Eric Viennot, creator of the video games “The Adventures of Uncle Ernest” and “In Memoriam,” 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 then forwarded on Linkedin on Friday. He was 62 years old.

Born on March 10, 1960 in Lyon, Eric Viennot was one of the most recognized French video game creators in the profession. He was thus the author of a protean work, educational games for children as well as less personal products for the very general public, but also very experimental titles whose originality has been regularly praised. To the point of selling “more than 8 million” copies according to its website and must be made in 2007, Knight of Arts and Letters.

Originally a visual arts teacher at the Sorbonne, in 1990 he co-founded the Lexis Numérique studio, first specializing in computer-generated imagery, then in video game development. Between 1998 and 2004 he produced the series Adventures of Uncle Ernest. In these games influenced by Robert Louis Stevenson and Jules Verne, young players were offered the opportunity to flip through virtual logbooks, written and illustrated by a facetious uncle who imagines living adventures in the four corners of the world – and even into space. .

The obsession with “transmedia” video games

From the release of the first episode in 1998, The world can boast of one “an adventure that mixes action and reflection” on “fantastic universe”, “halfway between past and future”where you have to complete an unfinished photo album “using insects, as well as various tools and objects, such as the camera or the metal detector”. Intended for a young audience, Adventures of Uncle Ernest is already having fun mixing video games, notebooks, and little movies that punctuate the adventure.

This obsession with what he called video games “transmedia”will Eric Viennot make it the engine of what is perhaps his most famous work, the series In memory ofthe first episode of which was published in 2003. This time he tells about a very grown-up adventure, in thriller style, by taking it upon himself to blur the line between media, but also between fiction and reality.

In fact, the protagonists of this study told in video do not hesitate to contact the player by e-mail and SMS, even to leave him messages (pre-recorded) on the answering machine of his mobile phone. Other clues are also hidden on fake websites created for the occasion and even on the website of Releasewho, as a partner of the event, posted four “fake” articles taking place in the game’s fiction for the occasion.

The pursuit of “total fiction”

In 2012, Eric Viennot and the Lexis Numérique studio will push the promiseIn memory of with his spiritual successor, All mind. Players no longer have to just leave the game to search for clues on the Internet (or this time on World, partner of this new title): they have to work together to get them outside, in real life, by, for example, going to the dressing room at a train station in Belgrade, or even by physically meeting certain characters. The adventure also takes place in real time over a period of eight weeks: every evening the players are thus invited to discuss together to take stock of their research and their conclusions.

As pointed out at the time The worldThe goal is then to “attempt the convergence of video games, internet networks, mobile telephony and cinema to finally reach the holy grail [d’Eric Viennot]what he calls “total fiction”.

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

If the legal liquidation of Lexis Numérique was pronounced in 2017, Eric Viennot has never stopped working on the issue of transmedia narrative. In January 2021, he thus undertook to publish a serial survey in the form of a newsletter.

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

The newsletter was put on hiatus in July 2021 and was supposed to experience a second season in 2022, which will not see the light of day. In June 2022, however, Eric Viennot explained on Twitter to bring “last hand” to a book dedicated to the subject that in passing evokes a future film.

Eric Viennot about a few dates

March 10, 1960 Birth in Lyon

1990 Helped to found the Lexis Numérique studio

1998-2004 Realized Adventures of Uncle Ernest, series of five puzzle adventure video games

2003 First episode of the series In memory of

2007 Knight of Arts and Letters

27 July 2022 Death in Marseilles

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