Wednesday, November 30

20 years later, SSX Tricky is still the greatest extreme sports game of all time

SSX Tricky’s masterful blend of gravity-defying tricks, fast-paced racing, and wacky characters remains unbeatable.

The short-lived EA BIG label was an offshoot of EA Sports that focused on wild and wacky extreme sports games. It was founded in 2000 before being unceremoniously closed less than a decade later in 2008. But in that relatively short time it spawned some must-have games, including the sublime 2003 SSX Tricky. This colorful, larger-than-life snowboarding game launched today. 20 years ago for PS2, Xbox and GameCube, and is fondly remembered for its vibrant characters, wacky stunts, roller coaster tracks, and incredible soundtrack. It is one of the best games of the PS2 era and is still immensely playable to this day.

SSX Tricky is a sequel to a game released for the PS2 a few years earlier, simply titled SSX. It was created by Steve Rechtschaffner, inspired by a real life extreme sports event he helped organize and which was essentially motocross, but on snowboards. “We organized the first boardercross race,” he said in an interview in 2003. “He had people fighting head to head, he had burms and he jumped.” Later, Rechtschaffner joined EA and turned this new sport into the original SSX. The sequel, SSX Tricky, took this formula – head-to-head racing and stunts on dramatic and dangerous tracks – and cranked up the volume. camino until.

“We got the core experience on the first SSX,” said producer Larry LaPierre in a documentary included with the SSX Tricky. Now was the time to build the worlds that Really wanted to build «. The result of this approach is tours such as the magnificent Tokyo Megaplex, a dizzying downhill descent through the heart of a neon-lit Japanese cityscape riddled with bumpers, slopes, ramps, half-pipes and booster pads. lots of great tracks, but this one in particular exemplified everything good about the game. It’s loud, dramatic, outrageous, and just plain absurd, which perfectly describes SSX Tricky.

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While there were cheats in SSX, the sequel (like the name Hard suggests) pushed them to the forefront. These gravity defying stunts were brilliantly animated and ridiculously exaggerated. Brody grabbed his board out of the air, held it in front of him, and spun it like a helicopter rotor. Luther could perform a backflip in midair and a belly drop on hers. Eloise could grab hers and do a yoga crab pose. It’s all very silly, but that’s SSX Tricky from start to finish. “We want to be so far from a snowboard simulation,” said art director Ron Bignell at the time, a goal that he and the team at EA Canada definitely achieved, and more.

SSX Tricky is also a wonderful snapshot from the early 2000s. This was a period when famous actors playing characters in video games was becoming a trend, and the cast of Tricky is much of the time, with appearances by Billy Zane, Macy Gray, Jim Rose, David Arquette, and Lucy Liu. The music is also of the era: a glorious mix of hip-hop, breakcore, jungle, drum and bass, scratching and samples. But he’s perhaps best known for his remix of Run-DMC’s It’s Tricky, the game’s memorable title track, which earned the Queens rap trio an army of new fans. 20 years later, SSX Tricky has become a real-time capsule.

All these years later, SSX Tricky is still untouchable. Snowboarding in Ubisoft’s Riders Republic is the most fun the sport has been in a video game for years, but it’s still very tame and safe in comparison. In an interview last year, Rechtschaffner said that he would love to see a remake or remaster of SSX Tricky, but the IP belongs to EA so it is obviously out of their hands. Still, one can dream. From Insomniac’s Ratchet & Clank remake and Yakuza Kiwami games, to this year’s GTA: The Trilogy, many classics from the PS2 era have had another shot at glory on modern consoles – SSX Tricky should be next. in line.

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