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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22 Comments

  1. ProverbsofHell says:

    What did I just read

  2. Zekiel says:

    I have rubbish dreams. So, Tetris is about all I can manage as a dream game.

    Boring.

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      WombatDeath says:

      I once had a dream that lasted about a hundred subjective years, in which I literally sat watching a painted wall dry. I woke up in a state of fury at my own subconscious for inflicting such tedious bullshit upon me.

      It took me about three quarters of this article to realise that this game doesn’t actually exist, which is a shame because it sounds like great fun. Someone competent, please implement this idea.

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        particlese says:

        Oh. ohhhHHHHHHHHhhhh! Man, I’m thick.

        I second the notion of this sounding like a fantastic game, and that dream of yours being awesome yet somehow simultaneously monumentally boring-sounding. Also, I love waking up mad at my own brain for certain kinds of nonsense it generates — after a day or two, anyway…

  3. ZippyLemon says:

    I was so excited for Fable 2 to come out that I had a dream a couple of weeks before that I was in Fable 2. And I was having just the most wonderful time. All I was doing was running around a very boring grassy hill, but I had such a sensation of contentment while I was doing it.

    Fable 2 did turn out to be a wonderful game and beautiful piece of art, so, in a way, the dream went on. I guess you could say Peter Molyneux moulded both my dreaming and waking conscious experiences into a state of child like bliss with his hype and the product that followed it which, to be fair, is even more than he promised.

  4. JB says:

    Alice, I reckon if you get on to old woss-his-name at Big Robot, they could have their next game (after Signal) here. Robots doing odd things in a beautiful environment? Sounds like their cup of hot beverage.

  5. Drib says:

    I recall seeing early videos of SimCity 4’s terrain editor and having a brief dream of being able to use my hands to mold mountains and valleys, and finding it amazing.

    Then the actual game came out and I remembered that I’m shit at making things look good.

    Ah well.

  6. Darth Gangrel says:

    I’ve had some dreams where I’m trying to run towards/away from something, but running with my feet isn’t much use. This quickly and inevitably leads me to jump/skip with my hands, doing the butterfly stroke, but with my feet up in the air and my arms going like a pendulum. Other dreams have me jumping or floating/flying through the air like in The Matrix. Freeform moving about is something I very much enjoy in life, in dreams and in the game.

  7. wcq says:

    For the longest time, my dreams have been haunted by a first person game where I traverse a physically impossible Gothic fantasy landscape while avoiding beasts of some description.

    I think it’s partly some sort of coagulation of all the games I only saw as cover art or pictures in magazines as a kid. Even playing some of those games later didn’t seem to dispel that fantasy of what they could be like, burned somewhere deep in my brain.

  8. Neuromancing the Boil says:

    Alice, did I ever tell you that this here jacket represents a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom?

  9. a very affectionate parrot says:

    I’ve been playing My Summer Car in most of my free time since it came out so I’ve been having oddly mundane dreams about life in the Finnish countryside and car repair.

  10. Person of Interest says:

    Great, now I’m going to have a dream where I’m in a room and everyone is sharing amazing dream game stories, and I’m embarrassed because my story will be “The game is a lot like Overwatch, except… well, ok, it’s just Overwatch.”

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    particlese says:

    I’ve had loads of game based dreams, but I can’t think of any at the moment which were themselves games or had me playing games in them. That one’s pretty awesome! I— ohhhhh, hang on a sec. Just remembered the first entry in my dream book. *busts out book and paraphrases for relative brevity*

    There was a bug in the alpha version of Guild Wars which let one play by making rapidly repeated login attempts. Since it was alpha, we (other players and I) could fly around in no-clip mode, and we watched a pvp match on a donut shaped, Sanctum Cay-like island. The devs went around zapping people out of the game with the slow fat lasers of Virtual-On’s Raiden character, but I kept logging back on and making bug reports. The fight moved to that sand-people canyon out of Star Wars IV (but it was still Guild Wars), but the devs cast a spell which blasted everyone out with a wave of sand. Then they noticed I had reported more bugs than the actual alpha players, so they offered me actual alpha access, and I woke up.

    I tried logging in repeatedly using the beta client I had in real life at the time, but it didn’t work. :(

    Edit: It was all in first-person when in-game, and I’ve just now got to thinking that maybe I should try that Dota VR spectator thing which got an article here a short while ago. Hmmm!

  12. Monggerel says:

    Interesting (apropos the dream game on which the article is based) – running extremely fast and vaulting obstacles in a variety of (usually natural) environments – either for fun with no purpose or fleeing from something or trying to chase something (someone?) down – is probably the most common recurring element in my dreams.

    Hm. A first person hunting parkour game where you’re playing as the wolf sounds pretty good to me.

  13. vahnn says:

    I would play the ever-living hell out of that game.

  14. Roxton says:

    Mandatory relevance:



  15. Sleepypete says:

    This so needs to be developed into a real game.

    It would be the Yorkshire Tea of parkour style racing games.

  16. April March says:

    I had a fever shortly before Skyrim came out. I had a fever dream that I was playing the game, and I could make changes in the game, but the map was displayed on my bedroom’s ceiling and I had to physically move to the spot in my bedroom to make the changes. So I decided to stay only in the space of the map that related to my bed because I couldn’t get up.

    From this account you might think I was super excited for Skyrim to come out, but I didn’t care at all. Nowadays, of course, I found a way to care even less.

  17. Kollega says:

    Whenever I end up dreaming about games that could be, they usually tend to be open-world action games with guns and cars. One time, I had a dream about an outrageously colorful Saints Row-style game where I was driving around an alien landscape in some kind of ridiculous truck, and very recently, I ended up dreaming of a GTA-style game where I was playing as an NKVD agent in a Stalinist dystopia, hijacking cars with just as much impunity as CJ or Niko.

    Yeah, I just really like open-world-with-guns-and-cars type of action games.

  18. death_au says:

    I had the flu when I played Undertale for the first time, and it gave me some really weird fever dreams where everyone spoke in black text boxes with different fonts and the normal rules of time and space didn’t apply so there was a constant threat of the world being destroyed and rewritten. I don’t remember much of the specifics, just that it was extremely unsettling and the feeling hung around for days afterwards.

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