Developer interview: Pixel Ripped 1978

As fans of both VR and retro gaming, we’ve really enjoyed ARVORE’s Pixel Ripped games. Now, with Pixel Ripped 1978, they’re getting ready to join forces with Atari and explore a slice of the legendary brand’s history in virtual reality. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to chat with ARVORE and Atari on the game – here’s our interview on Pixel Ripped 1978.

We’ve seen Atari take its iconic lineup into a few novel directions in recent years. How did the collaboration with ARVORE on Pixel Ripped 1978 come about?

Releasing a game with Atari is an honor, me and the team were concerned about representing as well as possible the beloved games of our childhood. Surprisingly, the Atari team was open to our vision, letting us explore their IPs like never before. For instance, when we decided to explode the breakout game from the television and add bugs to a Food Fight cartridge, they were totally cool about it and loved the idea of mixing their games with our world.


Previous Pixel Ripped games have always paid homage to classic gaming eras, but with Pixel Ripped 1978 you have direct access to the source material itself. How does this impact the design process?

It is something we, as developers, always wish for. On previous Pixel Ripped episodes, we had to use fake names to represent game titles and characters. Now, for the first time, we are able to have a cartridge from well known titles like Food Fight, Centipede and Haunted House. Players see themselves in VR from the inside of Atari’s Office while employees cross the corridor mentioning the actual names from classics like Asteroids, Adventure and Food Fight. We were able to use not only the games but also all Atari consoles, poster arts, etc. It is what Pixel Ripped is about, recreating the nostalgic moment and being able to use real assets. It just adds to experience and makes our lives so much easier as developers.

The Pixel Ripped games are quite popular within the VR community – what can they expect from the third entry in the series?

Each installment in the franchise is a love letter to the history of gaming, and we try to capture that moment in time and share with players. The first Episode was focused in 1989, the era of the gameboy. And in the second episode we are in 1995, the era of 16 Bit games, the Sega and Nintendo battle and the release of the first Playstation. Players are expecting us to keep moving forward in the timeline but instead we are going back to 1978 – this is the only episode in the series where we travel to the past and show the origins of the Pixel Ripped Universe.

Another unique thing about this game is that we are letting players explore the game world as Dot in first person. On previous games, players would enter the game world in cutscene moments, players love that so much that they started asking in reviews for this feature to happen and we finally managed to add it into the game.


They are now able to move around, explore, battle, talk to NPCs and, most excitingly, use Dot’s power to break things into pixels and use it to change the game world and progress in history. The 2D game and the 3D world are connected and actions players do inside the game now interfere in the 2D platformer.

On previous Pixel Ripped games we had the real world character always as a child – in Pixel Ripped 1989 you were a 9 year old girl playing in a classroom and in Pixel Ripped 1995 you were David, also a 9 year old kid, playing video games during holidays at home. On this Pixel Ripped, you are controlling an adult for the first time in the series and not any adult, but the creator of the Pixel Ripped game inside Atari.

How would you explain the significance of the year 1978 in Atari’s history?

In the Pixel Ripped series we are not trying to reproduce history, instead we are paying homage to an era of Video Games. Each episode is a love letter to the history of gaming, and we try to capture that moment in time and share with players. Here, we are showing the origin of the Pixel Ripped Universe, which happened inside Atari where the creator of the game (Bug) was developing the first title. And although 1978 is the title of this game, we travel back in time, from 1972 to 1984. 1978 is a really important year for the narrative of the game, but for specific reasons that I can’t tell without spoiling the game.


As retro gaming enthusiasts, how has working with Atari been for you as a development team?

The first memory I have as a child is my father arriving at home with something he claimed would control the television. It was a big event in my house, and I will never forget how important it sounded, and how important it was. Since then all our lives have changed. Atari was the first video game console that me and my brothers had, and because of it we fell in love with games and it is probably the reason why I’m developing games to this day.

Not only me, but the whole team was very excited to have the opportunity to make this game together with Atari. We had a lot of fun building it up and bringing back all the nostalgic memories from our childhood. As gamers growing up playing Atari classics, this company is very close to our heart.

After the fantastic Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration, what are some new sides of Atari that gamers can expect to see in Pixel Ripped 1978?

We are really excited to push the boundaries of classic Atari games to a new era of gaming. This is the first time we had the opportunity to explore well known game titles in virtual reality and adding new mechanics to it, turning it into a totally new and fresh gameplay experience. To give you an idea, players will be able to help the main character from Yar’s Revenge, on a quest to find back his wings inside a Graveyard, or play Pong mashed up with Breakout inside your living room after the game characters have jumped out from the television.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: