Retro gaming is big business at the moment, from mini-consoles packed with 90s era videogames to indie titles inspired by those early sprites. For virtual reality (VR) fans this nostalgia became perfectly embodied in Pixel Ripped 1989, harking back to the NES and Sega Master System years. Developed by Ana Ribeiro and Brazilian studio ARVORE, the team has several titles planned with the next one in production being Pixel Ripped 1995. Only revealed a few months ago, during the recent Oculus Connect 6 (OC6) event the team showcased an experience which will be very familiar to anyone over 30.
While it is a standalone title, Pixel Ripped 1995 still continues the story from 1989, where you have to fight an evil goblin called the Cyblin Lord but this time you’re David, a 9-year-old kid from New Jersey. Keeping with the same mechanics as the original, Pixel Ripped 1995 is a mixture of 3D and 2D graphics, placing you in immersive locations to play videogames inspired by 90s classics.
The OC6 demo certainly encompassed that in droves, offering the third level to play through. This transports you to David’s bedroom at night, with lightning crackling outside and his mum trying to make him go to sleep. Of course, that’s not happening as David has a new console and TV in his room (big mistake by mum) and you need to complete a videogame inspired by Castlevania.
Naturally, David can’t be left alone to play happily, so just like Pixel Ripped 1989, the gameplay is all about juggling between both realms. When the mum disappears off to bed then it’s time to play, running through the 2D castle, jumping from platform to platform and shooting bats and skeletons along the way. To join the two worlds, whilst running through the wannabe Castlevania there are bells and other items which make loud noises, in turn waking David’s mum up. She’ll then switch on the hallway light which is your cue to do the classic turning off of the TV (whilst keeping the console on), pretend to be asleep, she’ll then mutter something about ‘hearing things’ and ‘going crazy’ before heading back to bed.
Pretty much anyone who loved playing videogames as a child knows this scenario in some form – less so now when playing online – perfectly representing the fun of staying up late to play and the frustration when getting interrupted. There’s even a boss battle at the end to properly test those expertly timed jumping and shooting skills when staring at a 14-inch portable TV (as was the way back then).
The level is a lot more sparse than those found in Pixel Ripped 1989, meaning aside from switching the TV off and on there’s nothing else to do or interact with. So unless you really struggle with 2D platforming it’s quite a short level, probably why it was chosen for the demo.
Much like Pixel Ripped 1989, VRFocus is looking forward to Pixel Ripped 1995 and the quirky gameplay it’s going to offer. From what’s been shown so far the sequel retains the atmosphere and humour of the original, whilst updating it with some awesome 90s mechanics and gaming references. With a launch planned for 2020 across multiple platforms including Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, Pixel Ripped 1995 is one to look out for next year.