Eric Viennot, creator of The Adventures of Uncle Ernest and In Memoriam video games has died

Eric Viennot died of cancer on Wednesday, July 27, in Marseille, his family said in a press release sent to his relatives and shared on Linkedin on Friday. He was 62 years old.

Born in Lyon on March 10, 1960, Eric Viennot was one of the most recognized French video game developers in his field. He was the author of a complex body of work, educational games for children and less personal products for the general public, but also very experimental titles whose originality is regularly praised. up to the sale “more than 8 million” Copies are made according to his website and in 2007 Knight of Arts and Letters.

First a lecturer in visual arts at the Sorbonne, he co-founded the studio Lexis Numérique in 1990, which specialized first in computer-generated images and then in the development of video games. He produced the series between 1998 and 2004 The Adventures of Uncle Ernest. In these games, influenced by Robert Louis Stevenson and Jules Verne, young players had the opportunity to browse through virtual logbooks, written and illustrated by a witty uncle who imagines adventures in all corners of the world – and even in outer space.

The obsession with “transmedia” video games

From the release of the first episode in 1998, The world boasts a “an adventure that combines action and reflection” at “amazing universe”, “Halfway between past and future”in which you have to complete an unfinished photo album “with insects and various tools and objects, such as the camera or the metal detector”. Intended for a young audience The Adventures of Uncle Ernest already have fun mixing video games, notebooks and small films that underline the adventure.

This obsession with what he called video games “transmedial”Eric Viennot will make it the engine of what is perhaps his most famous work, the series In remembrancewhose first episode was released in 2003. This time he narrates a very mature thriller-style adventure, attempting to blur the line between media, but also between fiction and reality.

Indeed, the protagonists of these investigations narrated in the video do not hesitate to contact the player via email and SMS, even leaving him (recorded) messages on the answering machine of his mobile phone. Other clues are also hidden on fake websites set up for the occasion and even on the website of publicationwhich, as a partner of the event, published four “fake” articles for the occasion, set in the fiction of the game.

The search for “total fiction”

In 2012 Eric Viennot and the studio Lexis Numérique will keep the promise ofIn remembrance with his spiritual successor, alternate thoughts. Players no longer simply have to leave the game to search the internet for clues (this time on the website of the World, partners of this new title): You have to work together to take them outside in real life, for example by going to the dressing room of a train station in Belgrade or even physically meeting certain characters. The adventure also takes place in real time over a period of eight weeks: every evening, players are invited to discuss together in order to take stock of their research and their conclusions.

As pointed out at the time The worldthe goal is then closed “try the convergence between video games, internet network, mobile telephony and cinema to finally reach the Holy Grail [d’Eric Viennot]what he calls “total fiction”.

Also read: “Alt-Minds” at the borders of reality

Even though the judicial liquidation of Lexis Numérique was pronounced in 2017, Eric Viennot never stopped dealing with the question of transmedial storytelling. In January 2021, he therefore undertook to publish an ongoing investigation in the form of a newsletter.

In two episodes a week, Eric Viennot tells how he tried “distinguish between fact and fiction” after reading a short story that is presented as true in the book The Atlas of the Deserted Islands (published by Arthaud in 2010). The author, the German Judith Schalansky, tells the story of Marc Liblin, a Frenchman who has been dreaming since his earliest childhood “a language that is completely unknown to him”and who, at the age of 33, discovers that it is an old Polynesian idiom.

Paused in July 2021, the 2022 newsletter should experience a second season, which will not see the light of day. However, in June 2022, Eric Viennot declared on Twitter to bring that “final touch” to a book dedicated to the subject, with a side note reminiscent of a future film.

Eric Viennot in A Few Dates

March 10, 1960 Born in Lyons

1990 Co-founder of the Lexis Numérique studio

1998-2004 recognized The Adventures of Uncle Ernst Series of five puzzle adventure video games

2003 First episode of the series In remembrance

2007 Knights of Arts and Literature

July 27, 2022 Death in Marseilles

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