Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Played Lately: Digital: A Love Story

  • Although it came out a year ago, I didn't hear about Digital: A Love Story until it started cropping up on various year end Top Ten lists. I had no idea what it was about so I download and installed it. Then I forgot about it for a while.

  • Last night, I sat staring at my computer in that malaise where none of the games seem worth the effort for a double click. Then I noticed Digital sitting among that field and decided to give it a try. I am very glad I did.

  • Set in the long past (in computer terms) of 1988, you play as owner of a new computer learning to navigate the BBS scene. The game plays out in a faux Amiga desktop. You have a dialer program with which to call the one BBS number you know. Slowly you get to know the people on the board, gather more information, and investigate more systems. Slowly a mystery unfolds that you must use your growing hacker abilities to resolve.

  • I wasn't online in 1988. I was just a freshman in high school and I was only vaguely aware of the growing online world. But I heard about BBS's and the communities that grew up around them. Digital brings that world to life again. It may not be note perfect, but it feels remarkably like the hacking your way through the computers of yore. If you have any nostalgia for the time, this game will make you remember the old days of computing.

  • By the time I was reached the end of the game, I had spent the last several minutes standing in front of my desk, unable to sit down while the scenario resolved. I hunched over my keyboard as I typed in phone number, cursed when a stolen phone code would be pulled, paced while my modem connected to the next BBS. I haven't been that tense playing a game for a while. It pulled me into its world and I felt all of the anxiety that story was expecting. If you have a couple hours, give it a try. For both the story and the evocation of the era, it is worth the time.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. That actually sounds fantastic. I used a modem maybe once or twice in the late 80s. I remember connecting to some random BBS and spending an hour downloading a 100K file or something ridiculous like that. I also remember having to type very specific commands to the modem to get it to dial, or download or upload anything. It was like normal DOS commands but clunkier.

    I'll definitely check that out. This list has a heck of a lot of games I've been meaning to try, but somehow my MMO addiction never seems to abate long enough for me to get around to it:

  2. @ Yeebo - Thanks for the link. Plenty of good stuff in there.