Eric Viennot, creator of the video games “The Adventures of Uncle Ernest” and “In Memoriam”, is dead

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

Born on March 10, 1960, in Lyon, Eric Viennot is one of the most recognized French video game creators in the profession. Thus he is the author of a protean work, educational games for children as well as less personal products for the general public, but also experimental titles whose originality is often admired. Until the sale “more than 8 million” copies according to its website and will be made, in 2007, Knight of Arts and Letters.

Initially a teacher of visual arts at the Sorbonne, in 1990 he founded the Lexis Numérique studio, first specializing in computer-generated images, then in the development of video games. Between 1998 and 2004, he produced the series The Travels of Uncle Ernest. In these games influenced by Robert Louis Stevenson and Jules Verne, young players are offered the opportunity to walk through virtual logbooks, written and illustrated by a faceless uncle, who imagines himself alive adventures in the four corners of the world.- and even into space .

The obsession with “transmedia” video games

From the publication of the first episode in 1998, The world bragged a “an adventure that mixes action and meditation” on “wonderful universe”, “between the past and the future”where you have to finish the unfinished photo album “using insects, as well as various tools and objects, such as a camera or a metal detector”. Intended for a younger audience, The Travels of Uncle Ernest already enjoying the mix of video games, notebooks and small movies, punctuating the adventure.

This obsession with what he calls video games “transmedia”Eric Viennot would turn it into the engine of what is perhaps his most famous work, the series In Memoriamthe first episode released in 2003. This time, he tells an adult adventure, in a thriller style, by seeking to blur the border between media, but also between fiction and reality.

In fact, the protagonists of this investigation were told in the video do not hesitate to contact the player by e-mail and SMS, even leaving him messages (pre-recorded) on the answering machine of his mobile phone. Some clues are also hidden on fake websites set up for the occasion, and even on the site of releasewhich, as a partner of the event, posted four “fake” articles that took place in the fiction of the game for the occasion.

The search for “total fiction”

In 2012, Eric Viennot and the Lexis Numérique studio will push the promise ofIn Memoriam with his spiritual successor, Alt thoughts. Players no longer have to leave the game to look for clues on the Internet (or, in this case, on the site of world, together with this new title): they have to work together to get them outside, in real life, by going, for example, to the locker room of a train station in Belgrade, or even by physically meeting in some characters. The adventure, moreover, takes place in real time, over a period of eight weeks: every night, the players are invited to discuss together to evaluate their research and their conclusions.

As time dictates The worldthe goal then is “trying to unite video games, Internet networks, mobile telephony and cinema to finally reach the Holy Grail [d’Eric Viennot]what he called “total fiction”.

Also read: “Alt-Mind” on the boundaries of reality

When the judicial liquidation of Lexis Numérique was announced in 2017, Eric Viennot never stopped working on the question of transmedia narration. In January 2021, he thus undertook to publish, in the form of a newsletter, a serialized investigation.

At the rate of two episodes per week, Eric Viennot tells how he tries “to distinguish between fact and fiction” after reading a short story, presented as fact, in the book The Atlas of Abandoned Islands (published by Arthaud in 2010). The author, German Judith Schalansky, tells the story of Marc Liblin, a Frenchman who dreamed since his early childhood of “a language he did not know at all”and who discovered in 33 that it was an old Polynesian idiom.

Stopped in July 2021, the newsletter will experience a second season in 2022, which will not see the light of day. In June 2022, Eric Viennot explained on Twitter that the “last touch” in a book dedicated to the subject, which evokes the passing of the upcoming film.

Eric Viennot on some dates

March 10, 1960 Born in Lyon

1990 Co-founded Lexis Numérique studio

1998-2004 realizing The Speeches of Uncle Ernest, series of five puzzle adventure video games

2003 First episode of the series In memoriam

2007 Knight of Arts and Letters

July 27, 2022 Death at Marseilles

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