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Video Game Reviews

Ratings are based on a five-point scale, in homage to the the late, great Next Generation Magazine.

Electronic Arts
Gameboy Advance

Rating: * *
Sheep - video game reviews
SSX 3 screen shots - click for closeup

February 15, 2005

Perhaps now, at the end of the Gameboy Advance's lifespan, we can look a little more honestly at what this little handheld could and couldn't do. I really enjoyed many of the sprite-based games, but found nearly all of the polygon games to be a disappointment. In fact, I don't think there was a single great polygon game ever released for this thing.

The hardware just wasn't built for it. A number of skilled development studios tried their hardest, and one or two pulled off some impressive demos, but when it came to finished games, it's nothing but one disappointment after another.

Can't anyone make a good racing game anymore without analog control? It's shocking how quickly twenty years of game design are forgotten in the Polygon Age. When was the last time any of you designers sat down and put a quarter into Roadblasters? Didn't you at least try Motoracer Advance or Moto GP?

Electronic Arts gave about as good as they can with SSX 3; it's far better than the first Advance SSX, which more closely resembled a train wreck than a videogame, but the game still isn't very playable. Everything just chugs along at such a slow clip. Snowboarding should feel like an adrenaline rush, but this game can barely make it above a light jog.

SSX 3 offers a number of solid features, including a variety of snowboarders, multiple courses, and item upgrades. The production values are good, the music samples are cool...yadda yadda. This is all so tragic, isn't it? None of this really matters. When the game actually starts, it just drags. Movement, flying, stunts, everything is far too slow to be of any use. What good is a racing game that can't, well, race?

Again, the hardware was never built for these kind of games, and for that, we can thank Nintendo for their short-sightedness and avarice. That arrogance has cost them dearly since Sonic the Hedgehog dealt the knockout blow in 1991, and we've been watching the tragic fall ever since. I remember when Nintendo was the videogame industry. Now their consoles are rendered irrelevant, and Sony's Playstation Portable will likely take away what's left.

A game like SSX 3 is a good metaphor for Nintendo's sad state of affairs. If my wisdom counts for anything, I'd advice them to get out, now. Go to Sony and Microsoft and cut a deal while your brand name still counts for something. Get out of the hardware business while you still can; in another five years, you'll be worth about as much as 8-track tapes.

The Console Wars are over; take the money while it's still on the table, Nintendo.

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