Future Nostalgia (A Fictional Review of Bientôt l’été)

[From a friend who wishes to remain ano­nymous, I re­ceived the ori­ginal ver­sion of the mes­sage below, which was picked up using radio ob­ser­vation of sig­nals from outer space. For the reader’s con­venience, I have ren­dered it in con­tem­po­rary Eng­lish, rather than the early mo­dern Eng­lish in which it was writ­ten.] Archive: Des­bares­des belt > Giraud γ > Orbit of Giraud γ 3 > Wreck­age of Sigil, or­bital torus space sta­tion File: Ano­nymous jour­nal entry, text­ual, untitled, dated 2321÷12÷16 Descrip­tion: This log entry, re­trieved dur­ing the sal­vage of Sigil sta­tion in 2456, appears to be an assess­ment of a par­ticular type of inter­active expe­rience avail­able to users of the sta­tion at the time through use of holo­communi­cation trans­mitters. Rem­nants of the soft­ware which is referred to in the entry have been found in the data logs of Sigil sta­tion, and vari­ous other sta­tions through­out the galaxy; see > T. Beach Proj­ector. […Read more…]

The (Im)possibilities of Communication

Communi­cation is the weird­est thing. It just kinda works, unless it doesn’t. In prac­tice, it works not because the connec­tion be­tween thought, in­tention, and lan­guage is per­fect. It isn’t. It works be­cause we usu­ally share large parts of our world­view and know­ledge with the people we’re spea­king with, and because our minds are really good at fil­ling in con­cep­tual gaps wherever we see them. In cases where there are minor hitches in communi­cation, we’re also very good at pre­tending there aren’t any. We ig­nore them, or we aren’t even aware that some­one else might not under­stand exactly what we’re say­ing in the same way that we do. […Read more…]

Walking The Path

Through the years I’ve had so many reas­ons to ignore her, always telling me where I could and couldn’t go… – I was follow­ing a pretty bird, and I got lost. I wanted to go for a walk by the lake. I wanted to pick some flowers that only grow in the forest. I was secretly meet­ing a boy. I wanted to check out the creepy grave­yard. I needed to get away for a while. Be­sides, the real reason she doesn’t want me to stray is be­cause she doesn’t want me to grow up and make my own de­cisions and not listen to her all the time. That’s why I went off the path and into the for­est. It’s made me who I am. […Read more…]

FATALE & the History of Salomé

This is the third time I’m wri­ting about a digi­tal work by Fle­mish duo Tale of Tales, and that alone says some­thing about the capa­city of their releases to in­spire dis­cussion. I star­ted with the peace­ful MMO The End­less Forest, and also did a short bit on The Grave­yard. Conti­nuing the chrono­logical trend would leave The Path as my next sub­ject - argu­ably their best and most game-like work - but writ­ing about that fasci­nating psycho­logical hor­ror piece still seems rather daun­ting. Instead, I’m stick­ing to the slightly more manage­able FATALE and explo­ring a bit of what it has to say about the fig­ure of Salomé and how she’s been treated through­out his­tory. […Read more…]

Tale of Tales - The Graveyard (2008)

While devel­op­ment and play on The End­less Forest, the first pub­lic release by Tales of Tales was still going strong, Aur­iea and Michaël had been work­ing on new con­cepts. One of them, which bor­rowed ele­ments from their unfin­ished pro­ject 8, would later become The Path, which was released in 2009, and which will be the sub­ject of our next and most exten­ded fea­ture on this Flem­ish design stu­dio. The other was a shorter, more mod­est pro­ject, and quicker to develop for a final release as well. It was the digital vign­ette called The Grave­yard, and the first of the Tale of Tales titles to be dis­trib­uted semi-commercially online, bey­ond the con­fines of their own web­site. […Read more…]

Tale of Tales - The Endless Forest (2005 - present)

First released in 2005, The End­less Forest is a “mul­ti­player online game” and “social screensaver” developed by Flem­ish stu­dio Tale of Tales. It was ori­gin­ally com­mis­sioned by the Musee d’Art Mod­erne Grand-Duc Jean in Lux­em­burg in 2003, and has passed through vari­ous stages of devel­op­ment since its ori­ginal incep­tion. Ver­sion 3.3 was released in Novem­ber 2009 and presents only the latest of these devel­op­ments: the addi­tion of a new loc­a­tion in the forest. […Read more…]