Are computer games tombstones for civilisation’s moral codes? Or is there a middle-ground between art and entertainment? Yup, there is, and Tale of Tales just proved it once again.
Computer games are about killing things or collecting things, sometimes both at the same time. They also are a threat to adolescent minds, at least if you read too many press releases by politicians that studied too many Jack Chick cartoons. But then, there’s people that enjoy pushing the envelope without rocket launchers, Zombie hordes, or brainless Farmville grinding.
Bientôt l’été is the latest offering by Belgium-based studio Tale of Tales which I’ve mentioned quite often in this blog. Yes, The Path left a lasting impression. Sue me. But as much as I enjoy brainless hack-n-slays I love something that makes me go WTF? Something that makes me question whether we computer geeks truly understand what mighty tools information technology and the Wobble are, apart from ordering crap online, or tweeting about one’s lunch. Or killing Zombie hordes, but I digress.
Online, yes. Where Bientôt… really shines is in the encounters with random human beings who happen to play the “game” at the same time. It’s like a chat-room with predetermined phrases (and cigarettes). And as your counterpart is as much in the dark as you are, and has only collected a couple of phrases during the “game”, this makes for a both surrealist and suggestive conversation. And the outcome will determine whether and how you “progress”, and I’m not necessarily talking about a flock of dead seagulls.
Is there interactive art aside from weird installations in museums? Yup, there is, and as The Path suggested, Tale of Tales know what they’re doing. So if you like your gaming’s bees’ knees tickle your brains – and emotions – Bientôt l’été is where it’s at. And who knows? Perhaps there are Zombies in it somewhere, too. And if yes, you can be sure you won’t just stumble over them. You’ll experience it. I don’t think there will be any Zombies, but if there were you’d sure as hell think about what sad creatures they are and how to deal with zombification in your too humane life, or whether you’re supposed to be the Zombie, and what the fuck relationships have to do with it. Or something.