A Brew-lliant Idea: Ampu-Tea

By Craig Pearson on July 10th, 2013 at 4:00 pm.

Keep Calm And Blargleflargle
The reason tea is so ubiquitous in Britain is because it is easy to make. It allows us to devote time to other British pursuits, like apologising or being flooded. You put the bag in the water and then you have tea. All you need is patience and working limbs. If you take away even one of those, then tea-making grinds (hah!) to a halt. Ampu-Tea is a survival horror game (if you’re British) about a soldier attempting to make tea with his newly attached robot limb. It’s like Surgeon Simulator 2013, but with mugs. The man in the trailer below is also quick to temper, which makes tea-ing even harder. Ah, post-traumatic stress. Hilarious!

As you can see, the influence of the flaily surgery sim is all too clear, and there’s even a mug in the game that thanks them for the inspiration. Aw, that’s nice. The rest is standard stuff: a difficult to control robot arm with independent finger, height, and direction controls that you need to balance perfectly in order to grab a mug, a teabag, the water, and sugar. Everything is precariously placed and wobbly. Can the joke sustain another game? It looks like a fun little diversion. I could see kids giggling away at this, actually.

There is a longer look at the mechanics, but it has been made by an American and I’m not sure he quite understands the subtleties of the tea process.

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105 Comments »

  1. Bhazor says:

    Sure enough there are already hundreds of videos of “internet celebrities” playing it.

  2. Brun says:

    In before Jaffa Cake Simulator 2014.

  3. mike2R says:

    “You put the bag in the water and then you have tea.”

    That would be what American’s call *shudder* tea… Let me refer you to the late, great, Douglas Adams:
    http://www.h-tea-o.net/newsletter/G001DouglasAdams/teatalk/

  4. lowprices says:

    Daily Mail headline proclaiming “SICK VIDEOGAME MOCKS SOLDIERS” in 3… 2… 1…

  5. darkChozo says:

    Tea is good but coffee is better.

    (you es aye! you es aye! you es aye!)

  6. Tom De Roeck says:

    Sir! You Are Being Teabagged!

  7. bluebomberman says:

    Am I the only one who finds this tasteless? Laughing at amputees as they struggle to complete basic tasks?

    • Koozer says:

      I didn’t mind too much – it could promote some awareness of the difficulties prosthetics can bring I thought – until I watched that trailer. That’s just horribly insensitive.

      • bluebomberman says:

        I find it even worse that a site that beats people over their heads about social justice until people pine for the exits can go ahead and promote a game that actively mocks a subset of the population that are often victims of malicious and violent acts.

        • DrGonzo says:

          I don’t see the issue, someone who recently lost their arm would make a mess of making a cup of tea, and that’s quite funny.

          • bluebomberman says:

            Yes, it’s quite funny to see people with missing arms struggle to put on clothes, tie their shoes, pick up objects. Hilarious. Funny. Ha ha.

        • El_Emmental says:

          +10 000, I’m with you bluebomberman

          This is the same kind of humour we see in “funny compilation” videos on youtube, where people laugh at fat or disabled people struggling to do a ‘simple’ task for able people.

          Sure the whole Octodad/Surgeon Simulator type of gameplay can be plenty of fun, but treating amputation/prosthesis and the difficulties of handling these like that, it’s just tasteless.

          But as usual, the Moral Brigade cherry-picks its fights: only the most popular “scandals”, already in the blogosphere, get on the front page, while all the other cases are fully ignored because being against discrimination (sexism being one of them) is mostly a hobby to make us feel better once per week, not something deeply changing the way we perceive and react to our entire environment, 24/7.

          • Vermintide says:

            *golf clap*

            Your last sentence pretty much nailed the reason the sexism trend currently bugs me; I never realised before why I felt so against it in my gut but now I realise.

            (cue someone posting a link to Jezabelle to inform me why the myriad of other issues with tasteless, insensetive mass media are less important than women’s)

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            Sexism stands out, because it doesn’t stand out. It’s been an accepted part of gaming for so long. Including a disabled character purely for comic relief, or shock value, is immediately morally dubious to most people and you’d struggle to get something like that into a big budget game.

            Including female characters for no reason other than eye-candy for the male players? Pretty standard. You want women as resources, or quest rewards? Perfectly acceptable. Women whose sole purpose is to highlight the capabilities of male characters by having none of their own? Wow, you’re a natural games designer.

