Visiting fantastic virtual worlds. Simulating amazing experiences you’ll never have in real-life. Having out-of-body experiences in cyberspace. Forget all that. What we really want to do in virtual reality is play old games.
And that is exactly what the MemoRift project by Roy Lazarovich allows you to do, creating a small virtual room with an NES and a CRT TV plunked down in front of you. There’s also a true-to-life IBM personal computer from the 80s which emulates old PC games like Prince of Persia.
While the irony of using paradigm-shifting technology for a retro game geek-out is not lost on me, the project is a decent stab at tackling the problem with retro revivalism: old games were intimately connected to the hardware they were played on. So much emotional memory is tied up in DOS prompts and blowing on carts. I wonder if we’ll all be nostalgic for those bulky, constrictive Oculus Rift masks years from now.