Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Top Ten Favorite Games: #5—SSX Tricky

It’s tricky to rock around the clock...actually I really hate that song. Funny because it’s the theme song of the sports game I’ve spent the most time with. Extreme sports game I should say, but I hate that term too. SSX Tricky is a videogame, plain and simple. Calling it merely a sports game is a disservice.

SSX is an over the top snowboarding game. Your eyes may bleed the first time you race on the track Snow Dream, which is set in Japan—the colors are so vibrant, we’re talking every color of the frickin’ rainbow. Most tracks featured in this arcade-style snowboarding game are so colorful they make Wizard of Oz look like Gotham City.

Some find the tone to be off-putting in SSX Tricky. All the snowboarders you choose from are either stereotypes—like the laid-back surfer dude or the overly excited Japanese girl—but it was fun. Why bother taking it seriously. I mean one of the characters had a giant orange Afro!

Racing in SSX was fun, but the tricks--as the name would imply--were the real showcase.

SSX Tricky was a hybrid of snowboarding and skateboarding. A lot of the tricks had you doing flips and defying gravity in ways that are just inhuman. It was the exact opposite of a simulation. That’s not what the SSX games are about. Sticking the landing after a crazy trick where you pirouetted on your snowboard wasn’t the goal. The goal was to do insane tricks, rightfully named “über” tricks, and to just have fun.

Playing SSX was so freeing. I could jump into a half-pipe and do tricks for hours. I did, I’ve never spent more time playing a game and literally not accomplishing anything in it…I just road around. Isn’t that what games are supposed to be about? Just having fun.

I know you may think that having a sports game so high on my list of favorite games seems odd. That’s what people may think if they’ve never played SSX before. Especially SSX Tricky, which was the best in the series.

Stupid Eddy...ah, who cares, let's hit the slopes!

SSX wasn’t just a sports game. It was an event, and something truly special. It doesn’t matter if you like snowboarding or sports games at all: as I could care less about actually “shredding powder” on some mountainside.

This game was a detach from reality, more so than any other game I’ve played. When you see a cliff that looks like you can do a trick off of it, you just have to go for it. SSX induces a sense of spontaneous creativity. Where you want to race in any setting (the track Mercury City Meltdown is my favorite, it’s a track built around city buildings and skyscrapers), or do a back flip off a glacier.

I’m glad to see that there’s a new SSX in the works. But nostalgia is a bitch, and I’m sure no matter how good this new SSX is it won’t recapture the feeling I had playing Tricky.

Even the soundtrack was awesome. Most of the game had a hip-hop instrumental vibe to it. And I actually grew to like the voiceover from Rahzel who beatboxed before every race.

Few games hold up because of dated visuals or stale gameplay mechanics. Sure SSX Tricky’s character models are blocky and un-detailed. But the art style should hold up. And the gameplay is something that needs to be experienced to understand. Pick this game up if you still own an Xbox, PlayStation 2, or GameCube. Better yet the Wii can play GameCube games, and everybody has that damn thing. Give yourself a treat and pick up SSX Tricky, if you haven’t played it before you’re in for a unique gaming experience.

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