The Dream Machine

The Dream Machine

The Dream Machine is an award-winning episodic point & click adventure game made out of clay and cardboard.


The Dream Machine is a point & click adventure game for PC and Mac, comprised of six chapters. The visual are hand-crafted using materials such as clay and cardboard. It's created by the independent Swedish company The Sleeping Machine, founded by Anders Gustafsson and Erik Zaring.

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The story revolves around Victor and Alicia Neff, a young married couple who've just moved into a new apartment in a new town. Not long after, they begin to notice signs that all is not what it seems with the estate and its mysterious landlord, Mr. Morton.

The story is split up into six individual chapters, each chapter focusing on one of the inhabitants in the run-down apartment complex.

Creation Process

Most of what appears in The Dream Machine has been hand-crafter from materials such as modelling clay, Super Sculpey, MDF boards, cardboard, plaster, cotton wad, acrylic paints, carpet samples, popsicle sticks, fabrics, old circuit boards, glue, moss, bark, lichen, driftwood etc.

The developers build small sets that is then painted and lit, before being implemented into the game, giving the game a strange, skewed, tactile look.

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Release History

The first two episodes were released in December 2010. Chapter 3 appeared in October 2011. Chapter 4 appeared in August 2013. Development on the concluding two chapters is still in progress.

Initially The Dream Machine was only playable using a web browser, requiring the Flash plug-in and an Internet connection. In May 2012 the game was added to the Steam Play library of games, allowing users to play the game offline.

Connection Requirements

The browser version requires a constant online connection to facilitate cloud saving, background streaming of assets and statistics gathering that serve as feedback for improvements or adjustments to the game.

For the browser version we have a system that registers statistics for how many players actually solve any given puzzle in the game. If we note that we have a significant drop anywhere, we can add clues or re-think the problem entirely. We want the game to be challenging, but if we lose half our players on one puzzle, we have to do something about it.
We don’t track who did what. All that happens when you attempt an interaction is that a counter increases by 1. So if seven people try to smear baby oil on the radiator in the bed room we just see: "Bed room : Baby oil with radiator : 7".
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Awards & Honours

The Dream Machine was a finalist at the 2011 Independent Games Festival in the 'Excellence In Visual Art' category. Utilizing cardboard, clay and various everyday materials the developers put a lot of time and effort in maintaining a distinctive, hand crafted visual style.

"Well, we handcraft all the sets and props using everyday materials such as clay, cardboard, Popsicle sticks and cotton wads. In essence we build small dioramas that we then paint, light and photograph.[¹]

Links and References:

  1. Interview with Alternative Magazine Online (UK)

PC System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7
  • Processor: 1.8 GHz processor
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 350 MB HD space

Mac System Requirements

  • OS: OS X version Leopard 10.5.8, Snow Leopard 10.6.3, or later
  • Processor: Intel Mac 1.8 GHz processor
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 350 MB HD space