virtually real love in video games


“I liked flying too much, I thought I was a fairy, but sometimes there was a lot of traffic and I got caught in the mouth. “ Listening to episode 1 of Arte Radio’s new podcast, “Game Lover”, we were initially worried about not being completely in the heart of the target group – young adults. Especially since the world of video games has always been very foreign to us. Except that it is about love, again and again, and that the work done here is well worth a detour in parallel worlds.

At the beginning, it is a story of friendship born on the benches of a school of journalism. That of Emilie Mendy, who writes the fashion column “Dress code: street” on Mouv ‘, and Annabelle Martella, who freelances at Release. After working on the prostitution of young girls on Snapchat for the production company First Lines, they wanted to explore love in video games and therefore launched a call for testimonials.

Very quickly, they opted for a podcast that is not a documentary but a fiction. Fiction allows greater freedom, and to imagine answers to the questions asked: what relationship do we have with our avatar and what does he say about us? How can you fall in love in a sometimes violent world? What if – at the risk of reproducing very real clichés – this knight who came to save us on his beautiful white horse was the long-awaited man? Many virtual stories have materialized to take on the appearance of contemporary fairy tales – “they-married-and-even-had-children”.

« Remuscler la narration »

For the two young women, it was a question of giving to understand this type of virtual / real love. To do this, they therefore imagined the trajectory of three young adults who discover, via an imaginary network game, what their desires could be. So with Léa who becomes aware of the inanity of her marriage when she falls in love with a female avatar (episode 1); Erwan, a gruff mage who enjoys fighting alongside an elf warrior (episode 2), or Morgana and her first potential love (episode 3).

They then entrusted their text to Sabine Zovighian – who produced for Arte Radio the remarkable “De guerre en fils” (2016) or “Les Chemins de Désir” (2019). “There was something fresh, a beautiful orality in the original text that I didn’t want to spoil, she explains, even if the narration had to be reworked. On the radio, you need well-structured, well-structured stories. “

On original Mondkopf music, Samuel Hirsch took care of all the “sound design” to bring these worlds to life. Hence this nicely hybrid object, probably closer to fiction than to documentary. More dreamlike and poetic too.

Game Lover, series written by Annabelle Martella and Emilie Mendy, directed by Sabine Zovighian and Samuel Hirsch (Fr., 2021, 3 x 20 min). Available on demand on Arte Radio.