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.