Muriel Tramis, born in 1958 and inhabitant of Fort-de-France in Martinique, emigrated to France after having obtained a scientific baccalaureate at the age of 16. She studied engineering at "l'ISEP" (Institut Supérieur d'Electronique de Paris) from 1975 till 1981. After her studies she worked for five years at "Aérospatiale", programming military drones for missile testing. She left in 1986 to study communication at the "Marketing Institute" in Paris.
As she had a passion for games, she decided to follow a training course at Coktel Vision. Soon she wanted to design her own stories and so her first adventure, Méwilo, was born, which was created in collaboration with Philippe Truca (graphics) and Patrick Chamoiseau (dialogues; also a former inhabitant of Martinique and future winner of the Prix Goncourt).
For Méwilo, her first West-Indian adventure, she obtained "La médaille d'Argent de la ville de Paris" (Medal of the City of Paris) in 1987. In the game, the history of slaves plays an important part and it will become a recurring theme in her work. For instance, in her next game Freedom: Rebels in the Darkness (1988), the main character is a rebellious black slave and in Lost in Time (1993), the female main character discovers that her great-great grandfather is a slave who was transported to a Caribbean island.
At Coktel Vision (and its successors) she worked in various roles, such as designer and project manager, and she was credited for most of its adventure games, including Bargon Attack, Emmanuelle, Fascination, Geisha, Lost in Time, and Woodruff and The Schnibble of Azimuth.
Various of these games show other distinctive marks of Tramis' designs: the use of female protagonists and of mildly erotic scenes. The last adventure game she contributed to was Urban Runner, published in 1996 (in 1993 Coktel Vision had become part of Sierra and its successors).
At Coktel Tramis didn't restrict herself to the development of adventure games, as her work on the well-known Gobliins series shows. But as she was also convinced that there was a market for educational games, she created a math game for kids called La Bosse des Maths (1989), which was followed by games such as Adi, Adibou, and Adiboudchou, games that are still sold nowadays (2009).
Micro Dossier Lost in Time, Micro Kid's Multimedia, 1993 (in French)
In 1997 Tramis was selected as French prize winner by the EFBWO (European Federation of Black Women Business Owners) in London. She is also president of the association "Le Cercle des Lumières Noires," an association of black women that tries to support the black community.
Tramis worked for Coktel Vision and its subsidiary Tomahawk (1987-1993), Sierra/CUC/Cendent (1993-1998), Havas Interactive Europe (1999-2000) and Vivendi Universal Publishing (2000-2003).
In 2003 Tramis founded her own company called Avantilles, which develops educational software.12
Muriel Tramis was appointed Chevallier de la Légion d'honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honor) on July 13, 2018.
The distinction was awarded to her at the opening of Paris Games Week by Mounir Mahjoubi, then French Secretary of State at Digital, on October 25, 2018.13
Tramis also wrote novels, the semi-autobiographical "Au coeur du Giraumon" and Contes créoles et cruels, a book based on supernatural Martinican folk tales (both available as Scitep ebooks in 2018).
In 2018 a crowdfunding campaign was started to remake Méwilo, but it didn't have the desired result.14
Company: Inférence MDO, Coktel Vision and Tomahawk
Inférence MDO and Coktel Vision, founded in 1984, were geographically and juridically seperated entities. MDO handled all the programming, and Coktel Vision was the publisher and developer. MDO was located in Bordeaux, and was named after the founders, Roland Oskian, Mathieu Marciacq and Arnaud Delrue.15
The other part of the company, Coktel Vision, was located in the outskirts of Paris, 5, rue Jeanne Braconnier, Meudon-la-fôret. The design team was referred to as the "Boulogne team".16
Tomahawk was presented as a subsidiary. According to Tramis it was simply a trick, a brand under which Coktel Vision created some "touchy" games like Emmanuelle or Geisha. Since they were also creating educational games, they didn't want to mix genres. Only very few games were released under this label.17
Designers and programmers first talked about the projects through phone conferences, and then the artists created the graphics and sent them to Bordeaux (by mail and later by modem). This uncommon organization was certainly motivated by the fact that there were two universities in Bordeaux with computeer enginering and electronics curriculums (Bordeaux-1 and Supinfo), and Coktel Vision could work with them to find newly graduated programmers.18
Tramis described Coktel Vision as having a "start-up atmosphere" that encouraged experimentation, autonomy, and risk. She attributes it in part to Coktel's co-founder Roland Oskian
"who was convinced that to leave the freedom to the authors was a guarantee of quality. The counterpart was that I had to give the best of myself, and as the path wasn't marked, it was necessary to invent everything."19