in 2003, the character talks to Emily again, who has gotten together with Brad or Travis. The character congratulates her, as he shifts to other questions, such as part of his classes. They finally say goodbye again, as Emily yet again logs off.
In the sophomore year of college in 2004, the character learns that Emily has broken up with Brad/Travis due to a complicated relationship, and the character consoles her. Emily then asks if she can come over, much to the complication of the character’s new friend, Emma, hanging out. She then asks why the character didn’t kiss her or didn’t come to the party, to a varied response. They both decide for her to come over, to a change of plans, as Emily signs off.
In the junior year of college in 2005, the character gets tied up in a mixed relationship with Emily, and then, to her surprise, that the character has a new friend, Mike. If you choose to not let Emily visit she will ask you about it in this chapter. Things don’t turn out so well thereafter, and the character undergoes stress, as Emily says that she feels uncomfortable. The two decide to put this behind, as Emily has to leave again, and she signs off.
In the senior and final year of college in 2006, Emily and the character have been seen as growing apart. Things get worse when Emma dates Mike, and Emily starts dating Brad/Travis again, due to a changed character, and finally, when Emily decides to stay with Brad/Travis during the summer. The relationship continues to diminish itself when the character revises the sentences, completely accepting the fact that Emily and the character are no more. The character says goodbye one last time as, this time, the character is away as the computer shuts down.