Pixel Ripped 1995 is a VR title that nearly replicates a window to gaming past — a window you can wear it right on your face. It’s VR game within a game, following up Pixel Ripped 1989, a, um, VR game within a game. But where the latter narrowed its vision to handheld 8-bit games from the late ’80s, Pixel Ripped 1995 is a nod to 16- and 32-bit console and arcade gaming and its culture of the mid-90s. And it’s out on Steam today.
Calling itself a “love letter to classic gaming,” Pixel Ripped 1995 puts you in the light-up shoes of 9-year-old David. Set fully in VR, you use the motion-sensing controllers to put your mitts around four-button game pads or an arcade stick. It provides a first-person view on David’s world, playing 16-bit RPGs on CRT televisions as his mom complains in the background. Ah yes, this is all feeling very familiar to me.
As a child of the ’90s, Pixel Ripped 1995 strikes the right buttons. The accompanying trailer for the game also mimics the loud, sugar-infused commercials of the era.
The good ol’ days
But there is a certain moment in the trailer that tells me the developer got the gaming culture of that time just right. Two kids, in a store that appears to be a parody of Blockbuster, argue over which console is the best. Many old gamer fogies like myself still recall the critical and heated Sega versus Nintendo debates during recess. Watching the argument unfold while the kids are surrounded in shelves stocked with retro games does pour some of that nostalgic warmth back into my jaded heart.
Pixel Ripped 1995 takes you through a journey using retro gaming culture as its vehicle. As David, you play games all across several genres including space shooters, platformers, brawlers, and more. You should be able to spot some homages, ranging from Streets of Rage to Super Metroid. The game includes six levels, tasking you to enjoy some quality time with games “all while dodging the indignation of miffed parents through multiple environments.”