Coktel Vision

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Coktel Vision
Subsidiary
IndustryVideo game industry
FateMerged into Mindscape
Founded1984; 35 years ago (1984)
FounderRoland Oskian
DefunctOctober 2005 (2005-10)
Headquarters,
France
Parent

Coktel Vision (also known as Coktel and Coktel Studio) was a French video game developer and publisher based in Paris. It was best known for its educational and adventure games.

History[edit]

Coktel Vision was founded in 1984 by Roland Oskian, an engineer and a former executive at Matra Espace.[1] The French gaming market was still developing at the time, the company consisted of only several people who worked from Oskian's house, with Roland acting as a director and composer and his wife Catherine creating graphics and cover art.[2]

Coktel made its name by publishing simulation, action and narrative-driven adventure titles for the Thomson and Amstrad CPC computers. Their catalogue included both original and licensed games often based on Franco-Belgian comics such as Asterix, Lucky Luke and Blueberry. They saw a quick growth and in several years entered the edutainment market, while also starting to port their games to PC and Macintosh.[2]

In 1986, Muriel Tramis joined Coktel Vision. Known as the first female French video game designer, she quickly turned into the studios' leading talent, developing some of its best-selling games and gaining the informal title of "Roberta Williams of France".[3][4] Tramis often explored political and social themes novel for its time such as imperialism, slavery and eroticism, collaborating with the créolité writer Patrick Chamoiseau.[5][6] Yet her name is usually associated with more family-friendly series like Gobliiins co-created with Pierre Gilhodes and Adibou, the long-running commercially successful educational games that had sold over 1.5 million copies by 1997.[7][8]

Tramis described Coktel Vision as a diverse company with a "start-up atmosphere" that allowed plenty of freedom to its designers.[9] During the early 1990s Coktel experimented with various formats such as 3D and FMV and enjoyed continued strong growth: in 1993 it made 75 million francs against 30 million in 1992, with the Adibou series covering 65% of the French edutainment market and 35% of the European market.[1] By 1996 those numbers increased up to 75% in France.[2]

In 1992, the company was acquired by the American publisher Sierra On-Line (the deal was finalised on 29 October 1993).[2][10] As part of the deal, Sierra published popular French titles worldwide while Coktel localised and published Sierra's games through its Tomahawk publishing label. In 1996 after Urban Runner became a commercial failure it was decided to focus on educational titles rather than adventure games.[2]

In February 1996, Sierra along with its subsidiaries was acquired by CUC International, with Coktel becoming part of CUC's new CUC Software branch.[11] CUC was then merged with HFS Incorporated into Cendant and in 1998 sold its software branch to the French publisher Havas, which was acquired by Vivendi.[12] Coktel continued producing edutainment titles, focusing on the European market only; in 1999 Roland Oskian left the company, and in 2003 he was followed by Muriel Tramis after the new management decided to subcontract some of the major Coktel's titles.[2]

In October 2005, Coktel Vision was sold to French publisher Mindscape, wherein eleven Coktel employees were absorbed into Mindscape.[13] The Coktel brand name, however, was retained by Mindscape many years afterwards; its history officially ended in 2011 when Mindscape closed its doors.[2]

Subsidiaries[edit]

  • MDO – a Bordeaux-based company which did all the programming. Named after its three founders: Mathieu Marciacq, Arnaud Delrue and Roland Oskian.[2]
  • Tomahawk – presented as a subsidiary, it was only a label that Coktel Vision used to publish simulation and erotic games to distance themselves from edutainment titles.[14]

Games published[edit]

Year Title
1987 Asterix and the Magic Carpet
Dakar Moto
Legend of Djel
Méwilo
Robinson Crusoe
1988 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Jungle Book
1989 Asterix: Operation Getafix
Emmanuelle
Galactic Empire
Oliver & Company
1990 No Exit
Geisha
1991 E.S.S. Mega
Fascination
Gobliiins
Little Red Riding Hood
1992 A.J.'s World of Discovery
Bargon Attack
Gobliins 2: The Prince Buffoon
Inca
1993 Goblins Quest 3
Lost in Time
Ween: The Prophecy
1994 The Bizarre Adventures of Woodruff and the Schnibble
Inca II: Wiracocha
Playtoons 1: Uncle Archibald
Playtoons 2: The Case of the Counterfeit Collaborator
1995 The Last Dynasty
Playtoons 3: The Secret of the Castle
Playtoons 4: The Mandarin Prince
Playtoons 5: The Stone of Wakan
1996 Urban Runner
1999 Adiboo's Magical Adventure
2001 Adibou Et L'Ombre Verte
2003 Adiboo & Paziral's Secret
The Cat in the Hat
2004 Adiboo and the Energy Thieves
Crash Bandicoot Fusion and Spyro Fusion

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b de Gasquet, Pierre (4 May 1994). "L'américain Sierra-On-Line absorbe Coktel Vision" [American Sierra-On-Line absorbs Coktel Vision]. Les Echos (in French). Archived from the original on 20 August 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Crookes, David (28 December 2018). "From the Archives: Coktel Vision". Retro Gamer. No. 189. Future Publishing. pp. 44–47.
  3. ^ Berhouet, Patxi (19 July 2018). "Muriel Tramis, créatrice d'Adibou, va recevoir la Légion d'honneur" [Muriel Tramis, creator of Adibou, received the Legion of Honour]. La Croix (in French). Archived from the original on 3 September 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  4. ^ Dunslim (16 March 2018). "Game designers : un répertoire enrichi" [Game designers: an enriched repertoire]. SensCritique [fr] (in French).
  5. ^ Donovan, Tristan (30 November 2011). "Ten Unsung Gaming Heroes". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on 29 April 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Muriel Tramis, pionnière du jeu vidéo : " Je ne me suis jamais posé la question de la légitimité "" [Muriel Tramis, video game pioneer: "I never asked myself the question of legitimacy"]. Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée (in French). 11 March 2019. Archived from the original on 17 June 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Muriel Tramis, première créatrice de jeux vidéo décorée de la Légion d'honneur" [Muriel Tramis, the first video game designer decorated with the Legion of Honor]. Le Monde (in French). 19 July 2018. Archived from the original on 17 June 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  8. ^ Claude, Frederick (January 2017). "Adiboo: I can read, I can count!". Coming Soon Magazine. Archived from the original on 16 May 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  9. ^ Salvador, Phil (5 March 2018). "Muriel Tramis speaks about her career and the memory of Martinique". The Obscuritory. Archived from the original on 5 August 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Sierra On-Line Form 10-K". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 1 July 1996. Archived from the original on 16 April 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  11. ^ Lewis, Peter H. (21 February 1996). "CUC Will Buy 2 Software Companies for $1.8 Billion". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 21 July 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  12. ^ Marshall, Caroline (17 April 1988). "Alain's Masterplan for Havas". Campaign.
  13. ^ Poischich (21 October 2005). "VU Games cède Coktel à Mindscape" [VU Games sells Coktel to Mindscape]. Gamekult [fr] (in French). Archived from the original on 22 July 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  14. ^ Jauhiainen, Ilmari (19 March 2018). "Interview with Muriel Tramis". The Adventure Gamer. Archived from the original on 17 June 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2019.

External links[edit]