            In many design meetings nobody would bat an eyelid if you suggested one of the characters should be a hot girl in a skimpy costume “because boobies, lol”. but if you suggested they should be an amputee you would be expected to have more justification for the decision than just “because he’s got no arms, lol” and more substance to the character.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            On cherry picking sexism, I think it’s at the fore because of the large and obvious proportion of women who are in or around the games industry and who have taken up the cause very visibly. That doesn’t mean those against sexism or those “jumping on the bandwagon” believe it to be a special case of discrimination more worthy than others, it is simply the one about where there’s some momentum for change. history has shown that when it comes to ending discrimination it usually, unfortunately, has to be one group at a time.

          • Vermintide says:

            Yeah, you two are right, but the thing is videogames are still a medium that’s primarily about murdering tons of dudes. That’s not just taken for granted, it’s actively the foundation on which the AAA industry is built.

            The dubious presentation of women is a drop in the ocean for this industry. Graphic violence and indulgence of criminal fantasy causes less controversy here than a bouncy pair of tits- And I love me some graphic violence.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            Fair point. Actually I mentioned the other day that sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll are all generally good clean fun unless you combine them with violence. In games, however, that’s usually the only context in which they’re presented :) Personally I’m getting a little bit bored of violence… Or so I thought until I played Hotline Miami!! I think if a game is charming enough it can more or less get away with anything it wants to, especially murder. Most of the games that face backlash of any kind are sub-par examples of the generic 1st or 3rd person shooter.

          • El_Emmental says:

            Wow wow, wait a minute.

            Vermintide and James, while you’re both right about the importance of all discrimination, I was talking about an even more depressing cherry-picking.

            But first, let me clarify something: personally, I don’t mind if sexism get a higher priority for the video game industry (over violence), games themselves and the gaming community. Actually, I’m quite in favor of that: reducing the amount of sexism will also reduce the focus on meaningless violence, and improve gaming in general.

            There’s a lot to be done, we waited long enough for change, and it’s actually something that is commercially and economically viable RIGHT now. We can make non-sexist video games and make way enough money to make that sustainable, especially since men & women are slowly beginning to accept that gaming can coexist with femininity.

            What I meant with the “cherry picking” was regarding the scandals, frequently making the headlines (including here, at Rock Paper Shotgun), within the topic of sexism itself (and within other discriminations themselves).

            Like, a sexualized character model or the “girlfriend mode” were covered for weeks, a fratbro idiot making a rape joke at a convention get at least 10 articles and some people fired… but for no apparent reason, other, very shocking, sexist elements are not covered at all, like if the recent awareness of sexism in the VG industry/VG/gaming community never happened, like if it was just a lucid dream.

            Some day Social Justice is on the menu, the other day it’s just ‘fish & chips’. It’s kinda like the soup du jour, if you come the wrong day you can’t have it, better luck next time.

            Example (totally not based on reality):

            - on Monday we get a lengthy coverage about a female sidekick not being the main character (when the devs could have chose that), or a whole piece on how a female character is depicted as fragile and unable to do everything by herself (while it’s rarely the case with male characters). Great.

            - on Wednesday there’s a very positive article on a JRPG, talking about the great character development, nice subtle story.

            Oh, and all the screenshots of the characters show young women with gigantic breasts (or very small breasts…) in bikini armor, either seducing the main character (even when the woman is an enemy) or being in perilous danger, some images even featuring a “dark alley rape” situation (no rape happens, but the entire situation is exactly like that: torn clothes, begging female character trapped in a dark corner and laying on the ground (like if she was pushed), visible underwear, etc), and of course, the infamous tentacle/vine rape scene.

            Seriously. Freaking rape. It’s not just an oversexualized character with big boobs, we’re talking about heavily-insinuated sexual violence against women. It’s gonna start an online riot, right ? Petitions will be started, emails will be sent, activists will regroup and fight, right ?

            But… no, that’s totally normal, not even a sentence mentioning that, not even a word on the sexism existing in the asian video game culture (and the differences with the sexism in the western video game culture). Move along.

            This is what I think is totally wrong:

            All the attention is spent on very few ‘popular’ cases, even when these cases end up being less shocking and actually much less sexist than we thought (upon closer inspection), while many other serious issues, with strong sexism deeply ingrained in them, are completely ignored because the case is not popular, too complex, or doesn’t involve a popular trope/cliche of sexism (rape joke, groping, “no women in game development, must be a booth babe”, “women being women”, etc) and require actual thinking and discussion.

            Such cherry-picking (“we can’t cover everything anyway”, “it’s better to focus on prime cases”) may sound rather inoffensive at first sight, but it’s destroying the credibility of the anti-sexism and feminism movements for all the people either sitting on the fence or thinking it’s not much of a big deal.

            And losing that credibility means losing the support of the majority of people (and gamers), making change impossible. It is so frustrating to know that a positive change could happen, if only…

            If only anti-sexism (here, in gaming) was taken seriously by everyone.

