Uncle Albert’s Magical Album is released in october 1998. The success is huge. In a few weeks, the game is at the top of the charts. The concept has everything needed: kids are taken away in a great adventure and treasure quest, they may enjoy a true freedom. Interesting fact: the parents were really seduced by the educational dimension and the poetical and funny aspect of the game.
Uncle Albert’s Fabulous Voyage is released the following year, confirming the popularity of the game, that came out of the blue with its rich univers. Uncle Albert’s mysterious Island ends the trilogy. A few years later, new episodes are created: The Cursed Statuette and The Lost Temple.
Overall, Uncle Albert’s Adventures have been transleted in more than 15 different languages et have been sold in more than 750 000 copies (a hit for edutainment software).
Uncle Albert’s Adventures is the first of a new kind of adventure games. The action takes place in an illustrated album, inhabited by objects, tools and living animals the player can interact with. The child has to achieve the missions in each page to access secret parts of the book. In order to do so, he has to move the objects from one page to the other and solve the puzzles. As the player progresses in the adventure, he discovers short movies Uncle Albert left to build up his own legacy.
Influenced by the stories of Stevenson and Jules Verne, Uncle Albert’s Adventures – no one knows if the are true or fantasy – are full of mysterious islands, fabulous animals, sailor’s experience, hidden treasures, goofy inventions, colorful characters.
They take place in the fifties, at a time where travelling to certain countries was actually an adventure by itself. Even if the stories let a good place for drean and imagination, they are well documented, what gives them a true authenticity.
Rare fact: Eric Viennot wanted to integrated actual movies, shot with an actor, in order to reinforce the character’s veracity. Influenced by Chaplin’s burlesque cinema, and Jacques Tati’s work, these short movies tell, in a funny and poetic manner, the adventures of the goofy Uncle. Other movies, made of CGI, features Uncle Albert’s inventions (a bird-plane, a submarine, a rocket…), uncharted locations he visited (a mysterious island) or imagined (distant planets).
Uncle Albert’s Adventures were translated in nearly 15 languages. They got several international awards. The CD-roms were used in class by several teachers and were studied by scientists in education.
The kids and the parents who played Uncle Albert’s Adventures keep a vivid memory of the hours spend on the game. Kids who are currently 25-30 years old, kept their CD-roms preciously and Eric Viennot still do sign some of them. Retro-gaming videos are even uploaded.