I’ve become a different person in the span of two years. Where I was once a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed high school youngling, I’ve now matured into a smart, wise, and generally handsome college student. I’ve also become egotistical, self-delusional, spiteful, enraged, and a really good tap dancer. And I have GameCola to thank for all of those things, with the exception of the tap dancing part. That came naturally. And by naturally, I mean that my calves just sent my body a resignation letter, due to the three months of abuse they’ve recently suffered in my Tap 101 class. Ladies, I’m single.
I figured the best way to start off the new GameCola would be to take a look at the sequel to the very first game I reviewed for GameCola. The original Snowboard Kids is the source of many warm and fuzzy memories from my childhood, but I made a note in my review that I had never gotten my hands on the sequel. Well, the planets lined up, God smiled upon me, the blue moon was shining, Lady Gaga became famous (I still don’t understand how that happened), and a used copy of Snowboard Kids 2 was on sale for $6.99 at an obscure game store in Clay, NY that happens to be the best place on Earth. By the name of everything in the name of Glee, if you live in Central New York and have never bought a game from Microplay, located across the street from Great Northern Mall, and yet indulge yourself in countless pre-order deals at local GameStops, I will come to your house and bludgeon you with that baseball bat you really thought pre-ordering Left 4 Dead 2 was worth.
To understand how I feel about Snowboard Kids 2, think about a friend from your childhood. A close one: one that you can remember every single little detail about. Now imagine not seeing her (or him) for eleven years, and suddenly you see each other again, all grown up. Even though she’s an adult now, there are still so many things familiar about her. Her hair seems to be dyed a slightly different color, she gives off a little more attitude, she’s wearing a Bob Marley shirt, and she may or may not be high. That was my first impression of Snowboard Kids 2. It retains a lot about the original game I fell in love with 11 years ago, but at the same time, there’s so much about the character and tone of the game that isn’t familiar at all. And there’s a lot more dinosaurs. And aliens. And robots.
SBK2 perfects a lot of the gameplay from the original. The controls are as tight as ever, though people that never played the original always seem to have trouble understanding that holding the “A” button down doesn’t make you go. Everything is totally familiar for people who have played the first, though. If you couldn’t control the original, don’t even bother with the second, because you’ll be just as infuriated as some of my now former friends whom I forced to stop playing FUCKING MODERN WARFARE 2 for ten seconds to try out this curious and new sensation I’m feeling in my pants, and, later Snowboard Kids 2.
The major difference between the two games is the inclusion of Story Mode in the second title. It’s not really a story as much as it is a series of vignettes seen before and after races, which set up the rather fantastic lands the kids race down. While the original game doesn’t get too unrealistic aside from snowboarding down a grassy hill and in an amusement park, this game goes underwater, in a castle, into outer space, and inside one of the lead character’s houses, seen from the vantage point of being six inches tall. It’s a good thing I hate realism in my videogames. I tried to snowboard down an erupting volcano once. All I got was first-degree burns all over my body and a stupid t-shirt that burned in the erupting lava.
- I think he hides the acid in his hair.
So, by all means, I liked this game. A lot. I laughed when it was funny the way I laugh when Snuffleupagus says something depressing. I enjoyed the crazy tracks the way I enjoy LSD. But, at the same time, Snowboard Kids 2 did not have that impact on me that going back and playing the original game does. And after realizing that, I think I really began to understand what nostalgia is all about. I mean, I’m one of the younger guys on this site, but now I understand how people ten to twenty years older than me will find and enjoy obscure and sometimes shitty things like, say… Biker Mice from Mars or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or the goddamn Snorks. I will never understand why anyone liked Snorks. It’s like Twilight, only there’s no pretentious vampires, everyone’s underwater, there weren’t any box-office-smash-yet-critically-panned movies based on it, and the characters are much more arousing to me.
Snowboard Kids 2 is a fun game, a real fun game. If you ever get a shot at playing it, do so. It’s a wacky diversion from the onslaught of ultra-brown realism we get in gaming these days. It’s also taught me to treasure the games and memories that I’ve had since I was a young’un. Snowboard Kids 2 is a fun diversion for me. The original Snowboard Kids is a reminder that I can always go home again.
Unless your home was the old GameCola. That bitch be dead. It’s been a fun first two years here. Here’s to many more.