I think the writing and dialogue in this game (despite any reservations you mentioned in the afterword) is amazing. I will never not get chills from the following lines:
"What matters is the things we find to be important, and what sacrifices we are prepared to make for those things. That is what defines us. Choosing these things allows us to decide who we are, beyond the definitions of self that are forced upon us by others."
What this game may be lacking in colors/visuals, it more than makes up for in depth of story. SGDS's growth is beautifully done, I think you nailed it. Also I kind of spoiled a huge chunk of the game by bothering to translate all the binary code in that one data file haha oh well.