If it's crap ... We'll tell you
After searching the net today for some free games to play, I stumbled upon a freeware game called Digital: A Love Story, created and developed by Christine Love. The game falls under the category of Visual Novel.
Set in the1980's, the game is about a silent protagonist who gets his first computer, (early on you name your character, to later create a more immersive feel when you're messaging others in the game) you're also introduced to the world of message boards also known as BBS (bulletin board system) a place where users download and offer software and data, read news and bulletins, and exchange messages with other users either through email or in public message boards. The protagonist starts messaging a girl that posts poems named Emilia, one thing leads to another, they develop a relationship. Then the next thing you know, the message board where they exchanged messages shuts down, later something happens (where I won't spoil) you're character starts digging into the mystery revolving Emilia.
The gameplay in a nut shell, revolves around visiting different message boards along with messaging different users in those message boards, while doing that you learn ways to hack and enter different message boards. It uses messages boards and content people post to explain the world and culture of the technology that you're using (messaging people back and forth is also used as a means to drive the narrative forward). The general interface of the game is laid out like an old Amiga operating system, really giving you the feeling that you're actually using a desktop computer from the 1980's by being able to dial different numbers to enter different message boards and definitely provides you the nostalgia with sound effects of a modem dialing, ah the good ol' AOL days.
The only problems I have with the game, they're slightly minor, after progressing through the game you'll reach certain points where you aren't sure what to do next. My advice when playing this game is to always reply to messages and also send messages to everyone in each message board. Other than that, you learn as you go along and from messages you receive from users. Once you play a couple of minutes of the game you get a sense of what you must do in order to progress and further unravel the mystery that awaits you. On a side note: I highly recommend you play this game on fullscreen.
There is also, I believe 8-bit or as others may call chip-tune music playing on your desktop throughout the game as you play, (I find it a very nice add-on) so there's not just complete silence as you play and the music does a great job at mixing well within whatever situation is going on; something bad happens, music changes to match the tone.
If you're interested in checking out a PC game that is free and does something different to provide you a immensely interesting story, I highly recommend you download Digital: A Love Story. You'll thank me later; it's free!
Digital: A Love Story is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac.