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Video Game / SSX

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Sweet flips, bro.


A series of snowboarding games by made by Electronic Arts under the EA Sports BIG banner.note  It shares some similarities in style and mentality with the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games, but places the action on snowboards (and on one occasion skis) and takes even more liberties in realistically portraying the actual sport in favor of a more arcade, over-the-top experience.

The series is inspired by the Real Life sport of "boardercross", a mix of snowboarding and motocross ("SSX" itself stands for "Snowboarding Supercross"). In reality, though, it's about a bunch of outrageous characters riding down a series of outrageous tracks doing outrageous tricks at outrageous speed. As you might have guessed from the overuse of the adjective "outrageous", the series is at the arcade end of the Sliding Scale of Simulation vs. Arcade.

Notably, SSX was spear-headed by the creator of boardercross himself, Steven Rechtschaffner, who came up with the idea for the sport during his time as a TV producer before joining EA in the late-90's, and was the executive producer and creative lead on the first three games.

Now with a Character Sheet under construction.

  • SSX (2000): The first game in the series, and one of the launch games for the PlayStation 2, being hailed by many critics and gamers alike as the best of that bunch. It started the series tradition of earning boost by doing tricks, thereby requiring a balanced play-style (higher speeds means bigger tricks means higher speed). It also included some of the craziest track concepts ever seen in a snowboarding game, like a melting iceberg that's been towed to the Hawaiian coast, or a Tokyo course resembling a giant pinball machine.
  • SSX Tricky (2001): The second game, Tricky was arguably the high point for the series. It took its somewhat modest predecessor and turned the craziness up to eleven by Flanderizing the entire cast and including so-called Übertricks, in which boarders pull their board off their feet and use them in suicidal acrobatic maneuvers, ranging from breakdancing to faking an execution. It received criticism on release for being a half-sequel as it only featured two new tracks and little new music, but today the original has faded into obscurity in the shadow of Tricky's strong personality, superior track design and the invention of Übertricks.
  • SSX 3 (2003): Took the basic gameplay features of Tricky, set the SSX circuit on the creatively-named BIG Mountain, introduced tracks designed specifically for an event (including the new Big Air and Superpipe events), then linked them all together. The track diversity suffered somewhat as a result, and the general quirkiness of Tricky was played down a notch in favour of a "chic cool" tone. However, some fans consider it to be the best game in the series since it added many new features such as handplants, Uber Grinds, the ability to hold Über Tricks as long as you want, extensive rider customization, and the Board Press move that allows you to chain massive Combos together, all with superior graphics.
  • SSX On Tour (2005): Themed after a rock band sketchbook aesthetic, On Tour reduced most of the crazy cast to Single Event cameos and instead included a pretty restrictive Create-a-Boarder feature for the campaign. Plus, the game added skiers(!) of all things, changing one of the basic concepts of the series. Also, due to an agreement with Nintendo, you can play as Mario, Luigi, or Peach in the GameCube version. The fanbase was not all that pleased, and it is remembered as the Black Sheep of the series.
  • SSX Blur (2007): A Wii-exclusive title. The general consensus is that this game, while not bad (it still received very positive reviews), is weaker than Tricky and 3 due to rehashed tracks and somewhat inaccurate motion controls.note 
  • SSX (2012): Originally called SSX: Deadly Descents. An "extreme" Continuity Reboot of sorts for next-gen consoles.note  The game plays like a Spiritual Successor to Tricky and 3, but sets itself apart by focusing entirely on riding through wild runs similar to Untracked in Tricky and the backcountry levels in 3. The World Tour mode focuses around rival teams of snowboarders competing to be the first to board on the world's most inhospitable places such as the Himalayas and Antarctica, and features more realistic art and costuming compared to the second and third games. In addition to the new Deadly Descent peaks, the game features traditional Trick and Race modes with online leaderboards and events. This was also the first SSX game not made on the (now defunct) EA Sports BIG banner. This version was free to download on the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace from December 16-31, 2014.

This series has examples of the following tropes:

  • 100% Completion:
    • In SSX 3, getting gold on all the races, getting gold on all the freestyle events, finishing all the "Big Challenges", buying all the outfits and everything else from the stores, and finding all of the hidden snowflakes. And all you get is a Yeti. (and that's just for a single character!)
    • For SSX and Tricky, you need to get Gold on each track's Race and Showoff events and complete an extensive trick book, both with every single character.
  • Acrofatic: Luther.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Sometimes, during stage intros and successfully landing tricks, Rahzel will sometimes beatbox, and sing a bit of his track "All I Know". Rahzel was originally the resident beatboxer for The Roots, before going solo in 1999.
