Virtual reality gaming has taken some time to come into its own. Initially believed to be a game-changing development that would revolutionize the very concept of gaming, it has instead become an intriguing but slow-developing medium. VR now appears unlikely to take over the world of gaming like we once thought it might. But that doesn’t mean it won’t establish its own place and become a popular and reliable option for gamers.
In getting to this point, VR is going to expose us to fantastic experiences that feel new and bold. Already it allows us to soar over cities, embody classic superheroes, and travel through alien worlds. But as wondrous as this all can be, some of VR’s most interesting potential might actually be in reviving old games or retro concepts in a new medium. The simple idea of 3D gaming in virtual space has the potential to make some of these older concepts newly exciting, and it’s with that in mind that we’re keeping our eyes on the following gaming concepts….
1. Fighter Pilot Classics
A fighter pilot classic might be anything from old arcade Space Invader games, to beloved Nintendo titles like Star Fox, to various realistic combat simulators from over the years. The bottom line is that more or less from the dawn of gaming, people have loved the idea of climbing into the cockpit and blasting away enemies. And as it happens, this can be one of the most immersive and realistic experiences in VR.
The idea of being seated in a cockpit actually solves some of the movement issues that complicate other VR experiences and enables some truly fantastic gameplay already. But combining this gameplay with reboots of these old, classic titles would make for excellent revivals. A well-designed Star Fox VR, in particular, would likely become one of the medium’s greatest titles.
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Bingo seems so “retro” to many people that they may not even think of it as a video game so much as something played in halls or on cruise ships. Bingo is not only a digital game though, but one that’s actually already been updated fairly successfully at online gaming sites. Often, these suites combine the core concepts of bingo with immersive themes that transport players to various settings and fantasies.
And as is demonstrated clearly by Foxy Games’ “Slingo” selection, there are also instances in which bingo has been combined with other games (in this case, slots) to make for more satisfying arcade experiences. In other words, bingo has been modernized successfully already, which makes VR something of a natural next step. This medium could take these bingo themes and hybrid arcade experiences and bring them to life in a way that would represent a fascinating evolution from old-school bingo halls.
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Not unlike bingo, Monopoly has already been turned from a retro, in-person game into a digital experience. In fact, there have been countless versions of this classic board game in recent years — in online arcades, in mobile app stores, and even in the same online gaming space that has revitalized bingo. But a well-made Monopoly game in virtual reality would be the most exciting thing to happen to board games in decades. The mere idea of being able to physically move around the board, purchasing properties, and interacting with various game developments, feels almost surreal. This too would be an unstoppable hit.
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4. Oregon Trail
This suggestion is perhaps somewhat more niche than our others, but it’s another one that would quickly have a large and enthusiastic following. Oregon Trail is one of the most beloved classic computer games of all time, and though it has been adapted over the years, nothing has quite captured the simple charm of its earliest versions. As is made clear by a review by Upload VR, there are already some virtual reality games that are clearly inspired by Oregon Trail, and successful at mimicking certain aspects of it. But a game fully based on the original that allowed players to travel the trail in person — managing resources, fording rivers, hunting, and avoiding unpleasant diseases — would be a delightful treat for a lot of people.
In time, VR will have plenty of success with brand new titles and adapted classics alike. For the latter category though, these would be some of the most interesting and exciting experiences the medium could produce.