Johny Zuper Feb 8, 2013 @ 12:29am
Give it a chance. For yourself.
Hello, this is Michael Samyn, the designer of Bientôt l'été.

I must admit that the consternation that our work causes amuses me to some extent. But I know that that's wrong.

Bientôt l'été was made with videogame technology but without much concern for the traditions and conventions of videogames. So if that is what you are looking for, know yourself, and look elsewhere.

But I assure you that Bientôt l'été was created with the best intentions and in all honesty. Feel free to browse through the developer blog to sample this: http://tale-of-tales.com/bientotlete/blog . This honesty has lead us away from caring much about our audience and towards a further thematic and formal exploration. That was a choice that seemed appropriate for this project. In future projects, we may navigate in the other direction. Both have their merits.

It's difficult to explain what makes Bientôt l'été an enjoyable experience for some. I realize that the pictures and text on the store page fall short. It takes a a bit of effort to get into the atmosphere. I find that easier while playing than by looking at screenshots.

You don't need to do this effort for us. We don't care. Do it for yourself!
This project was created to offer a particular source of joy for those who can bring themselves to it. It could have been much better. It could have had more direct impact. But here it is. And I believe that anyone who puts a bit of effort into it can enjoy it.

Judging from the reports of people who don't, it's usually because they expect too much. They are looking for things and waiting for things to happen. But that's not how one can enjoy this game. It's more like a toy than a game. You have to play with it. But play in a very slow, contemplative manner.

If you want a shortcut to decide whether you will like this game, have a look at one of the films Marguerite Duras directed (there's some on YouTube). Her work was the major inspiration for the design and content of Bientôt l'été. If you find no joy in these films, you probably won't find any in this piece.
Here's a fragment, for instance: http://tale-of-tales.com/bientotlete/blog/duras-film-agatha-et-les-lectures-illimitees

I realize that we are but feeble artists compared to the genius of Marguerite Duras. I see Bientôt l'été more as a form of fan art or a tribute, even though I hope it can bring the experience of her work to an audience that might not have been aware of it.

Some people enjoy Bientôt l'été very deeply. Other people don't. You could be one, or the other. There's not much point in arguing about that.

But in general, more joy is better. :-)
Last edited by Johny Zuper; Feb 8, 2013 @ 12:34am
Showing 1-15 of 156 comments
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jungle.james Feb 8, 2013 @ 1:22am 
Let me be the first to extend my gratitude to your team's attempt in subverting traditional narratives of the medium.
mrmusicallion Feb 8, 2013 @ 1:53am 
I like the concept. But I don't like the amateurish feel that I'm getting from the trailers. I haven't played/bought this yet but it did catch my interest.
Johny Zuper Feb 8, 2013 @ 2:04am 
The trailers are made by my partner Auriea Harvey, sort of as fan art for "my" game. In style they refer to many of Marguerite Duras' films in which she juxtaposes text that is read alongside images that don't directly relate to the words. A good example is http://tale-of-tales.com/bientotlete/blog/duras-film-le-camion in which the writer literally refers to "poverty of means" as an important aspect of the creation.
Johny Zuper Feb 8, 2013 @ 2:07am 
Originally posted by jungle.james:
Let me be the first to extend my gratitude to your team's attempt in subverting traditional narratives of the medium.
You're welcome! Although, in all modesty, this sort of subversion happened a long time ago already in literature. We are a bit late introducing it to videogames. But it seemed so compatible, with the computer's exquisite capacity for randomness.
jungle.james Feb 8, 2013 @ 2:14am 
Your average "gamer" has never heard of Deleuze and Guattari or even Derrida however, and you're relatively staking out new ventures here to a crowd otherwise uninitiated to the discussion of post-structuralism.
Slime Feb 8, 2013 @ 3:21am 
I believe the reason this game is not succeeding on Steam is because of the fact that most Steam users aren't initiated in the acceptance of the post-coital gratification, and that more of us need to be tolerant of the reverse-entry school of thought.

Many of us simply lack the higher education required to enjoy such work. Otherwise I fear your product will fail due to the mass-antiestablishmentarianism that they fear work like this may force on them. If your product contained more of the morceaux de texte that told the consumer what they were going to be die aankoop van, then they might be less fearful of trying it.
movra Feb 8, 2013 @ 4:48am 
On his blog Michaël called Bientôt l'été a Soul Mate Detector. Perhaps in a manner of "If you build it, he will come".

I agree there is justification in the existence of a counter-movement to the ubiquitous popamoles and even general banality. However, in contrast to the increasingly less interactive interactive movies, I believe in embracing gameplay as art rather than art as gameplay.

Maybe Michaël has arrived at a similar conclusion:

"So to be effective, art will need to mask as pulp, be simple, so it can be accepted by the unaccustomed masses. Even if your art is intended for an elite, it still needs to be able to pass for shallow because otherwise the people who enjoy it risk public scorn, or simply prevent scorn by ignoring the art."

"For all my talk about Bientôt l’été being my last work of art, it actually already contains the seed of how I want to proceed next. Which makes it both the piece that explored the furthest and the one that allowed me to discover a new, simpler approach to this medium."

"The creation of Bientôt l’été has been a life altering process for me. So much so that I feel I am starting anew. I have discovered so much, learned so much, changed so much.

I’m not sure if I ever want to do this again."

In this light an interesting read is the commentary on David Cage describing the game industry having a “Peter Pan Syndrome".

