Everything I Know About Games I Learned From Timecop

Written by Joe Martin

March 26, 2010 // 11:27 a.m.

Tags: #beyond-good-and-evil #cryo-interactive #dreams-to-reality #jean-claude-van-damme #rare-games #retro #ubisoft

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.
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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.

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