Digital: A Love Story is great for beginners at Interactive Fiction because it follows a literature style more than an adventure story line. The story is played through a series of email correspondences. It starts out with you receiving your very first email account. The interactive fiction elicits your emotions and personage by asking you twice to give your real name. Through the revealing of oneself the email account becomes your own. Although it is evident early in the game (by the swapping of love poems) that you are supposed to build a relationship with Emilia there are other features of the game you have to explore in order to receive emails from Emilia. I found myself reluctantly exploring the possibilities of “young” internet. The communities are small and personal. Your friends help you navigate through the web because you are a “noob”. The more information I received about the founding of the internet and its initial purpose the more intrigued I became. The game displays several opinions, some radical some experimental about the possible future of the internet. I enjoyed the contemplative and openly defiant remarks of my friends. All the while I was a little afraid that my borderline anarchist friends might get me in trouble with the government.
In some parts of the game I was afraid I would get caught by the government because of the messages I was receiving. I was also afraid I would get a virus on my computer. At the same time I wanted badly to foster an intimate relationship with Emilia but like real relationships it takes time. At one point I did get a virus and had to reboot my computer. It was disconcerting having to follow all the same steps. What was most upsetting was Emilia and I’s relationship was erased.
She had no recollection of our past relationship. I had to rebuild the level of comfortably I had gained with Emilia. I think this took away from the realness of the game that I felt initially because in reality even if the emails were gone Emilia would still remember me. Nonetheless, this game is a great modern day love story. It helps to set the viewing screen as “Full Screen”. This creates the allusion that your computer is from the early 90’s. The suspense waiting for emails from Emilia simulates how I have felt and I imagine how many people felt when dealing with a virtual world. As the game proceeded I realized it was not so much a romantic love story as much as it was a story about fostering community and protecting “people” and values. Emilia taught me both of these lessons through her sacrifice. This story left me feeling a lot of conflicting emotions because I initially thought I was in a “queer” relationship because both the protagonist and Emilia are suppose to be female. Then, I discovered I was in a totally different type of “queer” relationship. Prior to this game I would never have considered this type of relationship under the queer umbrella but this interactive fiction prompts you to reconsider ones relationships with technology and our interactions with relationships through technology. This is a genuine digital love story.
Spoiler Alert on the last picture.