NewRetroArcade was an awesome demo experience that originally worked with the Oculus Rift. Over the years, the development team at “Digital Cybercherries” has gotten bigger and they surprised everyone by announcing a full retail release with the title “NewRetroArcade: Neon“. What made the original NewRetroArcade so awesome was the ability to customize and play your favorite emulated retro games in virtual reality. You could play practically any arcade or console game from the 80’s and 90’s, and the entire environment gave off a very strong 80’s feel. The experience is still pretty much one of my favorites for VR, so you could imagine my excitement when they announced that NewRetroArcade: Neon was going to have online and LAN multiplayer support.
The idea of playing emulated retro arcade and console games with my friends in a virtual 80’s hangout area sounded too good to be true. When I started asking questions about multiplayer support in the Steam community page for the game, I found out that this indeed was too good to be true:
Unfortunately, due to the way Libretro handles multiplayer, some cores support netplay, but others don’t. This includes pretty much all the currently supported cores. Players can meet up in eachothers arcades and play with the various other machines, but as of this writing multiplayer with ROMs is not supported. – Vermillion (Digital CyberCherries)
So there you have it, no online multiplayer with any of the emulated arcade games. This isn’t all bad news though, because there still is plenty to do while playing online with friends. There are lots of “physical” based games that support multiple players, such as air hockey, bowling, whack-a-mole, skee-ball, laser tag, arcade basketball, and even a generic “House of the Dead” style zombie arcade game. There are also tons of Easter eggs and gadgets to play with as well, so you will still be able to have a lot of fun with this, even if you can’t play a few rounds of online Street Fighter II.
NewRetroArcade: Neon is currently available for Steam and supports Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and also works without VR on any standard monitor. Even though this release is a little disappointing, it’s still a really cool virtual space to spend with friends. There is always a possibility that Digital Cybercherries can release an update to add online support with emulators. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and try to enjoy whats already here until that happens.