Sound The Inception Horn For Pixel Rift


Remember having a Game Boy and trying to play it at every available opportunity? Hiding it under your desk or duvet just to get that extra slice of time with your latest cartridge of dreams? Why, when I was a whippersnapper…

… actually when I was a whippersnapper I did nothing of the sort. The Game Boy belonged to my brother and I was allowed to go on it if I paid him or if I traded him something interesting or valuable*. It seems Ana Ribeiro did not have to contend with that sort of nonsense as her semi-autobiographical game Pixel Rift has her perching a Game Girl across her knee as she plays, trying to conceal it from her teacher.

Oh yes, it’s also a game within a game. I should probably have said that.

In Pixel Rift (the Oculus Rift experience) you play as Nicola, a girl obsessed with Pixel Rift (the game). As Ribeiro explains, as you play further through the game the consoles you play on change as well as ‘the time periods and settings. It’s a history of consoles paired with a more personal element – the experience of growing up playing games.

An alpha demo’s up on the official site, though it demands an Oculus DK2.

By the time we encounter Nicola in this video, she’s already at the Game Boy and spitball stage of life. While it can’t capture the immersiveness you’d find with the Oculus Rift I’d still urge you to watch the video, although if you’re short on time start at 4:19 because if you thought game-within-a-game sounded exciting, augmented reality within virtual reality is going to be Quite The Experience!

*This happened again with the N64 but I wised up and neatly sidestepped it with the Game Boy Advance by playing a promotional game about Ribena berries obsessively for weeks so that I topped the leaderboard and won a GBA of my very own.


  1. Limbs says:

    That looked amazing. I’m far from convinced about the value of virtual reality, but when the AR stuff came in to play, my jaw dropped.

    She commented on the video saying she was planning a Kickstarter cammpaign. I sincerely hope that goes well.

  2. manny says:

    Google glass eat your heart out, pretending to be in the real world when it’s really a video game is way better. Amazing footage.

    Count me in for a copy in the coming kickstarter.

  3. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    That’s amazingly cool. I don’t even know what else to say really, other than I hope the entirety of the game can keep up that much cleverness.

    • Limbs says:

      That was my one concern too. I hope there’s more to the game than just that one hook of the game interacting with the AR game within the game (that’s a really confusing sentence).

  4. manny says:

    This may be the first killer app for the Oculus Rift. That footage in the Ana Ribeiro interview where as a baby she’s being thrown up in the air was amazing.

    She needs to get a wikipedia page up asap.

  5. Hypnotron says:

    I wonder if one of the levels is playing a game on your smartphone while driving a car.

    • Heliocentric says:

      I swear… I should just turn off autocorrect, the number of dogs I kill changing ‘have’ back to ‘gave’ and vice versa.

  6. Niko says:

    Right, how do I get one of those Oculus things…

  7. WhatKateDoes says:

    It’s really good, I stumbled across it quite early, and whilst as a 2D concept its merely a fun little quirky idea – in VR its a treasure. I felt an appropriately child-like sense of wonder when – after adapting to being in the VR environment of the classroom and playing the gameboy with its 2D display in “my” hands.. the game asplodes outward from the display and is suddenly up there in front of you. Fabulous.

  8. CookPassBabtridge says:

    I hated school and being back there felt horrible. I wasn’t naughty either so I resented the reminder of wishing I had been. Also I’m out of coffee and never ever bloody anything ever. To quote Bottom.

    It’s good, I just don’t want to play it, though the demo stops just after the school bit. I liked college more. That could be good.

  9. Spoon Of Doom says:

    I want an Oculus Rift so bad, but I’m not sure whether the asking price is really worth it – considering it’s still “just” a dev kit you can get, not the finished product. This game certainly presses the “screw the price, I want this NOW!”-part of my brain though.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      I’m really glad I bought my DK2. In all with shipping it cost £270 or thereabouts. A good pound to dollar exhange helped, but the experiences I’ve had in it, as well as the fun of being ‘in at the start’…

      Put it this way- there was no way I could wait and I’m glad I didn’t. For me DCS World alone was worth the price of admission, and new demos and games continue to emerge, some amazing ones like Cafe Ame that I hope RPS looks at. Its the stuff that does something special with the tech, beyond being just a game with headtracking, and have something that really twists your melon. Those are special, and Cafe Ame is one of them. Really short but such an impact.

    • Martel says:

      For me it comes down to: can I afford to buy a 2nd one when the consumer version comes out? I cannot, so I have been skipping the dev kits. Painfully skipping that is as it’s taking all my willpower to resist buying one.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      i’ve got a DK2, and it’s good, but I’d wait for the consumer version if I was you. At the moment getting anything to work at all can sometimes take a lot of trial and error and switching of monitors. There’s not that many games available yet, and even those that do, like HalfLife 2, aren’t really designed with VR in mind.
      The DK2 is a really good start, but by the time the consumer version is out there’ll be a lot more software, and the few remaining problems with the hardware (it still needs more resolution, and it’s not super comfortable for long periods) will be sorted.
      Of course, if the final version has a 4k screen as predicted, you’ll also need a beefy PC to run it.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    This looks ace and it’s right at the top of my ‘want to play this on a Rift sooooo bad’ list, even before Elite: Dangerous and friends.

  11. MirzaGhalib says:

    Pippa, if you were to write a novel based on your childhood attempts to secure funds to play your brother’s videogames I am sure I’d be the first to buy it.

  12. RARARA says:

    It’s already better than Gone Home, which had cartridges but the console was missing (you could see the wires trailing out from behind the TVs)!

  13. DrManhatten says:

    Another fine example on how stupid the whole VR / Occula rift movement is. If that’s the best they can come up for persuaing people to wear a freaking 500lbs on your head and there is absolute no hope for it.


    I was genuinely amazed at how you could spitball everyone and they respond. That girl’s trouble!

  15. wishinghand says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but what’s the point of an Oculus Rift youtube video? Is there a way to view it in 3D if you have one?