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/02/07/david-cage-refuses-to-grow-up-says-man-in-his-chair/

Last edited by movra; Feb 8, 2013 @ 5:13am
[TK!] 50,000lbs. Feb 8, 2013 @ 5:21am 
Originally posted by jungle.james:
Your average "gamer" has never heard of Deleuze and Guattari or even Derrida however, and you're relatively staking out new ventures here to a crowd otherwise uninitiated to the discussion of post-structuralism.

First, having a familiarity with the same theorists doesn't guarantee each person will come to similar conclusions. It's possible to be familiar with Deleuze and not accept his configurations, and even those people who take up Deleuze's theories in their own critical practice disagree. Secondly, there's no reason to discredit the kind of knowledge a player will bring to an experience just because you don't think it's the most salient knowledge possible (as if there were such a thing). Post-structuralism can provide ways into this experience, but a knowledge of dada or Duras or John Cage or french film history could also be generative when one plays this game. Finally, it seems sad to think that because you are "initiated" into "the discussion of post-structuralism" that you already see all the "new ventures" this game is staking out. I think anyone could have something to learn from an experience no matter what theories they're familiar with, and I think the game would lose some of what makes it interesting if you already charted out it's whole place within the world (I don't think you have, that's just what your statement comes off as, as if by having the understanding of post-structuralism that you do you have somehow become master of the universe).

Samyn, I want to thank you for making the game and I hope sucess in this and future projects. The time and effort it takes to create is daunting enough, but to create somethng with the understanding that it may not be well received is admirable. I don't think I'm going to try this game right away (I usually like to sit on games for a while), but I do appreciate your work and the way your design philosophy shapes the wider discourse about games.
Last edited by [TK!] 50,000lbs.; Feb 8, 2013 @ 5:23am
jungle.james Feb 8, 2013 @ 5:42am 
Alright, I'll disengage the trolling of throwing about the late 20th century obscurantist ideas to mock the pretentiousness and say that 50Klbs. has an awesome post here.

And though while I agree someone's experiences within fields outside of philosophy may [help them] come to understand this game in an equally legitimate though different way, the only way we can really account for their understanding of an idea is via the academic term to describe the paradigm, such as, and not limited to examples like "existentialism".
Last edited by jungle.james; Feb 8, 2013 @ 5:47am
Johny Zuper Feb 8, 2013 @ 6:50am 
Not sure if it matters, but for the record, and to my shame, I have never read Deleuze or Guattari. I only read one book by Derrida a long time ago. I was more of a Baudrillard fan in the day. And today I tend to read either fiction or social/political theory. I want to get back to contemporary philosophy, though (by way of Zizek, perhaps).

Anyway, it's obvious that any sort of education or cultural background will help one enjoy art better. But I don't believe it's absolutely essential to get something out of Bientôt l'été. Life experiences can make a big difference too, for instance.
jungle.james Feb 8, 2013 @ 7:08am 
Another good point. I'll go ahead and fess up to having experienced something like you'll find in Bientôt l'été and that the experience alone may have contributed to my enjoyment of the work.

Definitely have a look at Zizek; his notoriety is well deserved and packaged in a polemic form, providing some really novel thoughts like love being a violence.
Last edited by jungle.james; Feb 8, 2013 @ 7:09am
mrmusicallion Feb 8, 2013 @ 8:26am 
Originally posted by Johny Zuper:
The trailers are made by my partner Auriea Harvey, sort of as fan art for "my" game. In style they refer to many of Marguerite Duras' films in which she juxtaposes text that is read alongside images that don't directly relate to the words. A good example is http://tale-of-tales.com/bientotlete/blog/duras-film-le-camion in which the writer literally refers to "poverty of means" as an important aspect of the creation.

Well the problem is that she doesn't carry the narrative well enough to convince me that there is a real passionate art lying behind all of this. I don't mind if things are a bit.. disconnected in terms of theme - I can accept that, and gladly would, yet something about her voice sounds somehow more contrived than genuine and that is what puts me off of this. Again, the ideas in all of this appeal to me yet the execution is worrying.
Last edited by mrmusicallion; Feb 8, 2013 @ 11:24am
Among the Marked.j2 Feb 8, 2013 @ 8:29am 
For those who who have all stated something above about having a background knowledge on these things, what if we are not good at grasping complicated symbolism? Will we still enjoy this interactive art piece? What if the most complicated thing we've ever read was either Crime and Punishment or half of Don Quixote*? (Will let it hang here and see response, sorry for not being as smooth about the subject)

*Good books, Crime and Punishment is def the harder read, while Don Quixote is just funny, but long winded
Silke Neryn Feb 8, 2013 @ 11:47am 
As a huge fan of Marguerite Duras, especially her writing, I want to thank you (and the team) for creating this game.

I find it both illuminating and remarkably beautiful, a place for both reflection and action. Just walking the beach, remembering the words, watching the world change in colours from the bench. And then forming a relationship with another player, using these fantastic lines of dialogue that knows no equal, is really something of a dream come true.

Thank you.
Kaz'shardra Aske Feb 8, 2013 @ 2:22pm 
One of the fundamental axioms of bringing art into the marketplace is "know your audence." So you've brought this into the Steam community, which purports to be a place to buy and sell games. Saying "well it uses video game technology" and then bringing it here is akin to taking a motorboat to a Chevy dealership. They both have gas-powered motors, yes? And yet they clearly are not the same.

Go ahead and be amused at the consternation and the generally poor reception of your product on this marketplace. Tell us how wrong we are for expecting one thing and getting another. By your own words, you really don't give a good god damn about your audience and have instead taken this to a level of self-importance that I haven't seen from a developer since John Romero tried to make us his collective ♥♥♥♥♥.

Smug it up all you like, poseur. You've got my ten bucks. Enjoy yourself.
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