I Just Visited a Virtual Arcade and It Was Amazing
I am a sucker for new technology. When 3d television sets were becoming more affordable, I immediately picked one up. The second I heard about the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset on KickStarter, I purchased one and I was one of the first people to order an Oculus Rift dev kit 2 when it was announced. Sure, 3d television sets are kinda gimmicky, but not virtual reality. VR can feel sort of gimmicky when you don’t have the right game or app for it, but there is one special experience someone made that convinced me VR is here to stay. Describing it doesn’t do it enough justice, but the name of this app is simply called “NewRetroArcade” and it is created by a brilliant team that call themselves “Digital Cybercherries“.
So what is NewRetroArcade? It’s basically a “virtual arcade” that allows you to freely walk up to any arcade machine and start playing as if you were at a real arcade. What makes it so cool is the combination of using the Oculus Rift with a game controller and freely looking around to soak in the atmosphere. You eventually forget where you physically are and it feels like you are hanging out at this really cool 90’s themed arcade “hangout”.
These guys have an excellent taste in games, movies, and even music, because they have awesome 80’s and 90’s pop-culture references everywhere. I can easily imagine myself chilling out and having a few beers with this dev team, because every design element just screams “cool”. There is a boombox that is streaming really good internet radio stations, and there are endless “Easter eggs” of cassette tapes lying around with music to listen to. You might find a cassette tape of one of your favorite songs lying casually around somewhere and you can grab that cassette and manually place it in the boombox to change the song playing! There are also Super Nintendo (aka Super Famicom) cartridges laying around, and you can plug them into a Super Nintendo console and hold a virtual SNES controller and play the actual games! When you press buttons on your pc gamepad, you can see the buttons on the controller being pushed at the same time! The walls are covered with movie posters from classic action and sci-fi movies from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s and the carpet has a “black light” glowing pattern to it. You can see beer bottles, soda cans, and tons of random objects scattered about, which gives it a somewhat “dirty hangout” type of look. This makes you feel like you are at a friends private arcade built at his house more than an arcade business type of setting, which I’m totally ok with.
I haven’t even began talking about the obvious part about the arcade yet, which are the arcade games themselves. I am not sure of how many games there are in total, but you can find games such as Pac-Man, RoboCop, and Street Fighter II, and they are all ran by being emulated through M.A.M.E., which is a popular arcade emulator that has been ported to many modded consoles and other devices. There is so much to love about this app and I can’t believe they aren’t charging a single dollar for it. This feels like the future to me. When you walk up close to the arcade machines, you can see all of the artwork on the machines, and the “scanline” effect on the arcade monitors feels 100% accurate. There is so much to love about this, I can guarantee that this will be everyone’s favorite Oculus Rift experience once the consumer version is released. This app will work while playing in 2d on your monitor, but the true magic of it all is using the Oculus Rift and feeling like you are actually there. If you just so happen to own a dev kit, stop what you are doing and try this immediately!