The Little Prince is a classic that has inspired the director, the storyteller, the musician, the graphic artist, the choreographer… and now the video game designer! The designer in question is Lou Lubie. She is 19, a student of game design, and she has just designed a video game set in the world of the Little Prince.
When she was just a little girl her mother, a great admirer of the Little Prince, gave her an audio-book cassette. She made the acquaintance of Saint-Exupéry’s young character at school, however, where she had to study the story from every possible angle: “exactly the right way to make me detest it,” as she recalls.
Catching up on a missed opportunity
Convinced that this school set book had nothing to offer, she filed it on her bookshelves alongside her other schoolbooks. In 2008, she bought Joann Sfar’s album as a gift for her mother; before gift-wrapping it, she took a peek inside. “I was instantly reconciled! The drawing hooked me, seen in the light of a graphic novel, and suddenly the words meant something.” Lou shared the loneliness of the aviator lost in the desert, his emotion on meeting this strange young creature, the charm of his almost but not quite unbelievable stories. Lou went back to her bookshelves to find Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s book and read it in a single sitting: “The episodes took on a meaning I had never perceived. No doubt I needed to become a grown-up to be able to understand it.”
The lamplighter game
As part of her course, Lou was asked to devise a video game. The instructions were strict: “Design a shooting game”. Lou already had an idea in her head: “I wanted to prove that a shooting game doesn’t necessarily have to be violent, that it’s possible to have fun in a softer, harmonious way.” Lou realised she could find what she wanted on the famous planet of the no less famous lamplighter. The result is unexpected: the setting is pleasing, the game subtle, the excitement poetic and the stakes full of significance. The sights in this shooting game are a light in the darkness. What could the target be? Night falls and droplets of darkness invade the screen: as the player clicks, a spark destroys them. As every level is completed, a streetlight appears: the player has to light it before the first droplet of darkness touches the soil of the planet. The game is ingenious and imaginative: every time a droplet of darkness disappears, it leaves behind the echo of a note of music.
Lou Lubie has also written a children’s book and drafted a script for a graphic novel. On her website, she invites visitors to join in the first Internet “drawing forum”: the message is a drawing, and so are the replies. She’s already had an online “discussion” on the subject of the Little Prince.