Retro Games That Need A Virtual Reality Reboot

Gamers, if you're tired of just sitting at home and twiddling your controller, the future looks quite promising. If you've been keeping an eye on the Oculus Rift, the HTC Valve, or even the Merge, you know that we're getting closer to immersive, off-the-couch gaming than ever before. It's going to be a weird and disorienting world for a while, so what better place to start than the games that you already know and love? Here are some retro classics that would probably be pretty awesome making the jump to virtual reality.

The Legend of Zelda

There are tons of sword and sorcery games out there, but few are as memorable than The Legend of Zelda series. It doesn't matter if you're shooting Octoroks with your laser sword in the first Zelda, or digging your blade into the heads of unsuspecting Moblins in Zelda II, Hyrule is the kind of fantasy world that every gamer would love to wander around in for a while. Give us enough living room space to slash our way through a few solid dungeon bosses, and we'll probably never play another game. Just don't make us fight any of those terrifying Wallmaster hands.

Duck Hunt

On the surface, Duck Hunt is about shooting ducks to practice your crack shot aim, but underneath it all, it's really a game about being emasculated by your condescending dog. Virtual reality needs some kind of gun-based title for those of us who aren't really interested in storming the beaches of Normandy, but still like to shoot stuff. Not only would it be good practice for more intense VR stuff, but we'd probably hook it up to one of those newfangled meat printers so we could actually eat our spoils. Ever have duck pizza? Totally worth the effort.

Ecco the Dolphin

Now that we have shooting and swordplay established in the VR world, we need a solid game that focuses on swimming, and there's no better underwater game series than Ecco. A time-traveling dolphin that rams stuff to death is not only the hero that we want, but the hero we need. This is the kind of game that would be just as much fun for bystanders to watch, because seeing someone emulate a dolphin while strapped into an unwieldy headset is probably the pinnacle of modern entertainment.


The world's first video game about having your soul crushed by the responsibilities of work, Paperboy has some pretty awesome potential if it had a virtual reality/bicycle contraption. The use of a stationary, VR-equipped bike would eliminate the need for a clunky, full-body virtual reality setup. It would also promote physical fitness for the unfortunate paperboy, who has to avoid a surreal neighborhood full of more crippling dangers than the average war zone. You could always save a lot of money by just riding your bike outside and throwing newspapers at people, but where's the fun in that?

Smash TV

There will probably be hundreds of shooters that make their way into the VR gaming scene, but my favorite retro shooter is Smash TV, which encourages you to mow down thousands of one-hit weirdos on live TV in order to win a cash prize. It's chaotic madness at its finest, and virtual reality would greatly simplify the two-controller control scheme of the NES original. Sure, you'll be spinning around in frantic, sweaty circles as murderers swarm you from all directions, but that's better than having to use two control pads at once, right?


Forget about the shooters for a moment, and think vampires and monsters. Picture a life-or-death struggle against an army of skeletons, bats, swamp monsters, and vampires. If you feel that there's a certain amount of satisfaction in your average headshot, Castlevania triples that by doing it with a whip. While doctors may never understand what whipping thousands of undead monsters might do to your arm, it'll definitely be fun to find out. Just don't eat the wall meat—it's been there for like five hundred years.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Now that we're immersed in another reality, let's play around a bit with disorientation. Sonic's unholy lust for golden rings propels him at dizzying speeds through vibrant landscapes to a Michael Jackson-inspired soundtrack, but could you, puny human, hold up under the strain of that velocity? Racing cars isn't really something that would make a truly interesting VR game, because you can just get into a real car if that's what you're into, but running at insane speeds and spinning into evil robots? That's the kind of thing that virtual reality dreams are made of.

Mortal Kombat

With everything else out of the way, the only thing left is virtual fighting, and we don't mean Virtua Fighter. If you're going to do a VR fighting game, you have to go all the way to the heart of fighting games, and by that we mean actually reaching into a chest and pulling out a warm, beating heart. Soul Calibur and Killer Instinct are nothing compared to the no-nonsense gore of the original ultimate fighter, Mortal Kombat. We're not sure how a player would actually experience the fatalities from the inside, but that's for programmers and cardiologists to figure out.

Low G Man: The Low Gravity Man

An under-appreciated gem among retro games, Low G Man has the most gloriously redundant video game title of all time. While its name alone is not enough to justify its conversion into a VR classic, the game's unusual mechanics would make for an interesting game experience. First, you freeze an evil robot. Then, you stab it with a spear, all while jumping 30 feet high, because you, my friend, are The Low Gravity Man. Trampoline accessory required.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors

VR would be tragically incomplete if it didn't have at least one zombie-killing game. While hordes of the undead are a problem in Zombies Ate My Neighbors, you also have to deal with spiders, mad scientists, and a giant, angry baby as you wander through a Tim Burton-like, VR vision of suburbia, trying to save your hapless neighbors from certain death. It's all good, though, because these 16-bit zombies are apparently defeated with a water gun. Just stock up on Bubble Tape, Warheads, and Soul Asylum CDs before you put on your VR headset and start shooting zombies.