Thursday 6 April 2017

Call for Questions for Muriel Tramis

Written by Ilmari

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.

Her official LinkedIn -picture
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.

Since I am sure some of you are skipping the Missed Classics, let me just briefly go through all of the Muriel Tramis’s games played thus far on TAG:

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.

At least I got to drive around with a metallic phallus

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.

He did get to see famous sights of Paris

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)
Do you have a question for Muriel Tramis? Write it in the comments below. Too shy? Mail them to the administrator email on the left column of the blog. After about a week, we will be collating the questions, sorting them, removing all your swear words, pruning the list down to a reasonable number if necessary, and sending them off to be answered.


  1. I myself have been considering some questions:

    On personal life

    * How did she end up in gaming industry? Was it something planned or more of a chance?
    * Was it difficult to work in the gaming industry as a female? Similarly, did her ethnicity cause any difficulties?

    The state of French adventure gaming in general and Coktel Vision in particular
    * We have almost zero knowledge of the beginnings of French adventure gaming. What French or international games influenced her? Did she have any particular role models to follow?
    * All of the Coktel Vision adventure games seem to have been developed by a company called Tomahawk. What was the real relation between these two entities?
    * What were the reasons leading to the takeover of Coktel Vision by Sierra? Did the working conditions change after that?

    Mewilo and Freedom
    * These games were made in collaboration with writer Patrick Chamoiseau. What was his actual involvement in the creation of the games?
    * Were there any hopes of changing the world with these games? Did they have any sort of message?
    * Were there any difficulties getting the management of Coktel Vision to publish such historically deep and thoughtful games?
    * Would she think these games would be topical nowadays?

    The erotic games
    * Was it her own idea to portray sexuality in her games? Did the idea face any objections or prejudices?
    * Considering that different people have quite different view on what to count as erotic, did she have any difficulties in deciding how to make an erotic game?

    * Favourite game she has made
    * Does she have any projects going on?

    Feel free to add more!

    1. Seeing as Ilmari's pretty much covered anything I'd have asked and more, my only input is almost a rephrasing of one of these questions.

      "Of all the games you've been involved in, which game are you most proud of, and why"

      This is likely to have the same answer as the 'favourite game' question, and won't be worth asking both.

  2. I'd love to hear her comments on the state of the game industry today, both in terms of what content is being made, and the industry itself.

  3. I'm quite a big fan of the goblins games, so I would be curious to know, how the main concept of the games came to be (having different characters with different abilities).

    The same question could be asked about the zany and quite unique humour of the games. Whose idea was that?

  4. Ok, we're all thinking this one (no? Just me?), so I'll go ahead and ask it: What's the secret to defeating the final dog in Freedom? Is that game in fact winnable?