“Pixel Rift” takes you back in time to being a mischievous eight-year-old, and lets you play a 2D Game Boy within a 3D world
“Pixel Rift” is an Oculus game with a very novel retro concept: It uses new technology (VR) to mimic the experience of enjoying old-school games. Pixel Rift puts you in the body of a kid playing a Game Boy in class.
You can look around, interact with your classmates, play a spitball-throwing mini-game, take a look at the teacher yelling at the class to pay attention (this actually evoked some body sensations and feelings of remembering being a kid in class!) and, finally, playing a 2D game within the 3D game.
The game’s makers describe it thusly:
A MADCAP, RETRO HOMAGE TO GAMING HISTORY
Follow the life of computer gaming addict Nicola as she battles through the ages to play her favourite game Pixel Rift.
A game within a game, Pixel Rift is original, fun and full of surprises that will keep you guessing along the way. You will venture from living rooms to classrooms, playing consoles, handhelds and even arcade machine as you fight the mundane distractions of life so that you can get down to what’s most important – gaming! From the black and white 2D sprites of the 70s to the bright and colourful 3D graphics of the 90s, Pixel Rift truly is a nostalgic and mad trip down memory lane.
The immersive effect of back being eight years old in an elementary school classroom is impressive enough. But where it really takes off is when your avatar picks up her Game Boy and you get to play a Mega Man-style minigame-within-a-game… which then, during the boss fight, (SPOILER ALERT) breaks frame and extends into the 3D world, requiring items from the 3D world to complete the 2D game.
The ability to experience being a kid again and then play the game-within-a-game was quite striking, demonstrating the potential of the Oculus Rift for novel immersive experiences and actual gaming. Along with the games I’ve been reviewing (Vanguard V and Titans of Space), it’s an incredibly impressive, top-tier example of what the Oculus is capable of.
You can get a one-level demo here—it’s going to be expanded later, it seems, presumably as a paid edition. And looks well worth it!