I’ll admit that the BBS is a little top of mind, with its recent 32nd anniversary and TVO’s fantastic interview with Jason Scott who is working full time to preserve the digital legacy of such systems. It’s not surprising that Cory’s post on BoingBoing about a game set in the heyday of the BBS piqued my curiosity.
“Digital: A Love Story” is set five minutes into the future of 1988, as its site explains. There is very little other information about the game I could find on the site itself other than download links for Windows, Mac and Linux. The game is also released under a CC-NY-NC-SA license, a thoughtful touch.
A few minutes of game play was very enjoyable and revealed the game plays sort of like interactive fiction. The choices and actions are constrained but so far, the game seems more story driven so this isn’t too much of a handicap. The very faithful Amiga like interface is well done, to the point where the game needs very little instruction other than what is embedded into the narrative. In some ways it reminds me of Uplink though I don’t expect it to have the grinding/leveling element.
Doing some digging, this game is an example of Renai, a category of games that includes dating simulations but can be considered to include any game with a strong romantic element. Digital was written by Christine Love who is a prolific writer of both interactive and non-interactive fiction in this romantic vein. She seems to have developed Digital for NaNoRenO, an annual contest model after NaNoWriMo but for Renai rather than novels.
I look forward to seeing where the story goes from the initial messages waiting when you dial into the first BBS revealed in the game.