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Dream Game: First-Person Downhill Parkour, With Tea

Last night I played the game of my dreams. It’s a multiplayer first-person downhill parkour racing game, zipping through a steep fantasy village that winds into the skies. You dash across rooftops and down alleyways while carrying a physics-simulated cup of tea which sloshed and spilt with every leap and jostle. To win, reach the bottom first with tea still in your cup. Ace! Though my experience was soured by Hugh Laurie off the telly, the studio’s CEO, devising an ‘ARG’ dicking with my computer. I almost hit him.

Players are some sort of steampunky serving robot, bringing tea down through an impossible town built along a narrow and perilously steep spiral or arch that reaches a mile into the sky. It looks like Guild Wars 2 concept art – bright colours, improbable architecture, and bustling with life – or Edinburgh’s Old Town on far more of a slope.

So off we all go, racing through alleyways, down steps, and over rooftops, trying to keep a smooth line that won’t jostle our teacups too much. Bump into obstacles, townsfolk, or other players and you’ll surely spill a lot. It has the momentum of the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling, where trying to stop or make precise adjustments will send you arse over tit so you must keep charging ahead.

You drift, you flow, a dozen players spilling down a vertical Gormenghast. And let me tell you, your teacup is most delightful thing I’ve ever seen in a game’s first-person view – an ornate bone china teacup (held with pinky out, obvs) filled with lifelike physics-simulated tea sloshing around. Both teacup and tea are customisable too.

What a game! That makes it all the worse that the marketing was so awful.

The initial announcement was cryptic nonsense that didn’t say anything about the game or even the people making it. Then the studio started sending me nagging e-mails, demanding to know why I hadn’t posted about it. Then they tried to force me into an ARG, locking me out my computer’s normal functions and holding files to ransom.

Handily, I work in the same officespace as the developers. To calm me, they let me play a bit. I was wowed. But after CEO Hugh Laurie – him off the telly – tried assuring me my computer would be fine if I posted the ARG on RPS then solved it, I lost my rag.

I’m not proud of this. I shouted at Hugh Laurie off the telly, I shouted at their marketing person, and I was close to lamping Hugh Laurie off the telly when I woke up.

[WHAT A TWIST! -enraptured ed.]

I am sorry that I almost hit Hugh Laurie off the telly but I’m delighted I did get to play that game, if only for one night. And I’m glad my tea is safe.

What are your dream games, gang? John has asked before but I mean dream games.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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