I was born in 1990. When compared to a lot of my peers, I am a pretty young guy. One of the results of this is that by the time I was old enough to really enjoy gaming, things like the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo were already established realities, so arcades and arcade games weren’t a huge part of my childhood. I still loved going and playing big cabinets and some of the latest machines, but arcade-quality gaming was mostly attainable on my home console by the time I had matured enough to truly get into the industry as a fan.
That being said, nowadays I look back with a sense of longing lack of nostalgia. I’ve read the history books and watched documentaries – the socializing and competition wrapped up in the arcade atmosphere is sorely lacking from most gaming circles in the 21st century. Luckily, companies like Digital Cybercherries are doing their best to not only keep awesome company names alive, but to preserve the arcade as well. And not just new VR-only arcades.
“We had no real aims, no need to build a product in the regular sense- just a memory of standing abreast a room full of arcade machines tucked into a dingy room just shoehorned in at the side of the local bowling alley,” Joe Henson of Digital Cybercherries explains in an interview for Forbes. “A shared child-like wonder of what new games were to be had, just a coin-drop away from our fingers.”
And that’s exactly what the current incarnation of the idea, NewRetroArcade, exactly does. It’s an incredibly immersive and captivating portal to the past – an unflinching recreation of one of the greatest pastimes. The only kicker is that, as of now, it’s not available for any of the consumer VR headsets. Support stops at the Oculus 0.8 runtime and that’s it. Until now.
With NewRetroArcade: Neon, Digital Cybercherries are taking their nostalgic cyber trip to brand new heights. The latest incarnation will not only feature support for the HTC Vive on Steam, including expanded customization options.
“NewRetroArcade ships with a simple editor that will let you configure most everything about the environment, something we’re keeping for NRA: Neon, Henson stated. “Modifying the posters, arcade cabinet art, game cartridge art, radio stations, cassette tapes, and, ultimately, what games are actually available on the cabinets is all already exposed.”
The possibility of Steam Workshop support for even more options is something they may consider later down the line, but that wasn’t the focus for the current version of the experience. And since the waters are a bit murky surrounding the emulation aspects of games, tricky copyright landmines to tread, and other related issues – you probably won’t see NewRetroArcade: Neon in Oculus Home anytime soon – this is likely staying just on Steam. Oculus already has their partnered arcade experience.
What makes this new iteration even more exciting though, beyond that announcement, is the inclusion of multiplayer features. While they are still trying to iron out some of the kinks with real-time multiplayer – as in standing side-by-side with other people in the arcade at the same cabinet playing together – you can absolutely expect to see real-time watching at the very least. Word is still out on whether or not you have to place a quarter on the cabinet to call next or not. They’re still experimenting with Vive motion controller input methods as well, but they suspect that most people will likely opt for a traditional gamepad option instead.
There’s no release date yet for NewRetroArcade: Neon’s Steam debut, but excitement is certainly building. You can watch the fan-made trailer for the existing NewRetroArcade experience above to get a small glimpse at future potential.