7 And A Half Reasons Why Snowboarding Games Are Better Than Reality

What have video games ever taught us?

There’s nothing to match the feeling of being out snowboarding. Whether you’re tentatively making your first turns or a seasoned back-country veteran dropping cliffs like they’re nothing, it’s unbeatable.

However, the reality for most of us is that we only get to experience that for a few weeks, maybe even a few days a year. We have to feed our need in other ways. To an extent, video games can fill the void.

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Granted, games can be seen as the domain of geeky, nose-picking boys who bark dinner instructions at their over-worked mothers.

However, we think that there have been some important innovations that snowboarding games have given us, that the real world has failed to implement.

A varied cast of characters

Most snowboarding game came complete with a cliche-heavy cast of characters that you’d love to know in real life. Just check out the weirdos you could share a lift with if life was more like SSX.

There’s JP, the arrogant continental ripper who can afford to snowboard every day, but has to make do with knock-off Adidas gear from the market. Uber-stoner Mac, with his massive headphones pre-dating all of those Beats wankers out there.

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Impish Japanese mini-shredder Kaori, earth mother Skye, and the evil looking Psymon (what parent would call their child that?). Cali surf pleb Felix is also reppin’ for all the bearded snowboarders out there. Pat Moore would be proud. And please, somebody buy Zoe some Dairy Milk, stat!

Disembodied voices

It’s always good to snowboard with friends, but while you can shout and whoop, actual conversation is reserved for on the lift or when you stop mid-piste for somebody to defog their goggles.

This anti-social bullshit was cleverly side-stepped in the world of gaming with disembodied voiced telling you about impending big drops, or encouraging you to huck it off booters.

And the best* part? Every one of these schizophrenia-inducing voices sounded like your non-snowboarding mates desperately trying to hold a conversation with your snowboarding friends. Radical cowabunga, dude!

*We use the word “best” very, very loosely.

Getting hurt didn’t, err, hurt

Possibly the biggest thing we wish we could take from video games is the ability to take bone-shattering slams, pop up seconds later and ride away (much like annoying 14 year olds do).

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No more dressing like a a medieval knight before heading off to the mountain. With video game super powers, you could huck it, fuck it, and walk away unscathed.

That said, even in the pixelated world of Cool Boarders et al, dropping off a massive cliff is still bad news.

No more lifts

In the pixel perfect world of video games, gone were long, fromage-smelling queues for the lift and sketchy drags up T-Bars. Players got magically teleported back to the top of the hill in seconds (or minutes if the game was that old that it took a few minutes to load).

In fact, not only could players be beamed up to the peak in no time, in Shaun White Snowboarding*, it was possible to defy physics and actually snowboard uphill.

* Weirdly, in this game, you had the option to take the lift and just look about the digital scenery as you slowly got carted up hill. Plans to allow you to vomit off the side of the gondola after a heavy night on the Jäger were shelved last minute, we’ve heard…

Laugh at friends glitching

We’ve already said that snowboarding with friends is one of the best thing ever. Everyone getting stoked when you stomps a new trick is one reason, but let’s be honest, seeing your friends look stupid is also very, very rewarding.

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But if it can happen in real life, it happened bigger, faster and more ridiculously in a snowboarding game. Those invisible computer gremlins came out and pulled your metaphorical pants down, leaving you stuck on the edge of a tree, falling through infinite gaps in the world, or trapped on a chalet veranda, endlessly truffle shuffling with no hope of escape. And we laughed.

Stomping Tricks

In real life, learning tricks is a long and painful, if ultimately rewarding experience.

Plug in that PS1 though, and with the few taps on the D-Pad you were landing cab double cork 1440 YOLO flip. No slams, no mouthfulls of snow, no dented pride or broken wrists. Just up, down, left right, A, B, C perfection.

Rails were super easy to lock onto as well. Fire up the X Box and your days of arching your back he wrong way over a rail were over. Even the real Shaun White would struggle to hit this bonked air to boardslide, completely over the nose. Gnar.

And if you killed all of your speed in the pipe, it doesn’t matter. In video game land, a few pumps and you’ were back to dropping a Wildcat Stalefish.


“Who’s pushing the envelope in snowboarding” is the question on many people’s* lips these days. The answer was, of course, video games. Think Scott Stevens and the Think Tank Crew are doing some crazy one leg stuff? SSX Snowboarding take it to a whole new level years ago.

And as cool as one footing about is, our pals at SSX pushed things even further forward. Fancy a bit of wing suit flying while you shred?

*No it’s not. And if you know somebody that is asking it, that person is tedious. Delete them from Facebook. Now!

However, some things will always be rubbish

Even on video games, slalom is still boring and shit (even if you dress it up as boarder cross)

Catching an edge still results in massive, shit-eating scorpions

And, just like in real life, Shaun White still dresses like a twat (seen here is his Call Of Duty Arctic Mission clobber)

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