post header image from game

3 Quirky, Nostalgic Social Media Simulator Indie Games

Brenda Zhang

October 7 2020

4 minute read

Does getting off social media to get on other social media sound like a bad idea? Hear me out—why would you waste time browsing social media when you could explore a completely new world with the most interesting characters in the social media interfaces of games instead? You can get your fix, dive into a different universe, and not ruin your self-esteem at the same time!

In this modern age of information, many games have references to technology and social media. With these types of heavily text-based and narrative driven games, it’s not easy to get the art direction, narrative, and emotional poignancy just right. However, I think these three hit the spot—they have unique art, a distinctly non-generic twist on social media usage, and employ the framework of technology to tell their story well.

Emily Is Away One, Too, and <3

Emily is Away <3 is a brand new story set on an old-new social media. Customize your fn profile, send some friend requests, and choose your way through this branching narrative.

3-in-1! The Emily Is Away series is a classic. In Emily Is Away and Emily Is Away Too, you take a trip down memory lane and into the 90s where you were still using DSL, and instant messaging programs like AIM and MSN were popular. I can guarantee these games will tug on your heartstrings with their narrative of friendship during the onset of the digital age and nostalgic interface. If you’re still not convinced, you can read our full review of the first game for a more in-depth look.

Still unreleased, Emily Is Away <3 which will be the most elaborate thus far with a Facebook-like interface. You can even add your name to the list of usernames that could appear in the game with this form. There is no set release date but the Steam page does say “soonish,” which is promising!

The Pizza Situation

The Pizza Situation is an over-the-top simulation of social networks where the surreal narrative is complemented by the main game mechanics: stalking, scrolling, investigating and manipulating through social media.

Have you ever Facebook-stalked someone? And then also found them on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter? If you answered no, you’re probably one in a million in this age of high-speed internet and easily accessible information. If you answered yes, then you’ll know exactly how to play The Pizza Situation, a hyperbole of the way we live through social media today with a trailer that gives me some intense Devilman: Crybaby-but-make-it-pizza kind of vibes.

You’ll easily understand how to navigate the social media interfaces that combine the feel of Facebook with The Pizza Situation universe’s own artistic twist. Unlike many other social media-based games, there are 10 apps to manage here, not just one—pretty realistic considering how many social media apps most have on their phone these days. On these apps, you’ll follow, post, message, deduce, and blackmail, all to prevent others from eating your pizza at a university party. For the sake of pizza, relationships will be at stake, and it’ll be up to you to decide which ones you’ll keep and which ones you’ll break.

Though this one is not out yet, you should follow them on all their real social media.

Hypnospace Outlaw

Greetings Enforcer, and thank you for enlisting in the Hypnospace Patrol Department! As the world falls into its slumber, Hypnospace becomes a bustling global village. These virtual streets aren’t going to police themselves!

The quirkiest of all these games is Hypnospace Outlaw, where you can go back in time to Web 1.0 from an alternate timeline of the 90s. Here, you can reminisce in the nostalgia of neon gradient web pages and browse the most random topics on the internet. As part of the Hypnospace Patrol Department, which is basically the virtual police of this alternate reality universe, you police the web, respond to messages and emails, and make decisions on which parts of the internet to bust.

Though this game has already been out on PC for a while, it has only just come to consoles on August 27th! Along with that, a content update called Hypnospace PLUS came out, for free, at the same time.

Get Off of Social Media… and Onto Fake Social Media

It’s time to get off social media and dive into these games! However, being the hypocrite I am, I will also say that before you jump off of your phones, make sure to follow these games and their developers on social media! As some of the ones mentioned are not out yet, so you can stay updated on their status by following them on their Twitters, joining their Discords, and wishlisting the game on Steam.

visual novel

simulation

mystery

puzzle

our picks

story

Kyle Seeley

3bytes

Tendershoot

Michael Lasch

ThatWhichIs Media

Ratalaika Games

No More Robots

social media

technology

Emily is Away

The Pizza Situation

Hypnospace Outlaw