Raw Thrills is no stranger to winter-themed games. They previously released Winter X Games Snocross (2012) and developed Super Alpine Racer for Bandai Namco. Now they are jumping back onto the slopes with the licensed X Games Snow Boarder.
The sport of snowboarding has never been well-represented in the arcade business. I think you can count the number of games focused on the sport on one hand…the only one that comes to mind is the improperly named Surf Planet from 1997. For the most part, if a game has involved snow, it has stuck with snowmobiles or skis.
Now that is about to change with Snow Boarder.
X Games Snow Boarder Details
We learn about this thanks to the IAAPA 2017 marketing build-up. I received my November issue of Replay Magazine yesterday and while flipping through it, stumbled across the one-page ad for the game there. My initial reaction to seeing this new design by Raw Thrills reminds me of Sega’s efforts from the late 90s in games like Top Skater. The ad doesn’t mention many details: “#1 action snow sport”; “Officially licensed by ESPN”; “Earnings Shred Competition”; “Link up to 8 players” and “Real Motion Snowboard”
As you can tell from the ad, the player controls the action by standing on a snowboard controller, using either the blue side rails or front handle to maintain their balance. Like with Super Alpine Racer, the control panel has a large start button as well as two arrow buttons for choosing things like the character & tracks. By the dimensions the game is about the same size as a Super Alpine Racer (slightly taller & wider but not as deep by a few inches); It is taller than Winter X Games Snocross but has about the same width and is several inches shorter on the depth.
I reached out to Raw Thrills about this who was able to fill in a few other details for me. The game uses a 43″ 1080p screen and there are “3 tracks at present” which puts it in line with Super Alpine Racer. It has been “completely retooled from scratch” while it “offers better playability” than their previous snow sports games. There are also a variety of snowboards to choose from, each character having five different boards available. These range from “the typical graphic-heavy boards you see at the X Games to some particle-heavy novelty boards like Thor’s Hammer, a Tiki Mask, and a floating hover board.” Nice callback to Back To The Future on the last one there, which is similar to how RT placed a light-cycle into Super Bikes 2 to homage TRON.
The game has been out on test for a while now and has proven itself a strong earner from those tests by what Raw Thrills is saying; it will be at IAAPA 2017 exactly a week from now so I will get some hands-on time with it then. What do you think about it from this information? What else would you like to find out about it that I can ask at the show?