    • Elise's profile on SSX Tricky lists her favourite movie as Charlie's Angels (2000), which starred her voice actress, Lucy Liu.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: The All Peak Race in 3 is a more literal example, as you're actually going through several of the tracks that BIG Mountain hosts, plus the stations between them. Starting at Throne of Peak 3, you board down through Gravitude, Ruthless Ridge, Intimidator, Snow Jam, and finally Metro City down at the base of Peak 1.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • In the first SSX, you had to wait until your rider did a grab before you could tweak it. Starting with Tricky, you could hold the tweak button as the grab was being made and the tweak would be performed once the animation was finished, simplifying the process.
    • One of the changes in 3 was the size decrease of mid-air pickups like score multipliers, which were enormous in the previous two games. This was pointed out by members of the site when they visited the EA Canada studio to playtest the game, and they suggested that the pickups get drawn into the player if they get close enough. Thus, the feature was implemented!
  • Ax-Crazy: Psymon. This video is the best proof.
  • Badass Boast: Everyone has a few of these when they're hitting seriously big tricks or catching crazy air.
  • Badbutt: Since Tricky is E-rated, some of the characters have that "Can't swear, but REALLY WANT TO" issue; Elise in particular (she seems to think that SHOUTING EVERYTHING MAKES HER AWESOME). Kaori does use some Japanese phrases that are often translated as swears, but which do not have the same stigma in Japanese as they do in English and are not considered family-unfriendly in the same way.
  • BGM Override: A literal case with the 2012 game, as you can use whatever album/artist/playlist you have on your hard drive as music for the different event types as well as the menus.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: Bigfoot and the Yeti are both playable in 3 as "NW Legend" and "Far East Myth", respectively.
  • Bilingual Bonus: JP speaks French, Kaori and Hiro speak Japanese, Jurgen speaks German, and Marisol speaks Spanish.
  • Bowdlerise: A few of the songs had to be edited to keep the K-A/T ratings. For example, "We Don't Care" in SSX 3 had to remove "What the fuck!"
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Rahzel Brown's commentary in the first two games'.
    "Bronze those thumbs!"
    "Call your mama in the room and show her how great you are!"
  • Brick Joke: When you first board down Gravitude, at the end a plane will fly by and hit a tree, causing it to fly out of control and leave a trail of smoke. You'll then arrive in the Black Station hub, where if you take the route down to the Gravitude track, you'll go past the plane crashed in ice!
  • Canon Foreigner: Marty was a character who replaced Mac in the European release of SSX Tricky. According to canon, Marty is Mac's cousin who lives in Germany. This status is slightly alleviated as he can appear as a racer in SSX 3, however Mac is easily the more prominent character.
  • Cap:
    • The speedometer in Tricky and 3 tops out at 74 MPH (120 KPH)
    • Normally, your stunts are printed out in detail after performing them. However, performing more than five full spins (1,800 degrees) or more than three flips (in any direction for both cases) will result in the stunt labeled as "???" in the first two games. From 3 onwards, this is raised to 2.700 degrees and five flips, respectively.
  • Company Cameo: SSX 3 has several appearances of the logo of its developers EA Sports BIG, such as on the front of every winners' podium, and on banners attached between the upper halfpipes in Perpendiculous.
  • Cowboy: Nate worked as a ranch hand before becoming a snowboarder, and most of his costume options are Wild West themed. Cowboy hats, lassos, a sheriff's badge, a bandit mask, spurs...
  • Crazy Is Cool: The majority of Tricky.
    • In-universe, Psymon. Legend has it he went nuts after trying to do a motocross jump over some power lines and not quite making it. In SSX 3, he prefers riding on the outside of the gondola.
  • Curse Cut Short: Brodi in Tricky.
    "You bast...!"
  • Darker and Edgier: The 2012 game was going to be this, but the final result is less so and plays closer to a more realistic take on 3. This trailer was the first and last we saw of the game in this stage, although the latter parts of the game can invoke this to a certain extent.
  • Demoted to Extra: Most of the characters in Tricky that weren't made playable in 3note  still make appearances as other riders in racing events, although their default models from Tricky are simply reused. They, as well as Hiro and Jurgen from the first SSX game, can also be unlocked via cheat codes.
  • Denser and Wackier: Tricky compared to the original, ramping up the totally radical T-T-T-T-TRICKY-ness compared to the first game.
