Skip to main content

Atari is publishing its first VR game, and it’s coming to PSVR2

Legendary game giant Atari is breaking into VR. This summer, the company will publish Pixel Ripped 1978, the third entry in the standout VR Pixel Ripped series. It will launch on PC and PlayStation 5 and be compatible with both PlayStation VR 2 and Meta Quest 2.

Pixel Ripped 1978 - Announcement Trailer

Pixel Ripped is a standout VR series that pays homage to classic game eras. They generally tell coming-of-age stories built around the changing tech of the time, tying pivotal moments in gaming’s growth to its young main characters. Previous installments have explored 1989 and 1995, but the new one is going back even further to explore 1978 — and that’s fitting considering Atari will publish it.

Hands in VR control an Atari 2600 joystick in Pixel Ripped 1978.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Rather than following a kid growing up with games, the story revolves around a woman named Bug, who’s working at Atari during the early days of the gaming industry. She’s tasked with creating and testing some of the company’s most iconic games. While players get to control classic games in VR (in a sort of game-within-a-game), Bug also has the power to jump into the game worlds themselves and debug them. It’s a meta narrative that celebrates Atari’s history through its classic games.

Digital Trends went hands-on with the game at this year’s Game Developers Conference. In the slice I played, I sat in Bug’s office playing a 2D side-scroller that drew inspiration from Atari classics like Pitfall! At certain points, I could warp into the game world, which put me in a pixelated, almost Minecraft-like space where I could shoot dragons with an arm blaster and solve puzzles that would in turn fix “bugs” in the game.

The final moments are what really get me excited. For a moment, I flash back to 1972 and sit in a living room playing Breakout on Atari’s old Video Pinball console. I clutch a recreation of its wheel controller to play on a TV in front of me. At one point, someone walks into the room and stops in front of the TV to talk to me, forcing me to crane my body around them to see the screen — just as I used to do as a kid when my parents would interrupt a game session. Those moments feel true to life, and the developers at Arvore note that there are plenty more moments like that in the full game.

A person in first-person VR shoots a pixelated enemy in Pixel Ripped 1978.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While Atari isn’t developing the game itself (it’s being handled by Arvore), the adventure makes some direct references to the company’s past. Players will get to explore Atari’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, and find references to its catalog of classic games. Arvore CEO Ricardo Justus notes that the partnership has allowed the series to better pay off its nostalgic premise by actually drawing on real gaming history, rather than inventing its own version of it.

“We have always paid homage to our favorite games from the past in this series, but now, in Pixel Ripped 1978, thanks to our partnership with Atari, we can actually reference the fantastic games and consoles from that era,” Justus says in a press release. “I’m incredibly proud of what the team is creating and can’t wait to have fans and newcomers to the series alike be able to play it!”

A player explores an area called Grooveland in Pixel Ripped 1978.
Atari

At GDC, the surprising story of how the collaboration came together was revealed. Arvore was already deep in development before partnering with Atari. At last year’s DICE summit, one of the members of Arvore accidentally bumped into the Atari team during the show and struck up a conversation about the project, asking if they could potentially license some IP for the game. Instead, Atari said it wanted to publish the project outright. According to the developers, the studio was just weeks away from revealing the game at that point and scrapped the announcement to spend an additional year of development time on it to deepen the Atari collaboration.

That decision seems to have paid off based on what I’ve played so far. There are a lot of little Easter eggs for game history buffs to pore over, and I’ve already caught tons of references to games like Frogger. With the game jumping back in time to dive deeper into Atari’s history, it seems like it’ll be a full celebration of the 1970s gaming scene recreated in VR.

Pixel Ripped 1978 launches this summer and will be compatible with both Meta Quest 2 and PSVR2.

Editors' Recommendations

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
Sony’s cloud handheld, the PlayStation Portal, will only stream certain games
Astro's Playroom booting up on the PlayStation Portal.

