The lexicon of Extreme Sports is riddled with gibberish, and none more so than snowboarding. A sport in which grown men openly discuss grabbing a stitfy or performing a gay twist is clearly leaving itself open to ridicule, but delve deeper and you will learn that a pop tart is more than a mouth-scalding toasted snack, corduroy isn't just an unfashionable trouser, and burger flip describes something other than its exponent's immediate career prospects. It's a largely impenetrable world, but if you frequently drink Pepsi Max, own a bewildering array of headwear and can reel out your 180 times table quicker than Carol Vorderman, then you're halfway there. Alternatively, you could pull yourself a copy of Supreme Snowboarding and experience the white powder thrills without ever having to leave the sanctity of your PC den. Why would you want to do that? Because it's great. Here's how.
Supreme Snowboarding looks tremendous. You'll need a mother of a PC for the full effect, but not only do the graphics rock, they also rule, and clearly fall to suck. Dramatic winter landscapes are thrown around the screen with aplomb, everything appearing suitably crisp and sharp, superbly conveying the alpine freshness. The backdrops are photo-realistic, and the attention to detail is emphatic, from the spray oft the board to the trail each rider leaves, and even the creases on their kecks. Races take place at four different times of day, and a great deal of effort has been made. For instance, instead ot simply turning the brightness down, night racing has the slopes dramatically lit up with burning torches. Which is nice.
There is little time for sightseeing, though, as the pace of the game is astonishing. The sensation of motion is emphatic, and will have you lurching about in your chair like a fool. Heading downhill feels absolutely breathtaking at times, and the game easily delivers the most realistic snowboarding experience found on a PC to date. This speed would be unmanageable without solid control, but thankfully the game features some intuitive handling. With practice, you can soon be skimming off the snow like a natural, with precision control enabling you to push speed to the limit as well as allowing you to grab the obligatory phat air and then perform some seriously elaborate manoeuvres.
All the tricks one could realistically expect are in there, and provide a mild diversion. It's during the racing that the game comes into its own, though, ottering high speed action against five other competitors in singleplayer mode, or up to seven over a network. There's a real sense of being involved in a race, with opponents often barging into you, simultaneously offering an array of insults.
Snowboarding is a genuinely exhilarating sport, and there is no greater compliment than to say that Supreme Snowboarding captures some of that essence. This is definitely one game that lives up to its name.
Download Supreme Snowboarding
Snowboarding indeed, you're probably thinking, while frantically flicking through the mag for news on the latest goblin extravaganza. Chances are, you're the kind of person who thinks sliding down a mountain on a piece of wood is largely the preserve of drug fiends with a limited vocabulary and experimental facial hair. And you'd be absolutely right. However, as hobbies go, sitting in the dark living your life through the actions of a one-inch character on a monitor could also be construed as unorthodox, and is certainly neither cool nor awesome, to use the parlance of the snowboarding community.
It's easy to dismiss snowboarding as the pastime of simpletons, until you actually try it. At which point you'll either flail about hopelessly like the weakling you are, or you'll get the hang of it and start to whoop like a child. The rush of cold mountain air, the sensation of riding crisp white powder and the exhilaration of hurtling downhill at breakneck speeds all make for a genuinely awesome experience, even more fun than pretending to cast spells in a wizard game. PC owners will soon have the chance to find out for themselves, thanks to Supreme Snowboarding, the first in a series of Extreme Sports titles from Infogrames. The game is being developed in Finland by Housemarque, the result of a merger between two developing houses, Terramarque and Bloodhouse.
When it comes to snowboarding games, the best yet is widely regarded to be 1080° Snowboarding on the Nintendo 64. Consequently, there's a mentality that suggests that this kind of game should be confined to consoles, and indeed both Dreamcast and Gameboy versions are pending.
However, only the PC has the power to enable such a game to realise its full potential, and it would be a crying shame not to use it. The graphics in Supreme Snowboarding automatically adapt themselves to suit your PC, and on a high-end machine are truly tremendous. A further advantage it has over its console counterparts is the eight-player network option. We've had the privilege of playing it, and it's a thing of grace and beauty. The nine tracks span Forest, Alpine and Village, and each is approximately two square miles, with multiple paths to select, making it a case of getting to the bottom of the mountain by any means necessary. Naturally, all manner of tricks are available, either during a race or on a specially made half-pipe.
Supreme Snowboarding is shaping up to be a wonderful thing, and it's coming out this Winter. So you'll soon be able to try the sport without the risk of freezing your knackers, snapping your wrists or bruising your coccyx. Nice.