            Especially the people who see themselves as fully-aware activists.

        • TheWhippetLord says:

          Agreed. This is nasty and I’d expect better from RPS.

      • darkChozo says:

        It would actually be a pretty good games-as-art game if handled properly. Nothing too overbearing, just something along the lines of a serious-ish version of Octodad.

        Doesn’t like the developer is taking that route, sadly enough. And the inevitable Youtube exploitation is going to be depressing.

    • Low Life says:

      We’ve got to laugh at them while we can, before they enslave us all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al5RhaJgxxU

    • Wedge says:

      You were looking for taste in something plastered in Stay Calm memes?

      • bluebomberman says:

        I’m looking for taste from RPS. I’m looking for RPS to not promote hateful crap. I’m looking for RPS to live up to the ideals they berate us with.

        • Drakedude says:

          It must be admitted that far more people will appreciate the difficulties involved through this medium then beating them around the head with it, my own problems with RPS (admittedly partially due to being a games site) aside.

        • Faxmachinen says:

          I don’t see how this game’s primary purpose is to mock disabled people any more than “I can’t find my glasses” is. And anyway, I wouldn’t much like RPS to stop writing about games which were offensive in some way. Wouldn’t be much left to write about.

          • El_Emmental says:

            People are not asking to censor offensive games, people are asking to mention the poor taste and lack respect these games have for disabled people, when making an article about it.

            And “I can’t find my glasses” isn’t approaching disabilities the same way at all. There’s no humorous tone or jokes about it, the world is grey and you struggle to even see what you’re doing, it clearly depicts the terrible distress of someone suffering from visual impairment.

            Meanwhile, Ampu-tea is taking the terrible difficulty of handling a prosthesis (when you can afford one !)(after losing a freaking arm !) like a funny game, “oh oh look, he can’t even make his own tea”.

            If “I can’t find my glasses” had a laugh track every time you broke something, then yeah it would be as offensive as Ampu-tea. I played ICFMG and it’s not the case.

        • Sharza says:

          I’m not sure if that’s the case — RPS promoting hateful speech etc. I found the underlying tone of the article to be very ironic “I could see kids giggling at this”; “Ah post traumatic stress. Hillarious”. Maybe that just slips some people or maybe I am wrong.
          Be that as it may, I find the discussion boils down to the question where one has to draw the line. What is discrimination and what isn’t? I usually find the intent behind a ‘joke’ is what makes up the essence of it and the measure by which it should be judged. This is hard to judge when you simply don’t know the intent – if you are smart, you explain what you want to achieve with something like the game at hand and that you don’t intend to be disrespectful.
          A crazy idea: What if the game had a disclaimer in the beginning, before you even start playing: ‘This game is intended to bring awarness to the difficulties disabled people can have with everyday tasks…’ etc. Would this change your view on it?

  8. westyfield says:

    Ampu-Tea Hard Mode: Actually using loose leaves and a pot like you’re supposed to.

    *grumble grumble* damned teabags *grumble*

  9. SkittleDiddler says:

    Tea is nature’s piss-water. There, I said it.

  10. Slabs says:

    Ginger Baker sang it best when it comes to Americans getting tea wrong… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTuXBoA688Y

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      That’s just splendid.

      Regarding tea: I can only wonder at what the British think about dutch tea making. it mostly involves not adding milk and preferring lighter brews which also allows for less bags being required for a greater quantity (sharing tea bags, even).

  11. Dowr says:

    Tea, Earl Grey, Hot.

  12. Aberaham says:

    Wow what I high-larious and wacky game that surely will get Pewpiepie and Tobasscus millions more hits inbetween sessions of Happy Wheels and Surgeon Simulator.

  13. jonahcutter says:

    Considering the Brits proclivity for instant coffee, I can see whey they prefer tea.

    And tea’s allright. It’s a decent stand-in for when you’ve run out of a proper drink like coffee.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      This is a good point. I think instant coffee in Europe is a hangover from companies like Nestle taking huge advantage of post-war scarcity of real coffee. However, it’s only really at home where you drink it. Instant coffee is even more popular in the parts of Central Europe I’ve visited than it is in the UK. Although there are cafés everywhere serving the proper stuff, at home people still tend to drink instant. I live in Vienna at the moment and the Vienese are very laid back, only really serious about one thing – and that’s music. But if they were serious about two things, the second would be coffee.

  14. Scumbag says:

    From the site:
    Content rating: T(ea) for Teens. Contains violence.

  15. Pich says:

    Italian here: this is revenge for how the entire world mangle coffee. protip: just get one of these, they make a proper one in under 3 minutes https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Mokaexpress2.JPG

  16. povu says:

    She must be one of those internet celebrities.

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