  • Disco Dan: Eddie.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Occasionally in the first two games, Rahzel can comment on whichever kind of snow you're moving into. His... impassioned delivery of the lines for powder snow, though, might call to mind a different sort of "powder".
  • Don't Try This at Home: One of Psymon's quotes from Tricky.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first SSX game had no Uber tricks, only eight characters (none of whom were as in-your-face or full of personality as they would later become), controlled more stiffly, and was a lot more racing-oriented than later titles (Showoff didn't add new jumps or rails like in Tricky). It also features a Warmup tutorial course with Moby, something not seen in any other title (with the exception of Tricky's Practice jumps). Players who are more accustomed to 3 will also be surprised that Uber Tricks can't be held through the entire jump in Tricky, there's no handplants, you can't Uber Grind, and the Race and Showoff events happen on the same track rather than on bespoke levels.
  • Fanservice: Promotional art drawn by Adam Warren. Yikes!
  • Fat Bastard: Luther.
  • French Jerk: Jean-Paul.
  • Flying Saucer: In Tricky, there's a UFO with a tractor beam under it in one of the shortcut areas of Mercury City Meltdown. Successfully jumping into the tractor beam requires tight boost and jump timing, but it teleports you into the forest further down the track, skipping a significant chunk of the course.
  • Genki Girl: Kaori, Marisol, and Seeiah.
  • Gimmick Level: Each of the Deadly Descents in SSX 2012 are focused around a particular hazard that serves as the stage's name: Avalanche, Ice, Rock, Trees, Cold, Thin Air, Gravity, Darkness, and Whiteout.
    • SSX 3 also has these on the racetracks: Happiness has an avalanche and giant falling icicles, Ruthless has extreme winds and sheer drops, Intimidator has a lightning storm fell several trees that fall across the track, The Throne is full of crevasses and Gravitude has giant chunks of the track falling away.
  • Gonk: Luther.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: One of the courses in SSX On Tour is called Son of a Birch (although it can be argued that for snowboarders birch trees are just as bad, especially running into them in game and real life).
  • Gratuitous English:
    • Kaori will speak English in some pre/after-race cutscenes in Tricky (otherwise the characters wouldn't be able to understand her), but she averts this mostly in 3, where she only speaks Japanese except for on the character select screen.
    • Also from Tricky: while JP mostly speaks French, when you go off of a big jump, he'll sometimes say, "Mr. Big Air.".
  • Guest Fighter:
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Not literally, but by his own account Moby is "Half man, half amazing, all Moby!" In a more literal sense, some of his costume options paint him as a werewolf. Seriously.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The third game's artwork. In particular the special art by cheesecake master Adam Warren.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Mac in SSX 2012 is full of them, usually involving his name. "I'm a rocket Mac!" "It's raining Mac, baby!" "I'll have to call this one Mac and cheese!"
  • I Can See My House from Here:
    • Nate can see first place from every angle when he's racing, and when Psymon catches a huge air he can see Jupiter. Seeiah also emphatically shouts that she can see Venus.
    • Eddie in Tricky says the exact thing, and sometimes throws us "I can see the earth ROTATING!"
      • He says it again in SSX 2012, adding, "It's so small..."
    • Moby can occasionally shout about seeing London from the high altitudes in Tricky.
    • In SSX 2012, on a big jump Zoe sometimes says "I can see...ah, forget it."
      • Zoe also says, "Height check. I am really high" or "But I don't want to go down yet."
  • Idol Singer: Kaori Nishidake's regular job.note 
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Psymon's Tricky voice actor Jim Rose claims to be the real-life version of Psymon.
  • Institutional Apparel: A staple of Psymon's alternate costumes.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: DJ Atomika would eventually show up in Burnout Paradise. Unfortunately, he did so with 80% less entertaining dialog.
    • Even before that, Burnout 3's DJ Stryker will mention Atomika and the third SSX competition in between songs. Which makes sense as they also share the same VO!
  • It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: Zoe Payne defines the creation, management and running of SSX as the best job ever... while jumping off a hundred foot vertical drop and performing gravity defying stunts.
  • Jerkass: Luther. He is so much so that only JP is willing to be friends with him.
  • Jiggle Physics: As applied to Eddie's afro.
  • Joke Character: 3 is rife with jokey secret characters, though they aren't inferior to other riders as they're Skins. But they include Churchill, a steam-powered robot, and Canhuck, a giant beaver.
  • Keet: Griff Simmons.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • In SSX 3, DJ Atomika will sometimes point out how he seems to be the only employee at the station.
      Does anyone work around here other than me? Hello?
