Hello! Someone's smacked the industry with a stick and a bevvy of games have come flooding forth. There's a third game in a series that's actually the fifth, a fourth that's really the sixth and one that pretends that it's not a sequel at all (it's in fact the fifth). Games!
I've just arrived in San Francisco for the 2012 Game Developers Conference. GDC is E3's alter ego, the games industry's other face; looking inward rather than outward, this show is about what people are saying rather than what they're selling.
As far as a lot of video games are concerned, snowboarding might as well be a made-up sport, really. You know, like Quidditch, or Welters. Or Badminton.
That arcadey downhill racer you play on the living room flatscreen has lofted itself so far from reality by this point that it can now be a little crushing to encounter the genuine thing on TV. Where are the particle effects, the afterglow, and the combo numbers? Why can't Shaun White really thrust himself so high into the sky with each jump that he comes back to earth having wrapped his face around important elements of the Hubble Space Telescope? I suspect a big part of the reason that people were so upset about the new SSX's first reveal trailer wasn't so much because the Deadly Descent angle looked terrible, but because it seemed kind of, well, realistic. Who wants that?
Happily, having played a few of the Deadly Descents last week, it turns out that they're not realistic at all. They're over-the-top, and almost cartoonishly inventive. There are particle effects, afterglow, and combo numbers. You know, like classic SSX. Or Badminton.
What's in a name? Enough for EA to drop it. The first proper SSX snowboarding game since 2005's On Tour and the first on PS3 and 360 was originally announced late last year as SSX: Deadly Descents.