Sony has unveiled the price for its upcoming cloud gaming handheld, as well as an official name for the device: PlayStation Portal. However, one significant caveat to its functionality might sour people's interest in the handheld: It only supports PS4 and PS5 native games that the owner purchased.
PlayStation VR2 games can't be streamed to PlayStation Portal, which does make sense. More bafflingly, though, is the fact that the PlayStation Blog post states that "games that are streamed through PlayStation Plus Premium’s cloud streaming are not supported." That means you shouldn't pick up PlayStation Portal expecting to stream some PS3 and PS4 games available through PlayStation Plus Premium to the device. That's certainly an odd omission when it's currently PlayStation's most notable cloud gaming effort.
Although Microsoft is more closely associated with cloud gaming, Sony beat it to releasing a dedicated cloud gaming device. PlayStation Portal was first teased as Project Q during May's PlayStation showcase, but now, a PlayStation Blog post more clearly explains what we can actually expect from the handheld. Most importantly, we learned that PlayStation Portal will cost $200, which puts it underneath the cost of a Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series S, and other cloud gaming devices like the Logitech G Cloud Handheld.
As for what you're getting for that price tag, it's essentially a decent screen attached to two halves of a DualSense controller. The controllers on each side share all the functionality of the DualSense, including things like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. In-between is an 8-inch LCD screen that streams games over Wi-Fi at up to a 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second. All in all, that's fairly solid for a cloud gaming handheld that is this cheap.
Sony confirmed that the PlayStation Portal will have a 3.5mm audio jack, but also used the same blog post to unveil two new wireless audio options. There's the Pulse Elite wireless headset that features a retractable boom mic and a charging hanger and Pulse Explore wireless earbuds that offer similar audio quality in earbud form.
None of these products are available for preorder or have a specific release date just yet, but they are all expected to launch before the end of the year.

Read more
The 7th Guest VR is an ingenious reimagining of a PC gaming classic
Ghost stand around a living room in The 7th Guest VR.

We’re currently living in a golden age of video game remakes. Just this year, we’ve gotten industry-defining modern revisits of classics like Dead Space and Resident Evil 4. Though even more exciting is a much quieter wave of retro reimaginings that are polishing up foundational classics that newer audiences might not know. We got a new take on Colossal Cave in January and a solid System Shock remake in March, but the most fascinating project is still to come: The 7th Guest VR.

The 7th Guest VR - Announcement Trailer | PS VR2 Games

Read more
The best traits to level first in Remnant 2
Three characters shoot at a boss in Remnant 2.

Much of Remnant 2's leveling process is based around increasing the ranks of traits that you'll discover throughout your journe. This will give you plenty of opportunities to build a character that best matches your playstyle. In the game's opening hours, however, each character will begin with just a few traits that can be leveled, and your equally limited trait points can make deciding which of those you want to invest in somewhat of a challenge. In this guide, we'll give you our opinion on which of these are best to focus on for optimizing the early part of your adventure. Here are the best traits to level first in Remnant 2
Best traits to level first in Remnant 2
When beginning the game with a new character, you'll have only five traits – one archetype trait exclusive to the archetype you've chosen and four core traits that every character begins with. Your archetype trait will level automatically as you play with that archetype, so you don't need to do anything with that trait. Instead, let's take a look at the four other core traits and discuss which ones are best to invest in.
Vigor
Vigor improves your overall health, which means you can take more damage before dying. This is likely the most important trait to pump points into, especially when first setting out into the dangerous world of Remnant 2. Enemies hit hard (especially bosses) and you have limited healing options during these opening hours, so you'll need every bit of extra health you can get. It wouldn't hurt to prioritize this trait until you get it to level 10, actually, as you'll be able to get plenty more points as the game progresses, and being able to take a few more hits against the game's first few bosses is immensely helpful. This is even more true for Challengers in team compositions where they'll be tanking and spending a lot of time in melee range.
Endurance
Endurance improves your overall stamina, which will allow you to run and roll more during combat. This is a great option to level up if you're playing a character that is focused on melee, as it will allow you to run more when you get surrounded or roll out of the way of enemy attacks without worrying as much about your stamina meter. For primarily ranged players, though, it's a bit less useful, so you're probably better putting those points elsewhere early on. As with Vigor, though, Challengers will likely benefit most from the trait due to their tendency to be a group's close-quarters combat specialist.
Spirit
Spirit improves your weapon mod power generation. This helps you to earn the ability to use your weapon mods more often in combat, meaning that its usefulness is entirely dependent on how useful your weapon mods are to your build. At the beginning of the game, your weapon mods will be most helpful during boss battles, and you're likely to end them before generating a second use of your mod anyways. Because of this, Spirit is likely better saved for leveling later on so that you can focus on survivability first. Gunslingers, however, are likely to see this as a good option in group settings because they're designed to be a DPS powerhouse.
Expertise
Expertise improves the cooldown speed of your archetype skills. This will aid you in using these skills more frequently, which can be a help against bosses and packs of deadly foes. However, like with Spirit, the usefulness of this trait in the initial few hours of the game is limited due to the already long cooldowns and the speed at which many bosses are likely to fall anyways. While Vigor should still be a priority for most classes, Expertise can be a particularly worthwhile trait for Medics who are playing with a group, as it's vital to keep their healing capabilities available as much as possible.

Read more