    • In SSX 3 he also consistently mentions the perfect weather on Peak 1, ending one of the weather updates with "It's almost like it's designed to be this good!"
    • In SSX (2012) characters will audibly wonder how snow got so deep in the game's many tunnels.
  • Large-Ham Announcer: DJ Rahzel in Tricky.
    • DJ Atomika even gets into this when he discussed how the event organizers are seriously underselling Much-2-Much as a Big Air event, feeling it's really more of a "Really SCARY, KILLER MONSTER AIR FROM SOME... MONSTER... PLACE!"
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: SSX 3 has this a fair bit of this regarding the weather on BIG Mountain, particularly the perpetually sunny weather on Peak 1 and why the tracks always have fresh snow. There's even a whole trivia piece where he says BIG Mountain's weather is considered a one of a kind natural phenomenon because it boasts an average of 362 days of fresh powder a year!
  • Lemony Narrator: DJ Atomika.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Luther and Nate are both extremely large and powerful, and due to their size and weight have a distinct advantage in the downhill races.
  • Marathon Level: A selling point of SSX 3. Some of the events chain many races together into one large run down the mountain where the Gold time is half an hour!
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: What Tricky was criticized for when it first released. Of the few negatives it recieved, the biggest was that 90% of the track options were back from the first game and adjusted for difficulty, better gameplay design and to accomodate the Ubertricks. Of course as Tricky has become the breakout star of the franchise, this criticism has all but disappeared and only the more hardcore fans will ever think about returning to the original.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Just look at Elise's character video!
  • Noodle Incident: A great many in 3, courtesy of DJ Atomika from EA RADIO BIG, including the "orange cat incident", the "dreaded snow snakes" (likely similar to Australian Drop Bears), and various Big Mountain events from before the game including the four times the local town was wiped out by avalanches and Powder Pete's tendency to crash his Osprey heli-planes.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • Happiness, a track from SSX 3, was ported into the 2012 game under the name "Lock Jaw."
    • Mount Eddie could count as a Nostalgia Pack. It takes nearly all of the elements that made Tricky good (fireworks, bright colors, less chasms, ect.), and molds them into one giant mountain. On top of that, you also have the option of using retro versions of Moby, Elise, Mac, Psymon and Eddie, as well as their respective boards from Tricky and 3.
  • Oddball in the Series: Pretty much every major release after 3 can qualify for this:
    • SSX on Tour is a good game in its own right, but most hardcore fans really do not like due to the bare bones Character Customization feature taking precedent over the original characters. And the way-too-long races and bad voice acting. Not to mention it was developed by an entirely different team and leans extremely hard into the rock band sketchbook aesthetic.
    • Blur is also an oddball, with a style that's far more cartoony than any game before or after it and Uber tricks based on motion controls.
    • SSX 2012 for leaning more towards the Red Bull-style extreme stunts angle and much more practical clothing, as well as a focus on GimmickLevels and using equipment to deal with them.
  • Patriotic Fervor:
    • In addition to his love of his country's flag, Moby has unlockable costume options in 3 that add up to a suit of medieval armor.
    • Canadian Psymon Stark often says "SASKATOON!" while hitting a particularly big air.
    • Elise: "Canadian girls kick butt!"
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Griff in SSX 2012, coupled with Took a Level in Jerkass so he could become that game's villain.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Mac, the white DJ character.
  • Product Placement: In SSX 3 you have dnL (based on 7up) and the Honda Element. The end of R&B even lets you grind through the car!
  • Psycho Electro: Psymon doesn't have electric powers, but his erratic mental condition is the result of being electrocuted by powerlines during an ill-advised BMX stunt.
  • Put on a Bus: Hiro, Jurgen, Eddie, Luther, Seeiah, Marisol, Brodi, Viggo, Tyson, and Sid only appeared in one game. JP and Griff would have also fit this trope, but they were brought back for the most-recent game, which seems to miss Allegra who was the cover girl for the third game and portrayed as one of the main characters.
  • Regional Bonus: The Spain version of the 2012 game includes an extra song by Las Ketchup.
  • Rule of Cool: They built a fucking city on the side of a fucking mountain so you could snowboard through it in SSX Tricky.
    • Hell, it took event organizers two whole years to set up Big Mountain as the ultimate SSX circuit.
    • Try detaching yourself while snowboarding. In midair. Then reattaching before you land. Probably...not easy. BUT WHO CARES?! KICKFLIP YOUR SNOWBOARD!
