Pixel Ripped 1995 Review

Pixel Ripped 1995 is the latest game from the makers of Pixel Ripped 1989 , which was favorably reviewed by both Polygon and Rock Paper Shotgun . It’s a VR game that takes you back to the ’90s, when the gaming landscape was much simpler. Pixel Ripped 1995 uses the HTC Vive to take you to a school gymnasium, where you’ll be able to play as “Tommy” and “Cindy” on a variety of different courts. With a variety of different game variations, you’ll be able to play the game with friends on either a single player or multiplayer basis.

Although you might expect games from the nineties to look like they were rendered in the early noughties on a modern PC, some of them actually look better than what you’d find on Steam today—just look at Pixel Ripped’s logo and you’ll see what we mean.

Ever since the launch of the first smartphone, our expectations of mobile devices have increased. We’ve seen them evolve from simple and utilitarian to extravagant and powerful. We’ve seen phones transform into computers, and the same goes for tablets. We’ve seen phones turn into tablets, and the same goes for tablets. It’s a never-ending cycle of innovation that never seems to stop…

Pixel Ripped 1995 is a retro-themed virtual reality game that, as one would expect, follows in the footsteps of Pixel Ripped 1989. (2018). It’s a nostalgic journey that revisits the series’ distinctive “game inside a game” narrative approach while focusing on what made the fourth console generation so special: colorful platformers, side-scrolling beat ’em ups, and RPGs galore. While it is a little rough around the edges, it is ultimately a delightful and well-realized journey that brought me back to my childhood.



Pixel Ripped 1995, like the previous game in the series, is all about playing fictitious games based on classics from the period. That is, until things go strange and the game breaks free from the constraints of your family’s CRT and overflows into the real world.

Much of what we saw in the 1989 original and the 1995 sequel is here: sneaking in as much gaming as humanly possible for a child, distracting adults, and playing the numerous 2D/3D mashups when the overworld and the game world eventually meet throughout the narrative plot.

Even though you should definitely play the first one first, you don’t have to since everything is taught in the first five minutes. To summarize, you move in and out of these vintage and real-world gaming sessions as both the nine-year-old protagonist David and the badass game character ‘Dot,’ who seems to be modeled after Samus Aran, battling against the evil goblin-like Cyblin Lord.

I’ll come straight out and say it: Pixel Ripped 1995 is aimed squarely at me. I was ten years old in 1995, and I can’t deny that placing me barefoot in front of a color CRT, looking up at a demo station in a fake Blockbuster, or in an arcade playing one of those four-player side-scrollers struck a chord with me.

As a kid of the period, it’s easy to understand how ARVORE is paying tribute in its near-beer game versions—while remaining respectful of copyrighted material, of course. That said, you’ll feel like you’re playing Super Mario World (1990), Sonic the Hedgehog (1991), Super Metroid (1994), Streets of Rage (1991), The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991), Crash Bandicoot (1996), Star Fox (1993), and a whole lot more—all mashed up into the fun and strange meta game of you attempting to defeat the patently evil Cyblin Lord. Some of this interaction is based on distraction: for example, you may need to fire a baddie with your ‘real world’ Nerf gun while continuing to play the game with the d-pad and A/B buttons, making VR an important part of almost every 2D gaming interaction.


Granted, since Pixel Ripped 1995 has so many different game types, you never really have a chance to go deep into each one, which may seem a little rushed at times. I can totally respect its focus on making the mashups between the real and game worlds novel, fun, and well-paced, which helps to emphasize the fact that Pixel Ripped 1995 isn’t a glorified emulator for knock-off games, but rather a mind-bending VR adventure that’s busy enough trying to tell a heartfelt story while also providing you with a near-lethal concentration of nostalgia.


Still, I wish I could have stayed in each game for longer and at a higher difficulty level, but with a playing duration of around 5 hours, I can’t really complain. The diversity and creativity of the entire affair more than makes up for it, since you’re never sure what’ll happen next.

Pixel Ripped 1995 is a linear game that keeps you physically immobile almost 100% of the time, thus there’s little space for exploring beyond what’s on-screen, which I think was a lost opportunity. Although I had hoped for more opportunities to wander about for a more in-depth adventure this time around, ARVORE may be reserving it for a future sequel.


Pixel Ripped 1995 has a tendency to wander into some extremely ‘gamey’ terrain when a clearer dose of realism might be better served, if only to properly separate the two realities the narrative is portraying. I don’t want to come off as harsh—the core of Pixel Ripped 1995 is fantastic—but some of the other features that don’t directly impact gameplay are objectively detracting from the entire experience.

I was often perplexed as to why my objectively ‘real’ Nerf pistol had unlimited darts, why I can blast someone in the face and they don’t react at all, and why things regenerate around my blindingly dumb mother who engages in an apparently random loop of conversation. More refinement in these areas would have helped sell the actual world as’genuine,’ and set the scene for what would eventually become a 16-bit fever dream.


Looking at NPCs in the overworld, such as the Mom, Dad, and neighbor child, may be very unpleasant at times. Overworld character animations, while being on the cartoon side of the Uncanny Valley, can be very off-putting to watch, with facial expressions and mouth motions that seem more like a sock puppet than the Pixar-esque environment and characters would otherwise indicate.

Despite the fact that some of these factors make Pixel Ripped 1995 a little ragged around the edges, the game has great voice acting and good enough scripting to convey a meaningful, though simple, overall narrative.


Because you’re more often than not frontward-facing and seated in the game, there’s no artificial first-person mobility to speak of: no teleportation, free locomotion, snap-turning, nothing, zero, zilch.

Although it may reduce a player’s feeling of agency, it is the most pleasant method to play a VR game in the end. You will virtually always remain stationary, with the exception of a brief vehicle trip and a few times when you are hoisted into the sky, making it an easy game to recommend to novice and expert gamers alike.

A mere 48 years after the first home video game console (Atari 2600), we’ve arrived at the dawn of the next era of gaming. In the early 2000’s, Nintendo opened up a whole new market with the launch of the Gamecube. Today, if you ask for a gaming system, you’re likely to hear the names of PS4, Xbox One, or even the Nintendo NX. And while the current generation of consoles feels like they’ve been around forever, I think we’ll be talking about the current generation of gaming ‘long into the future.’.

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