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Digital: A Love Story
March 14, 2010 5:46 PM   Subscribe

Digital: A Love Story a mystery/romance downloadable game for windows/mac/linux by Christine Sarah Love set in the days of BBSes. Features a glorious retro-OS style interface. Mini review by indie dev Auntie Pixelante/Anna Anthropy (recently). Writeup at and via TIGSource.
posted by juv3nal (31 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is already reminding me of when I got my first modem (300 baud!) back in 1983. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Anyone have any MCI codes so I can dial long distance? thx.
posted by not_on_display at 6:11 PM on March 14, 2010


Anyone remember Activision's game "Hacker"? I wanted it to be kinda like this, but it cheated by going to an unrealistic graphical interface with robots and stuff. Part of the lure was that the packaging gave you no idea what the game was like. Those of us who paid for it found out why...

My enjoyment of the game was also hampered by the fact that I immediately guessed the answer to the first puzzle, which annoyed me. What is the location of the secret base? I typed "Australia" and got in without even knowing about the extended sequence that was supposed to introduce the game.

It was a solid concept! They just made it into a terrible game.

(Sorry, I guess that was kind of a derail, but my inner 12-year-old is still mad.)
posted by rikschell at 6:23 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyone have any MCI codes so I can dial long distance? thx.

I'd fire up my demon dialer program but, um, I don't have a modem any more :(.
posted by Slothrup at 6:24 PM on March 14, 2010


She was worried about traffic 22 minutes ago. Guess we will get to see if her server stays up.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:26 PM on March 14, 2010


hmm...it is under a CC license that says it is "free to share."
In the process of uploading the windows installer to mediafire now, may not get back to post a link until after dinner.
posted by juv3nal at 6:34 PM on March 14, 2010


Windows installer here.
posted by juv3nal at 6:46 PM on March 14, 2010


"Hack the Gibson"

Excellent.
posted by mecran01 at 6:56 PM on March 14, 2010


you had me at "BBS"..

I ran a board off of an Apple IIe , good times! Had to convince the wife to let me get a second phone line... NOBODY had 2 phone lines!

I've still got that IIe..maybe, just maybe....
posted by HuronBob at 7:12 PM on March 14, 2010


Boy-o, all the memories this game brings...totally overshadowing the game itself...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:30 PM on March 14, 2010


life was much more simple then.....

My best bbs story... back in the day, I used to log into a bbs that was hosted by the only computer store (pre compusa, pre best buy, pre apple store, pre anything) in the county.

i logged in one evening and was doing the usual message/game/whatever we used to do on it, and all of a sudden I was getting a live response. I knew the store was closed, but it was obvious that someone was in the building and typing responses to my activity...

being the good citizen that I was, I called the police...

It took me a half hour to explain to them how I knew someone was in a building that was 15 miles from where I lived. I had to explain modems, phone lines, bbs's, etc, etc...

They never understood, and finally just hung up on me...

I never found out who it was ......

moral of the story...never be the first adapter..
posted by HuronBob at 7:43 PM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is incredible. The attention to detail is tremendous.

Oh. God. FIDONET.

If you were BBS'ing in this era, you must play through this. This is the Heavy Rain of our generation.
posted by effugas at 8:51 PM on March 14, 2010


So, is the fact that the connection keeps dropping on me partway through the download an intentional touch of realism, or what?
posted by hattifattener at 9:02 PM on March 14, 2010


It looks so awesome, but... sigh. Anyone know what the minimum Mac OS requirements are? I still have 10.3.9 (yeah, yeah, I know), and no game for me.
posted by sineala at 9:18 PM on March 14, 2010


Is part of this game downloading commander keen and cosmo's cosmic adventure in 14 parts at 9600 baud, masturbating to a 256 color photograph of a pinup model, then playing some TW2002 and LOTR? Cause that's what my 13 yr old BBS experience was.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:34 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was going to go to bed four hours ago. I hate this game. I loved this game.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 10:09 PM on March 14, 2010


Hm, since it's CC-SA, I made a torrent for the mac version. It'll be awfully slow until someone else starts helping seed it, though (my uplink is slow). It's been a while since I messed with torrents so apologies if I screwed it up somehow.
posted by hattifattener at 10:26 PM on March 14, 2010


some rapidshare mirrors via neogaf:
Windows
Mac OS X
Linux

Also via neogaf, the bit-of-a-stunner revelation (no source, but no reason to doubt veracity either) that the author/developer was born in 1989?!

Also dug up a review by Lewis Denby (of Resolution Magazine)
posted by juv3nal at 11:39 PM on March 14, 2010


The game is set five minutes into the future of 1988.

The author was born in 1989.

mind->blown=1;
posted by effugas at 12:18 AM on March 15, 2010


NOBODY had 2 phone lines!

