Few games have obsessed me like SSX Tricky

If the gaming industry only gives me one last remaster before their remaster machines run out, please let it be SSX Tricky. From today’s perspective, with many big publishers still betting on realistic styling and serious performance, making the case for SSX Tricky is probably not as easy as making the case for a series like that of Tony Hawk. Both may have killer soundtracks and are certainly beloved sports games for gamers of my generation, but SSX Tricky could never serve as a vehicle for its sport or the sports personalities behind it. It fundamentally lacks the actual marketing and real history that plays such a big part in FIFA, F1 and other sports games with annual releases and big licensing deals.

However, its ultra-arcade style, completely unrelated to the actual operation of snowboarding events (I wouldn’t know, but I doubt its ice tunnels and dizzying rails are a thing), turned out to be its main selling point. sale. Everything about SSX Tricky is loud and disobedient, but unlike Jet Set Radio it’s still presented as a sporting competition, just one where knocking opponents off the track is openly encouraged and rewarded.

I’ve only played a few games in my life with the kind of obsession I had with SSX Tricky. I wanted to perfect every course and unlock every outfit for every character, and I think I did that because SSX Tricky is the kind of game that makes you feel cool in a number of equally important ways. There’s the low skill cap – you feel cool with very little, and you can invest in your skills and get really good at the game, a feeling I haven’t really felt in other sports games until now. the. Landing a cool trick in SSX Tricky is easy, partly because of the good controls, but also because even the simplest trick looks cool. Your character and the announcer react, the point count, no matter how high, looks nice and big, and then of course there’s the scream of “Tricky!” which celebrates your successful landing. It’s even better when you get plenty of airtime, which the game sets up on every track with giant, unmissable ramps at least once. For a moment, you hear nothing but the howl of the wind, and it’s just you and the sky.

Shredders is a lovely game, but it’s not SSX.

There’s always something about jumping from great heights in video games, but it’s even better when you can use it to do a ridiculous trick, like the Propeller, where riders spin their boards like propellers in front of their face, or the LaLaLa Lock Step, where riders spin their board clockwise and spin themselves counter-clockwise. These cheats are obviously too crazy to be real, but I feel like they’ve been crafted in a way that still makes you feel like they might be real. They have their origins in athletic feats or dance moves, and they look so slick that I still really enjoy them for animation, even though the rest of the game unfortunately hasn’t aged quite so gracefully. .

SSX Tricky has figured out something about characters that licensed games can take for granted – sports games are often more fun if you can enjoy them like someone you love. In FIFA you play with your favorite team, and watching Tony Hawk’s digital alter ego age in Tony Hawk 1+2 was a glorious moment for those of us who grew up with the real skateboarder as well as for those for whom he was just a digital avatar. But the snowboarding scene, and Tricky as an arcade game, as mentioned earlier, didn’t have such recognizable faces, so it made its own.

SSX Tricky characters aren’t just avatars with very distinct clothing tastes; they have favorite stories, friendships, rivalries and movies. I will say that some of the character designs veer a little closer to caricatures – as nice as it is to have a Latino character in Marisol Diez Delgado from Venezuela, she is described as a “mixture of innocence and raw sexuality, someone who can’t keep his temper in check and likes to party all night.” Typical Latina stereotype. Similarly, African-American Seeiah Owens is “a self-sufficient sistah” who loves R&B movies and Spike Lee. In the early 2000s it was just neat to see such characters exist, nowadays I would have a word with their creators As executive producer Steve Rechtschaffner said at the time, “the subtlety was probably just fine not be a good thing with the characters”.

Even these characters, stereotypical as they are, are brought to life by their voice actors. SSX Tricky, a snowboarding game, was voiced by a group of people who could rival an early 2000s Pixar movie cast. Ok, maybe Dreamworks, but you get the idea. The game has a great DVD extras section, usually a good idea to collect bonus material, where every voice actor is featured and they dutifully say PR snippets like “I didn’t know video games could be like this and, “yes, I play it a lot,” while looking like a person with a camera who assaulted them at 5 a.m. with a foot out the door. Celebrities like Macy Gray, Oliver Platt, and David Arquette and legend who is then EA’s senior marketing director, Nick Malapariman, suddenly voiced video game characters (or in Malapariman’s case, giving his best impression of a Chelsea fan in the stands), and while in actually they just yell a bunch of barks at full volume, i was so enthralled with what they were selling that i became a huge fan of the game voice at that point – and still am today.

Timeless stuff!

As the name suggests, SSX Tricky is SSX, a snowboard racing game, with more tricks because its creators realized that the trick part is what would be most interesting for people. Maybe that’s not so much the case for other sports, although I wish someone had another shot at a Captain Tsubasa-style football game. But it seemed clear that the main selling point of SSX Tricky was exactly what it said on the box, which is why I still don’t get the incentive to bring the series back to something relatively bland with successive installments . It feels like EA went back to something that was easier to explain and market to a large group of people, which ironically was what nobody wanted.

SSX Tricky is the product of many great artists coming together, people who knew their stuff very well, be it acting, animation or music, which was produced by Mixmaster Mike of the Beastie Boys. It’s a wealth of talent that we now take almost for granted in the gaming industry, with its sheer size and monetary value, and SSX Tricky is an example to me of how all of these resources could be put to use.

Maybe instead of a remake of a very 2000s style game, we should have a new SSX Tricky – created by a diverse group of people with the resources EA has now, this could be a great reminder from the spirit of the original game and EA Sports BIG, the label that wanted so much to offer a different experience. At a time when EA isn’t known for being particularly adventurous, it would be great to see something a little wild.

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