Review – SSX Tricky

In the early days of the GameCube one of the first games I made sure to get was SSX Tricky. It was awesome and I played it endlessly until I had mastered every single trick of every single character on every single course. Eventually I got bored of it because, well, it stopped being fun after doing the same “über trick” for the umptillionth time. It burned out my brain and I couldn’t take it any longer. From whatever was left of those brain cells lingered a memory of an incredible experience. Sometimes SSX Tricky would wander back into my daydreams and I would reminisce about how much fun I had. So you know what I did? I decided that nine years later it was time to play it again.

The game hasn’t changed much in nine years, other than the size of the TV I played it on. I found an old memory card with everything unlocked so I could start right where I left off. However, I have changed a lot in the past nine years. I’ve grown up and my taste in games has improved. SSX Tricky is an obnoxious, childish, boring game that only an obnoxious boring child would enjoy.

SSX Tricky is the videogame form of everything wrong with popular entertainment. Layers and layers of production cover up a tiny core of actual substance that barely exists. Each character spits his or her own selection of face-palm awful one liners while dancing, posing, and wearing the douchiest clothing. Since the camera is positioned behind their heads they each put billboards all across each level so you are never without a view of their ridiculous faces. Their one liners and the announcer’s one liners construct the majority of the game’s soundtrack as some terrible Frankenstein of a procedural audio remix.

In terms of gameplay, there’s not a whole lot to say. You snowboard down a mountain and do tricks off jumps. The “tricks” are stupidly easy to do. All you need to do is press a couple of buttons and suddenly your character is magically spinning his snowboard around his head like a helicopter. The only way you can get better at the game is time your jumps and tricks a little bit better so you can do more tricks off of each jump. Each trick is just a different shade of the same silly, so what’s the point?

Keep pushing buttons and watch the flashy feedback, that’s how SSX Tricky is played. The game bombards your senses with tasteless visuals and audio and only stops when it’s turned off. The screen never stops moving, ever. There is always scenery blazing past or a douche doing his douche dance in the middle of the frame. It’s like a horrible music video or a TV commercial that feeds off of the viewer’s ever-increasing ADD tendencies.

I get a headache playing SSX Tricky now. Actually, I think I’m physically sick to my stomach. I can’t subject myself to it any further. The gameplay is empty. Every action screams “EXTREME” loud enough you can hear its voice crack. The graphics consist of douches and billboards of douches, and snow. Are billboards supposed to seem awesome, instead of disgusting like they are in real life? I guess idiot kids think so. What’s the point of playing this game? What kind of skills do you gain from it? What do you learn from it? There is nothing of any worth buried under its surface. There’s no substance at all. SSX Tricky is anti-thought and anti-art.

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13 years ago

the snowboarding game i am most familiar with is the mini game at the golden saucer in final fantasy 7.

Future Styl
13 years ago

I agree SSX Tricky does not hold up. But SSX 3 and SSX On Tour are still a blast!

Madeline Henry
13 years ago

…but it’s fun to play. Look up, it’s right there; you, yourself, said you had fun with it. Apparently your tastes have “improved” enough that window-dressing like ingame ads, unrealistic tricks, and douchey character art is enough to turn you off of something you once enjoyed.

You’re right about one thing: SSX Tricky doesn’t teach you anything. It doesn’t pretend that it’s going to; all it wants to do is entertain its players. It sold enough to warrant two sequels, has a 92/100 rating on Metacritic, and its players remember it fondly; we can assume that in this respect, it absolutely succeeded.

Before I go, a little advice: Know when to take a step forward, instead of stepping back and analyzing everything from a distance. Media doesn’t have an obligation to make you feel anything, unless it specifically says it does; to say otherwise makes you sound insufferably elitist. Remove your cynic’s cap and see a Bruckheimer movie sometime. Laugh at the canned dialogue, try to avoid bitching about the special effects. You’ll be able to analyze it on the expectations it sets for itself — a scary thought, I realize — and you’ll enjoy yourself better.

Cunzy1 1
13 years ago

SSX Tricky is at it’s heart a score attack game. You don’t seem to have mentioned that at all here. The fun to be had from this game (still today) is to find the best places to squeeze in an extra trick here or there or the best way to grind up to the times 5 bonus and squeeze in an uber and super uber trick. It hits that same part of the brain that Tony Hawks hits when you manage to string together a ‘perfect run’.

You take issue with the character design but if it isn’t instantly apparent from the robot dancing in the opening titles that these characters are a pastiche of the normal snowboarding and extreme sports stereotypes then as Madeline suggest you might want to take a break from games for a while. Next you’ll be looking for Lara Croft to get imprisoned for her various cultural heritage theft crimes or for JRPGs to make sense.

In fact it was the sense of chaos and speed and pulling off those last minute tricks that makes SSX Tricky superior to the later sequels which represented snowboarding for the activity it really is. A boring trip down a hill with the odd jump.