Although we have had a bit of a love-hate relationship with French adventure gaming, I am sincerely of the opinion that a history of its early days would be an interesting field of study. Careful readers of our Missed Classics might have seen that I’ve done my share in trying to make this otherwise rather forgotten era more accessible. I have especially followed the career of Muriel Tramis, interesting not just as one of the first female game designers, but also as probably the first game designer hailing from Martinique.
This remarkable person worked for Tomahawk, subsidiary of Coktel Vision, which later became a part of the enlarging empire of Sierra. In what might be taken as an ironic result, the takeover of a French gaming company was followed by a takeover by a French media company Vivendi. After few years in this media corporation, Muriel Tramis left Vivendi and founded her own company Avantilles in 2003. I’ve been trying to track her down, in order to conduct an interview with her, but for quite a long time, the trail was cold.
Until the beginning of April.
I was quite enthusiastic to find in my Messenger a note from Mme Tramis. I am pleased to announce that she has agreed to do a community interview with us! Since all the interviews of her I've found thus far have been made in French, this will be something of a breakthrough in the historiography of adventure gaming.
Mewilo (Author): An extraordinary game set in historical Martinique after slave revolts, with an interesting mystery story combined with cultural and historical information, full of considerations of racial politics. As a game it’s a bit simple, but as a visual novel it would be outstanding.
|The game is probably not well known, because there seems to be no English version|
Freedom (Scenario and Production): A sort of prequel to Mewilo, telling the story of the slave revolts. Resembles Dune in being more of a strategy game, with the adventure game elements restricted to interactions with set-piece characters. An interesting concept, but the gameplay could definitely be better.
|Definitely a lesson in history|
Asterix: Operation Getafix (Conception): A short and simple adaptation of an animated movie adapted from two comic books. It is probably meant for children, because it is quite easy to complete.
|These Romans are crazy!|
Emmanuelle (Scenario, Texts and Production): Although others might disagree with me, I've always found Emmanuelle in all its incarnations to be just disappointingly ordinary soft core, disguised by some ridiculous New Age habberdash. It is no wonder that the game is also nothing more than that. Furthermore, the PC version Trickster reviewed was almost unplayable due to technical difficulties.
|Can you take seriously a game prescribing laws of eroticism?|
Legend of Djel (Design): A game with an interesting fantasy setting and true sense of magic. Unfortunately, it is also a game where the minigames are much more intriguing and challenging than the actual adventure game elements.
|Then again, I wouldn't mind playing another round of the dragon fight|
Geisha (Author): A collection of minigames, some fun, some not that fun, with a B-movie plot as a connecting theme. Adventure game elements are few and far between, and when they do appear, they feel a bit underdeveloped. The game was sold as erotic, but unfortunately, it didn't arouse me.
Bargon Attack (Product Manager): It's a bit unclear whether Mme Tramis was involved in making this game in any other way, but in helping to publish it. Based on Alfred's playthrough, it appears to be rather peculiar game with unclear logic.
This won't be the end of Muriel Tramis on the blog. Already during 1992, we'll be seeing the following games with some involvement from her:
- Fascination (Conception)
- Gobliiins (Conception)
- Inca (Project Manager)
After 1992, Muriel Tramis might be featured with the following games:
- Gobliins 2 (1993; Project Manager)
- Lost in Time (1993; Creation and Project Manager)
- Goblins Quest 3 (1994; Project Manager)
- The Bizarre Adventures of Woodruff and the Schnibble (1995; Project Leader, Dialogue and Story)
- Urban Runner (1996; Game Play)