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How Arcade Paradise VR Adapts The Business Sim For Quest

Arcade Paradise VR

Arcade Paradise VR dropped a new gameplay trailer and we interviewed Nosebleed Interactive's creative director to learn more about the business sim's adaptation.

Revealed during our Winter Showcase last month, Arcade Paradise VR sees you turning a disused laundromat into a '90s arcade. Featuring 39 playable arcade cabinets, publisher Wired Productions announced that 12 of them have been "fully realized" for VR, joining 27 traditionally controlled games from the original release. Between reflex shooters, basketball and more, here's the new trailer:

Speaking to UploadVR on a video call, we recently interviewed Nosebleed Interactive's CEO and Creative Director, Andreas Firnigl. Over the nearly hour-long discussion I learned that Arcade Paradise's development began as a racing game prototype.

All of our games since The Hungry Horde have mini-games in them. We were developing a racing game prototype with RPG elements, so we wanted loads of unlockable content. One aspect involved unlocking games to play on your computer. We built the prototype, had a bunch of playable games and when we showed it to [Wired Productions], they said, "Why don't you just do the games bit of it?" And so, we effectively started building an arcade collection.

Firnigl explains the studio needed a "strong meta game" that went beyond arcade collections like Sega Ages, wanting a narrative and player agency to keep you coming back. I'm told the laundromat setting was inspired by Firnigl previously working "unglamorous" jobs where he'd "think about cool game ideas" and "gamify everything you do to make the time pass faster." The aim was to find a starting job that wasn't aspirational.

Arcade Paradise VR screenshot

Questioning how Nosebleed balanced developing nearly 40 arcade games, Firnigl tells me they categorized them by three distinct types. "There's the showcase games which, if you think of it like a shopping centre, they were like the anchor stores. We had four or five of those that we spent quite a lot of time on," he responds. The rest are "mid-sized" and smaller games with varying complexities.

Was a VR port always in Nosebleed's plan? Firnigl says he "always wanted to do it," stating in the initial pitch document that it "would suit VR perfectly."

The plan was to make you feel present, make it feel authentically like an arcade. Not the 80s heyday, more when arcades found their feet in the early '90s before going into full decline. If we could have simulated sticky carpets, the smell of cigarette smoke and chewing gum, we would have.

"One of the things that we found worked incredibly well is, aside from the arcade games themselves, the activities feel so much better than they did on flatscreens," he later explains, citing physical motion with Touch Controllers to carry out actions, as opposed to pressing buttons on a standard gamepad. One example cited is how the light gun games feel better than a flat screen because "you can literally shoot at the screen" instead of controlling a cursor.

You won't be playing with friends in Arcade Paradise VR. The flatscreen version only supported local multiplayer and that's been dropped entirely on Quest.

"We don't have online multiplayer because that would have added an extra year of development time onto the schedule... it would cost a lot more and not give that much more benefit, which is a bit of a shame," Firnigl says.

He says he'd rather save multiplayer for another game and believes players will prefer original arcade games built for VR – with six new ones built for the VR version. The update includes new voice lines from Doug Cockle (The Witcher 3), though Firnigl noted a few cabinets from the flatscreen release were removed too.

"There's a couple that we've lost. We tried getting pool working and it just didn't translate very well in VR," he informs me, also stating that Darts "wasn't that much fun."

While Quest 2 is the target platform, I asked whether they'd wider VR support since PC and PS5 already have the flatscreen version. "We can’t wait to share more news in the coming weeks and months about other platforms... but, it's safe to say that we're excited to bring our virtual rags to arcade riches game to as many players as possible," I'm told by a Wired representative. As for performance, Firnigl's not ready to officially confirm details for Quest 2 and Quest 3.

A release window remains unconfirmed, though Arcade Paradise VR is "coming soon" to the Meta Quest platform.

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