It turns out there's a direct channel to my heart. It's the words, "a Point & Click adventure game made out of clay and cardboard."
The Dream Machine is looking utterly beautiful. It's a hand-made game by Cockroach Inc., built in three dimensions, and then photographed. Below are screenshots and a trailer, which you absolutely must see.
The two man team - Anders Gustafsson and Erik Zaring - explain the beginning of the story:
"You play as Victor and Alicia, a couple who've just moved into a new apartment. While trying to get settled in, they soon discover that all is not as it seems in the quiet, unassuming apartment building..."
The desire to build the game in the real world came from wanting to stand out, and if you watch the video below you'll see that they've certainly achieved that. It's quite stunning. (I can't pretend not to have noticed there's a torn paper puzzle, but when it looks this pretty my crusty cynical shell begins to crack.)
If you want more details of how the game's being made, there's a meticulous development blog here, with lots of lovely behind-the-scenes shots. This is how all games should be made:
The result then runs in Flash in a browser, which makes me want to hug the universe. It does of course mean it's down to a single mouse button - no "look at" option in Flash's lunatic no-right-button regime. But it's not simplified - you can click and drag objects to place them in the world, or manipulate them.
It's being released in chapters, with the first part coming in a couple of months. I'm currently having a sneak peak at the first chapter, and while I'll save my impressions for later, I want to say this measured, objective comment: oh good bloody crikey, it's beautiful.
You can play a demo of the game here, and sign up for the beta to get access to the full first chapter here.