Windows XP

[Review] Emily is Away (PC)

Free game on Steam!

Anyone remember my review of Her Story; the crime-solving game that used a Windows 98 interface?

Emily is Away is a short, interesting, interactive visual novel game that propels you back to the Windows XP days when chat rooms were all the rage. The game tells the tale of your evolving friendship with your friend Emily over a four year span, 2002 to 2006, from Seniors in high school, to Seniors at College. The complexity of your friendship is what is the focus here, and how time and tide, maturity, and maybe a night of alcohol changes things forever…I think anyone can identify with the emotions at stake here.

The coolest thing about this game is the instant messages between you and Emily are presented through a chat client similar to AOL. Upon startup, the interface plays the old XP piano tune, and you get to choose your name, screen name and avatar. It’s a simple set up, but very effective. As Emily types in questions, you are given a set of three canned responses to choose from, and your conversation with Emily is steered according to the responses you choose. The story is linear, and the conversation is fluid.

Check it out! Emily is Away is FREE on Steam, and I highly recommend it. I look forward to the sequel, Emily is Away 2, and Emily is Away < 3 currently in development.


Emily is Away
Kyle Seeley

[Review] Syberia (PC)

After all the bad games I have played in the last two months, it feels so good to share a game that is truly awesome. And this was one of those games I paid $2.99 for at a Goodwill, so huzzah!! The game is Syberia, an adventure game I played on the PC.

I didn’t have too many expectations for this game – it was in a jewel case box, consisting of two CDs. The highest level it supported was Windows XP, so I suspected it wouldn’t even work in Win 7. And the year of its release was 2002 – an older game, so I wasn’t hoping for much. Put in the CD, load the game, then make a coaster out of it. Nothing could have prepared me for the shock I had playing this game.

Here are the thoughts that ran through my head while playing Syberia, just to peek your interest. How about:

1. Syberia puts the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes games to greater shame than I subjected them to in my review.

2. I consider Syberia even better than Broken Sword for story and appearance.

There you have it, my opinion. Good night, folks! …Just kidding….

In Syberia, you play Kate Walker, an American lawyer sent by her firm to finish up the purchase of a company in rural France that designs and fabricates automatons – wind-up type robots that run on cogs and springs. The owner of the company just passed away, but before her death, she had agreed to the purchase. Once Kate gets to France, however, she finds that business isn’t going to run as cleanly, as she discovers the woman has one heir that could throw a wrench in the works: a brother, Hans, who was believed to be dead, but who is actually living. Hans was essentially the genius behind the creation of these automatons, but took off to the distant unknown long ago. He is not expected to create any problems for the factory’s future, but Kate still has to locate him to get the legalities figured out. She then finds herself on a fantastic journey to locate Hans, where she learns more about Hans and his sister, their special relationship, and Hans’ genius.

If there was ever a game that could possibly introduce someone to Adventure point-and-click games, Syberia is THE GAME. I could recommend Broken Sword, of course, but I would go so far as to say that I enjoyed Syberia even more than Shadow of the Templars. The gameplay is linear, uncomplicated and interesting. The story is enjoyable and really holds your interest. Above all, Syberia looks like a million bucks! And for a game released in 2002, that says a lot. In fact, some scenes in Syberia remind me of Alan Wake, especially the forest scenes:

Syberia, 2002

Alan Wake, 2010

My copy of the game is old school – I had to load TWO CDs to play. But, you don’t need to subject your computer to it; you could buy digital copies from Steam or GOG, and I highly recommend it! I’ll be moving on to the sequels soon. Definitely don’t pass on Syberia!

Developer: Microids / Publisher: The Adventure Company
Released: 2002

Credit: Planete aventure /Mobygames / gameshut