  • Rewarding Vandalism: In the SSX 2012, you get tricks for running over flares marking the path along the track. Not to mention all the numerous times in past games where you smash through glass Out of Bounds signs to access shortcuts.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Seeiah in the second game.
  • Sequel Escalation: How big can the Übertricks get? How over-the-top can the courses get? How many more features and tricks can you squash in?
  • Shaped Like Itself: The big mountain in 3 is appropriately called BIG Mountain.
  • Ship Sinking: In SSX On Tour, the developers decided to push Mac and Kaori away from each other.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spelling Bonus:
    • In Tricky: Successfully completing six Übertricks spells out T-R-I-C-K-Y, which grants unlimited boost for a limited time.
    • SSX 3 instead has you spell out "Super Uber" for the same benefit. You can only access the big Uber Tricks by spelling out "Uber" with more basic ones.
  • Spicy Latina: Marisol.
  • Spiritual Successor: SSX 2012 is very clearly inspired by the film Art Of Flight with an emphasis on the film's dangerous backcountry riding and heliboarding along with sharing a few songs in the soundtrack. There's even an ad for the film in the game case, and Travis Rice, who appeared in the film, was included as DLC for the game.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Elise, who is 5'11" (180 cm) and has plenty of midriff-exposing outfits to choose from.
  • Stripperiffic: Some of the outfits are, shall we say, not suited for cold weather. The developers were equal-opportunity in this regard — the female riders often bare their midriffs and legs, whereas for the male riders, Moby has costumes in SSX 3 that feature him shirtless or wearing metal armor, while Psymon also has several sleeveless shirts and tank tops. It's toned-down in Blur, which went for a more cartoonish art style, and the 2012 reboot, which had more realistic winter gear for the characters.
    • In On Tour, your character can go out in nothing but their underwear.
    • SSX3 has one female option where, if it wasn't for a tattoo-thing, is otherwise topless.
    • Princess Peach wears a dress that has a mini skirt and a thong.
  • Talkative Loon: Most of the things Psymon says make no real sense. His battle cries when catching big air make him a Breathless Non Sequitur factory, including Patriotic Fervor (see above) and the infamous "FRENCH TOAST AND SYRUP!!!" shout in Tricky, among other things like "Roll over, Rover!", "Aw, I'm totally spellbound!", "Supersonic, Stereophonic!", and "SUPERHEAVY BUT LIGHTER THAN AIR!"
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: A Loading Screen in SSX 3 shows Viggo Rolig with his tongue stuck to the center pole of the ski lift gondola. In SSX Blur, set a year later, DJ Atomika says, "Just got a postcard from Viggo - he's recovering nicely from that whole 'tongue on the flagpole incident'."
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: JP of all people, while still being a stylish ladies man, is much less of an asshole in the first SSX than he is in Tricky.
  • Totally Radical: Griffith "Griff" Simmons' speech in SSX 3 is... painful. And, indeed, he does say "TOTALLY RAD!" as he's hitting a particularly awesome trick. Not to mention Mac Frasier's terrible street lingo, which aged pretty pathetically. Yeah, Mac, we can say "bling bling." But nobody has wanted to since 2004.
  • Variable Mix:
    • SSX Tricky is one of the earliest cases of this in video games, where tracks would have chunks for the top, middle and bottom of the run, as well as for big shortcut routes and applying a filter during airtime.
    • 3 takes it further by applying this to music with lyrics: if you wipe out or run out of Uber time, the lyrics will disappear until you get your momentum back.
    • The 2012 game presents this in two fashions: an optional "Remix" system which puts the BGM through various filters depending on the situation (high pass when airborne, loops when tricking on rails, off-pitch when you're about to freeze or run out of air, etc.), and with the original music in the World Tour Deadly Descents changing depending on the status of the Tricky Meter.
  • Version-Exclusive Content: The GameCube version of SSX On Tour includes Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach as playable characters and an exclusive race track called Nintendo Village.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: In Tricky, Psymon and Moby couldn't stand each other. In 3, Moby's mellowed out enough to become this with Psymon.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Moby has the Union Jack tattooed on his entire upper body, his default shirt in 3 is a shirt with a discolored Union Jack pattern, and one of his pants options bears the Union Jack as well. He's also got a helmet displaying the Jolly Roger.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: In the third and fourth games, although it's more accurate to say that the end of a track will connect into another one as you cannot truly explore the entire mountain.
    • Averted in SSX 2012, through a combination of, well, deadly descents and invisible cutoffs.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In their debut games, Mac and Kaori are teenagers, and Griff is only twelve years old, yet the adult racers have no qualms with throwing hands with them and knocking them to the ground.