Everything I Know About Games I Learned From Timecop

Posted on 26th Mar 2010 at 11:27 by Joe Martin with 10 comments

Joe Martin
Did you ever watch a trailer or advert that really stuck with you for an awful long time? Possibly even longer than the actual thing it was advertising? If yes, then you'll understand what lead me to buy a copy of Dreams to Reality. It's an experience I've had a few times in my life, when trailers have used a particular blend of music and emotion to lodge themselves in my brain like an icepick and I've been unable to get them out.

The advert for Beyond Good & Evil is one of the best examples, if only because it happily turned out that the game was equal to the effect of the advert. The Jean Claude Van Damme film Timecop is a less good example because it actually turned out to be rubbish, but the trailer left a strong enough impression that I was still desperate enough to watch it a few years later when I didn't have to try and bluff my way into an 18 cert film. Maybe I was just an impressionable youth, but that film looked badass back when I was nine years old.

Everything I Know About Games I Learned From Timecop What I Learned From Timecop
Timecop; it's about a cop who travels through time

Either way, when I saw a trailer for Dreams to Reality on a PC Zone demo disc a few months before the game came out, I was struck by a megaton of curiosity. It was years later before I actually got a chance to buy the game since I didn't have a lot of cash to splash when I was younger, but I eventually found a copy of the game on eBay and picked it up. It arrived in one of those massive cardboard game boxes that all PC titles used to come in before we had DVDs and recycling.

And ever since then it's been sat on my stack of games. I don't think I've ever even tried it out, in fact. Too many other games keep getting in the way, I suppose. More than that though, there's also the fact that, if Timecop has taught me anything, then it's that it sometimes isn't worth the disappointment of exploring things which have had you curious for so long. There's a big part of me that would rather take this sense of confused wonderment at this game to my grave, rather than play it just to find out that it's as boring as so many other games from that era.

Everything I Know About Games I Learned From Timecop What I Learned From Timecop
This is the only screenshot of Dreams to Reality that I could find

And yes, I'm very confused about this game. Looking back at the trailer nowadays I have no idea why it appealed to me so much, nor what the hell is going on in it.

I sometimes toy with the idea of booting it up and trying it out just to see if it would work, but I never have. It's almost like it's a sacred object that I'm trying to preserve; something symbolic and innocent and naïve from my childhood. Also, something with a naked flying pan with a ponytail on the front of the box. Go figure.

No doubt there'll be a day a few months or years from now where I'll stick the CD in a drive and have a tinker with it through ill-advised boredom or curiosity overload. Then, I'll either find that it won't work at all or it isn't worth the effort, probably. Then again, maybe I'll find it's a completely forgotten classic that will have a lasting impact. Of those two options I think the former is more likely – there are far more Timecops in the world than there are Beyond Good and Evils.

Have you ever had a similar experience with a trailer or advert? Let me know in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
proxess 26th March 2010, 11:42 Quote
Yes, I did, nothing so old tho. Half-Life 2. I booted into my PC and it never let me down!
Bloody_Pete 26th March 2010, 11:55 Quote
The Assassins Creed advert with Teardrop by Massive Attack is the music, I love that advert more than the game as it's just so beautiful.
Hugo 26th March 2010, 12:32 Quote
Be honest, you only have to hear the name Timecop to know you want to see that film because it must be inherently bad-ass.
zimbloggy 26th March 2010, 14:14 Quote
The annoying thing is that when me and my brother weren't ever able to buy brand new games, we would look at the box and think that there were these great features and cool things that you could do, when it really wasn't that great.

I hate games sometimes because of this. All these features that are advertised turn out to be so "game-y". Assassin's Creed is a great example. They acted like (especially in the trailer) you could blend in with the crowd and lose your pursuants in a big group of priests, but what it turned out to be was that you pressed the "blend" button in any situation to keep the guards from attacking you and the "crowd" of priests was actually just four guys that you could only blend in when the guards didn't see you.
yakyb 26th March 2010, 14:14 Quote
assassins creed is a great timecop example

FF7 is a great BGE example
Artanix 26th March 2010, 16:28 Quote
megalomania on the mega CD, that stupid advert with the scarey face haha. can't find it on youtube though, that one stuck with me ages, turned out to be pants. so glad i didn't get a mega CD for it.
CardJoe 26th March 2010, 16:55 Quote
Brr. Just saying the words 'scary face' always reminds me of that Aphex Twin video - another song and video that stuck with me, though for all the wrong reasons.
Kris 26th March 2010, 19:36 Quote
damn it, i had already forgotten the awsomeness that is jcvd :D remember loving his movies 10+ years ago, until i found out about jet li. nothing like some nostalgia!

<hurries off to rent the dvd of timecop>
paisa666 29th March 2010, 15:32 Quote
Here you got some more :)

The first Age of Empires did this to me, advertising such great features as bulding a huge empire, an army and an economy but ofc in RTS you dont get the feel of expanding anything, but hey, it was 1997, i was 13 years old and the decision of getting the game was in my dad's hands, so when i saw the advert and the review (on a magazing ofcourse) it became an obsession for me.
kenco_uk 29th March 2010, 16:45 Quote

Tbh, it doesn't look like a classic.
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