History of Interactive Fiction in French
Commercial era (1980s/early 1990s)
1980s and very early 1990s
- Many IF games in French, both commercial and freeware, were released, although most of them had graphics but rather primitive parsers. (Note that the modern French IF community has little or nothing to do with the French IF of the commercial era: present French-speaking IF authors are influenced by modern English IF games.) See also: French Games: First era.
Late 1991 (probably)
- The last commercial French (parser-based) IF game.
- The last freeware French IF game of that era.
Nothing? (c. 1994 -- 1999)
- As far as I know, there was absolutely no French IF activity at all during all those years.
Modern era (2000s)
2000 (at the latest)
- January: Jean-Luc Pontico released the French translation of Inform, and also Aventure, a translation of Adventure.
- Eric Forgeot began his first game, Le pouvoir délaissé : The coming race II, written with Glulx Inform. (Unfortunately, it's still an incomplete demo version. Apparently, he now hopes to release it in 2007.)
- Sabine Gorecki, whose website is about games in French which are accessible for visually impaired people (not only IF), released her first French translations of short Inform English IF games.
- February: A very important date, because of the release of Filaments (by JB), the first original (i.e. not a translation) and finished game of the modern French IF community. It was a long story, full of adventure and humor, taking place in Paris and in a variety of surreal places. The same year, an Italian translation (by Marco Totolo) of this game was very well received and even won the Best Italian IF game of the year 2003 award!
- July: Release of La Mort Pour Seul Destin, again by JB. It was a non-linear fantasy IF game with RPG elements, and also a homage to adventure gamebooks, especially Steve Jackson's "Sorcery!" series.
- August: The mailing list was replaced by a web forum.
- April 7: Stab, a computer artist (who is also the author of the French Comp 2005 and 2006 logos and of the look of the French IF forum) suggested the idea of a French IF short games competition.
- April 16: Eric Forgeot announced the competition and its rules. He was the organizer of the comp.
- FRENCH COMP 2005 RULES:
- Any programming language may be used.
- The theme is: a main puzzle which, when it'll be solved, will end or nearly end the story. This puzzle might be about mechanisms or gearings, for instance.
- The deadline is June 21st. (It was later postponed until September 30th.)
- Three ratings, each one from 1 to 10. The three criteria are: "enjoyment", "originality and atmosphere" and "technical quality". The general average will determine the winner. There will also be a winner in each category.
- Authors may judge the games -- except their own games, of course! (We're just not numerous enough to refuse votes. In the French Comp, Eric Forgeot even is simultaneously the organizer, an author and a judge!)
- Authors must be anonymous.
- Authors may submit several games if they want.
- Note that the French Comp rules were always very flexible: we're quite glad if you submit games, we can't be too fussy if you don't quite respect some rules.
- For instance, the theme of the comp is optional: it's supposed to help you to find ideas, not to be a constraint.
- Similarly, games whose authors were not anonymous were accepted. Anyway, the rule about anonymity doesn't really work in practice: with so few authors, it's not that hard to guess who's who!
- No rule forbids to submit already released games.
- Finally, both the submitting and the voting deadline were often postponed in order to allow latecomers to enter.
- Late September and early October: the competition games were released. There were five games, by five different authors. Two of them were the first French games written with ADRIFT, which Sabine Gorecki had recently translated into French.
- October 26: French Comp 2005 results:
- Le Cercle des Gros Geeks disparus by Adrien Saurat (a humorous one-room game) (Also winner of Best enjoyment and Best technical quality.)
- Echappée Belle Dans les Contrées du Rêve by JB (a Lovecraftian story) (Winner of Best originality and atmosphere.)
- Le Temple de Feu by Eric Forgeot (a puzzle-filled game)
- Les Feux de l'enfer by Sabine Gorecki (a fantasy story)
- Qui a tué Dana ? by Vegeta (a mystery story with a touch of science fiction)
- To sum up, with the French Comp, the principle of competitions for short IF games proved once again, ten years after the creation of the IF Comp in the English community, its remarkable effectiveness to motivate authors to write games and ABOVE ALL to finish them — rather than procrastinate or start big projects which never get finished...
- April and May: Benjamin Roux released two homebrewed MS-DOS games on the IF Archive, Interra : L'autre monde and Jour pluvieux.
- Loïc Bernarot released two games, which he submitted to the French Comp a bit later.
- Late October: the French Comp 2006 games (four games by three authors) were released.
- Same rules as French Comp 2005, except:
- The suggested theme was science fiction.
- Ratings: the three criteria were slightly different from the previous comp: "enjoyment", "writing" and "programming". The "enjoyment" criterion had a double weight for the calculation of the average.
- There were a few prizes, donated by JB. (There was no prize in the previous French Comp.)
- Same rules as French Comp 2005, except:
- November 3: JB released Ekphrasis, a very ambitious game with many graphics, sounds and music. It's an adventure story about forgers and Renaissance art. Although it's in French, it already received a few very favorable reactions on the RGIF newsgroup.
- December 29: French Comp 2006 results:
- La Cité des Eaux by Adrien Saurat: 1st place. (Also winner of Best writing, Best programming and Best enjoyment.)
- A post-apocalyptic science fiction game. After a journey through various devastated places, you might reach "la Cité des Eaux" (the City of Waters). On the way, you, as a player, will progressively discover the not so pleasant nature of the player character's personality and mission...
- A science fiction game. You're about to enter the futuristic city of Sarvegne, where you want to meet a pen-friend who asked you to come there...
- An adventure story inspired by the successful comic books series of the same name. (According to a page from the official Largo Winch website, they apparently rather encourage fanfiction.)
- You're Largo Winch, the director of the "Group W" and one of the richest men in the world, but also a man of action. There have been two murders in one of your Mexican research laboratories, the W Food Research laboratory. You go there to investigate personally...
- A thriller taking place in Paris nowadays. You're a policeman called Lucas Label, and today might be the day you'll send at last to jail Roberto Amato, one of the most dangerous men of the Italian Mafia. But things might also go terribly wrong!
All the same, the French-speaking IF community is still very small, with hardly more than a dozen permanent members. This causes many problems: few games, few players (which perhaps makes it harder to find the motivation to write games, and probably also makes games less technically solid than they could be, because of the lack of beta-testers), and so on.
We'd give new members a very warm reception!
- Racontons une histoire ensemble: History and Characteristics of French IF - by Hugo Labrande, in the book IF Theory Reader (pp 389-432).