We had four. But it probably helped that I did a lot of the ads for the pirate distribution sites.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:15 AM on March 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


I finished this last week and loved it. I'll quote the fan-mail I sent right afterward, to which the author has sadly not replied:

"I had a modem and a 386 back in the day and just caught the tail-end of the BBS scene, but your game managed to evoke that old feeling of being hunched in front of a glowing monitor, wide-eyed, and that sense of wonder at connecting to a world much larger than I could imagine. (Loved the Gibson references too - his conception of cyberspace in Neuromancer holds a very special place in my imagination)"
posted by Monster_Zero at 8:35 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Loved the Gibson references too - his conception of cyberspace in Neuromancer holds a very special place in my imagination)

Just to be clear: The Gibson thing is a reference to William Gibson, sure, but it is an indirect one via a famously terrible movie.
posted by sparkletone at 9:10 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


sparkletone: Just to be clear: The Gibson thing is a reference to William Gibson, sure, but it is an indirect one via a famously terrible movie.

It's not technically accurate (as an understatement), but it drew some people I know to computers, so I have some affection for it.

I liked Tron & William Gibson, which also aren't the most concerned with realism or accuracy.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:27 AM on March 15, 2010


Oh, don't get me wrong. I love the hell out of Hackers. It's a very silly, entertaining kind of bad. It just seemed like what you wrote might be confusing references to "The Gibson" as something more... direct than the reference really is.

It also occurs to me that as I haven't played the game yet, it's entirely possible there are other more direct William Gibson references in the game, and you could just as easily have been referring to those. In which case, I apologize for my misguided, unnecessary pedantry!
posted by sparkletone at 9:39 AM on March 15, 2010


"what you wrote" and "you could just as easily" obviously refer to Monster_Zero.

(I need more tea, and apparently to linger longer on the preview screen when posting.)
posted by sparkletone at 9:42 AM on March 15, 2010


Ooh! Amiga Workbench! I had to play it for that alone. (All right-thinking people understand the close button goes on the left, I had to "fix" this in my later windowing environments. No I am not responsible for Ubuntu 10.04.)

It made me feel rather old to realise someone made a historical reenactment game about a world I remember from before she was born. I never expected that. Tell me grandpa, what did you do in the BBS wars?

While I'm in Grandpa Simpson mode, I was irritated by the C64 style boot screen prefacing an Amiga UI. Honestly, the state of kids' knowledge today. There are several technical boo-boos in the plot itself but it feels more like I've got to excuse those as plot technobabble rather than background setting.

It's an involving story despite not being much of a game in itself. TIGSource summarised it well as an "interactive story". Less charitably, Father_Brain on the neogaf thread juv3nal dug up said: The "gameplay," by any objective standard, is atrocious and incredibly tedious (redial every previous BBS you've been to find the email that will advance the story, repeat). Yet the story and the way it's delivered make me keep on playing. I have to admit that this is pretty impressive.
I guess that's also fair.
posted by Slogby at 12:50 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Sparkletone: it does directly reference William Gibson. You get to hack into a Gibson fan BBS. I didn't notice that was a Hackers reference ("HACK THE GIBSON!") until you pointed that out. I didn't spot any other Hackers references but I may not have been looking carefully enough.
posted by Slogby at 1:00 PM on March 15, 2010


This game made me nostalgic for a time that wasn't my own.

Curiously, while playing it I thought "Hey, this plays like one of those Japanese visual novel/date sims games" and it turns out that she used Ren'Py to make it.
posted by Memo at 1:56 PM on March 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


it's entirely possible there are other more direct William Gibson references in the game

Just possibly. The sysop of the Gibson BBS is "The Finn", and another is run by "Wintermoot".

I'm enjoying this quite a bit, though I wonder if it'd have the same appeal to someone who doesn't have that conditioned little shiver of anticipation every time they hear the modem connect sound.

I'm stuck trying to figure out how to get into ARPANET to contact *Paris, and resisting the temptation to google for a walkthrough.
posted by ook at 6:43 PM on March 15, 2010


I'm stuck trying to figure out how to get into ARPANET to contact *Paris, and resisting the temptation to google for a walkthrough.

No spoiler, but a general hint: that criticism that slogby quoted from neogaf is right. In my playthrough the only times I got stuck were because there was someone I'd missed sending a message to or a message board I'd forgotten to check etc.
posted by juv3nal at 9:21 PM on March 15, 2010


My dad ran a bbs on a 286 in Groton called the outhouse.

After school if nobody was logged in, I would play tradewars and red dragon. I remember seeing somebody type "sex panties wet moist sex panties" over and over to the eliza chatbot. It baffled me. I figured it was somehow related to bedding Violet and why the bar cheered after you did so.
posted by beardlace at 11:36 PM on March 15, 2010


Oh yeah, totally knew that The Gibson was from Hackers (so great and so terrible. the one thing they nailed was the soundtrack) but there were also the other ones as people pointed out. Also, I thought that some of the board chatter is talking about Gibson's work? Maybe I am wrong. Anyway, the author did finally get back to me and was gracious but to my surprise "can't stand" Neuromancer. Didn't see that coming.
posted by Monster_Zero at 11:45 AM on March 16, 2010


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