Maroon and Gamer: Understanding the Reviewer

I’ve never been one to advocate the presence of sports games. Annual iterations of football, soccer, golf and basketball video games have been, to me, somewhat innocuous in their releases but have never truly appealed to me. It’s been hard for me to spend money on a game and then have it become obsolete 365 days later. In addition to that, it seems that the games in annual franchises do not change enough from previous games. I’ve stopped spending money on the Call of Duty and the Assassin’s Creed franchises for that same reason.

One sports franchise that hasn’t seen the light of day since 2007, on the Nintendo Wii, is the SSX franchise. SSX stands for Snowboard Super Cross and it makes no attempt to embody realistic physics or tricks. The player is given an end goal, i.e. the bottom of the mountain, and is put at the peak. How you get down there is the real fun of SSX and I have been craving that real fun since the last generation on the PlayStation 2. I have had an interesting on again-off again relationship with the SSX franchise.

When the first game was released on the PlayStation 2 in 2000, I can’t even remember being excited about it beforehand and going to a store and buying it. I think it was just one of “those games” that people got with the PlayStation 2 for Christmas. I didn’t quite understand video games quite yet (I was about 10 years old at the time and only played Adventure games like Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot on the PlayStation 1) and so I ended up playing the same two or three stages over and over again with the same two or three characters. It was unrealistic and absurd and that is just the way I wanted it. It was only concerned with giving the player an experience that they could only get with video games.

SSX Tricky was the successor and it had more characters and was louder and more insane than the previous iteration. The game featured split-screen, which means that two people can be on the same console and the screen divides itself accordingly. My neighbor would constantly come over and we would shove each other down, in the game, as we flew down the mountain at breakneck speeds. Then as my interest in gaming decreased I completely forgot SSX even existed. SSX 3 went right over my head and did not start playing video games again seriously until 2004 when Halo 2 came out. Then as the next generation rolled around, SSX seemed to forget about me as quickly as I had forgotten about it. SSX: On Tour (2005, released on the PS2 and Xbox) and SSX: Blur (Nintendo Wii, 2007) fell behind the next generation curve and so I paid no attention to the series.

But in 2010, at the Spike Video Game Awards, a new SSX game dubbed SSX: Deadly Descents was announced and then disappeared for a while. When it resurfaced, it dropped the Deadly Descents and simply became SSX; a reboot for the franchise and my love for the series. Tune in next week for my full evaluation of SSX.