Tag Archives: tale of tales

Bientôt L’Eté is the bee’s knees.

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.

The Path merits a re-posting.

I’m usually not one to reiterate stuff I’ve already published. But for fuck’s sake, Tale of Tales The Path is well worth it.

So, yeah. Read my original article again or, should you be new around here, for the very first time. Like Little Red Riding Hood skipping through the woods or something. But beware of The Wolf:

Holy grandmother of the carpenter. This game has balls. Big shaved ones. Shaved not because they belong to a metrosexual, but because them balls are so hairy they needed shaving.

I mean: WTF.

Great, great, great stuff. The epilogue is the perfect coda to the experience that is this game. If you have half a brain left, you’ll start to wonder about the game’s message, the human condition, major video game corporations amount of #fail, and why the hells you’ve paid $50 for another re-hash of some idiocy that was interesting five years ago. You know. Like Assassin’s Creed 2 or Super Smash Bowl 666 or whatever.

Yeah, yeah, I’ll stop now. Go get the game. Thanks, guv.

Subliminal message: Give the demo a try. And if you go “ya, interesting”, give them devs your money. It’s well invested.

Don’t walk off The Path, or I’ll wet my undies.

Some games make me angry, others don’t. Tale of Tales’ The Path resides, comfortably sheltered in a motherly embrace, in the second category. “Little Red Riding Hood” provokes fond memories, not the least as the name of my defunct cover band, but I digress. In this case, you’re in for a serious ride. Molestation included. As The Path says: “There’s only one rule. Stay on the path. The only way to win this game is by breaking said rule.” Or something. I can’t remember as I’m sitting in my shirt&ascot and tremble with fear.

This game has balls, even though the protagonists are all girls of various ages. Ages as in kids-growing-up, not a history lesson. Fine by me. All of ’em have to get to grandma’s house and all of them are bleeding idiots for straying from The Path. Probably because the player, i.e. yours truly, is supposed to make them do so. After all, you’ll only see the SUCCESS! badge – in childlike scrawling – onscreen if you’ve actually found The Wolf. You know. Man. The Male Principle expressing itself through its primary sexual organ. Ironic, isn’t it? Me, of a distinct male persuasion, leading girls to their doom because that’s the only way to progress in the game? And feeling like a major shit about it, too? That’s art, I tell you.

At least, that’s my personal interpretation of The Path. A game, I should mention, that has reaped prizes galore for being a “work of art,” so I might not be that far off. Even though I find it questionable that no boy victims characters are present. I smell the reek of simplified reality.

But bloody hells is it creepy.

I mean, you have these six girls, and you lead them through the forest. If you go straight through, guiding them savely to their grandmother’s bed, you’ll get a cut scene and a bloody huge FAILED! If you explore the woods, you’ll find golden stuff that adds up to 144. But to win each level, you’ll need to encounter perverted bastards The Wolf. You have to make them girls suffer! To make you suffer and think about all those people who actually experienced similar things in real-life.

Games as a means to public awareness? Certainly a game not meant for lightheaded entertainment.

At least not regarding the topic. The game is entertaining in a weird sort of way. You know. The same reason you watch Horror movies late at night and then complain about your having nightmares. Getting scared is fun. This game scares the bejeezus out of you, just to make you feel bad about it afterwards, too. At least if you’re a wolf man.

Not for the faint of heart. Or rather, not for the faint of imagination as The Path isn’t graphic, it isn’t violent. It’s, well, creepy, thought-provoking, and bloody scary. Figures it took a woman to pull this off. It’s only about a tenner and well worth the money, but for chrissakes, if you’ve been abused, do not download even the demo!

I just hope more people will pay them Indy Developers. Because, seriously – would you rather have disturbing games about childhood rape or the next Harry Potter fly-about? If the quality of indy games is on par with The Path, I know what I’d choose. It’s about bloody time games lost their childish aura. And Tale of Tales are right in the middle of it.

Serious stuff. For adults. With brains. And a heart. What more could you want?