Although my first experiences with video games revolved around 128k machines and their lovely, rattly cassette tapes, it’s the 16-bit era of gaming that I remember most fondly.
Late nights spent trying to sneak in a level or two of Super Probotector without my parents hearing. Four friends huddled around an Amiga playing Hired Guns. Trips to the shopping center where I’d stare longingly at the video game demos on display in the local branch of Dixons. These are all memories that came flooding back to me as I played through the first hour of Pixel Ripped 1995 for this week’s episode of Ian’s VR Corner.
You can watch me take a trip back to 1995 using the Oculus Rift S as some kind of makeshift time-travel device in the video below, where I give you my usual, nonsensical first impressions of the game.
Just like the previous game in the series, Pixel Ripped 1989, this sequel is a loving tribute to a long-lost era of video gaming. It’s full of heart and humour and despite its cartoony presentation, some of the situations you find yourself in will feel pretty authentic to those of us who grew up playing games in the 90s.
The first chapter sees you sat cross-legged on the floor playing a faux-Super Nintendo on a huge CRT TV, with your parents lightly bickering, just outside your peripheral. The second is set in a Blockbuster-a-like video rental store, where you have to bounce between games on one of those old display units that put the SNES side-by-side against the Megadrive.
While you’re in a different time period this time around, the gameplay in Pixel Ripped 1995 still remains pretty similar to the first game. You need to steer Dot, the game’s hero, through short homages to games of the era whilst trying not to get distracted, or worse, have your consoles turned off by furious family members.
When I covered Pixel Ripped 1989 on PSVR I criticised it for its low resolution, which caused me to strain my eyes on the small screen of the handheld Gear Kid console. There were no issues like this in 1995 though, because this time all the games are played on large televisions, rather than a tiny monochrome handheld. The Rift version with its higher resolution meant that everything looked especially sharp compared to 1989, but the larger in-game screens should make the PSVR version more comfortable to play as well.
While Pixel Ripped 1995 does provide a bit more game than its predecessor – there are six chapters here compared to 1989’s four – the action is still rather basic and at points it can border on the dull side of things. While each in-game video game features multiple references to mid-90s favourites that you’ll no doubt have fun spotting, their gameplay can be rather repetitive and even frustrating at times. This won’t be a problem for those of you who value nostalgia over action, but 1995’s video game rip-offs are nowhere near as good as the games they are trying to imitate and this can make them feel a tad tedious to play through.
If you want to indulge in your own little nostalgia-fest, Pixel Ripped 1995 is available right now on all good PC VR platforms. There is a PSVR version on the horizon as well, but as of yet the only clue to the release date of that is a rather cryptic very soon.
If you enjoyed this episode of Ian’s VR Corner, you can catch up with my previous adventures over on YouTube in our VR playlist, where I’ve covered Asgard’s Wrath, Ghost Giant and Five Nights at Freddy’s VR. You can also read our list of best PSVR games.