Manners and etiquette have been taught around the world for hundreds of years. Societies have built up large catalogs of deferential gestures and phrases that serve to make sure guests are taken care of, and hosts aren’t taken advantage of. Over time, these behaviors are performed without a thought to their origins, they are codified in books, and become strong signifiers of class and upbringing. The French word “étiquette” means “label”—one’s well-mannered behavior is seen to represent the social group one belongs to. If you don’t know these rules, it can be difficult to fit in, and doubly so if you happen to be an elephant.
Awkward Ellie is a game about one such elephant, a nervous one, one that has been invited to a human tea party. You’ll step into Ellie’s shoes (elephants wear shoes, right?) by strapping an Oculus Rift and a Playstation Move to your face, that latter of which serving as a virtual trunk. You can expect drinking tea, eating cakes, and not knocking over all the table settings to be much more difficult than usual.
The visuals here are simple: everything is low-poly, block-headed guests have big unblinking eyes, but the silly premise, colorful landscape and playfully arranged table lend a Dr. Seuss-like charm to the game’s little world. “For maximum fun,” the game’s website advises, “add tusks, ears, and a snout to your Move/Oculus gadget extravaganza.”
The Denmark-based team has submitted Awkward Ellie to the A MAZE. Award Festival in Berlin. If you happen to have an Oculus Rift, a Playstation Move, and a Mac, you can play Awkward Ellie with the download link on this page.