September 22, 2020

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20 Years Later, Snowboard Kids 2 Stays a Hidden Gem

20 Years Later, Snowboard Kids 2 Stays a Hidden Gem

While the Nintendo 64 wasn’t the most revolutionary home console, the clunky cartridge-based system still managed to house some of the best games of the mid-to-late ‘90s. Quite a few N64 classics, including Super Smash Bros., Donkey Kong 64, and Pokemon Snap, will celebrate their 20th anniversaries in 2019. Joining these memorable 64-bit outings is…

While the Nintendo Sixty four wasn’t the most modern dwelling console, the clunky cartridge-primarily based exclusively machine quiet managed to dwelling a few of the most life like seemingly games of the mid-to-slack ‘90s. Plenty of N64 classics, including Gigantic Smash Bros., Donkey Kong Sixty four, and Pokemon Snap, will celebrate their 20th anniversaries in 2019. Becoming a member of these memorable Sixty four-bit outings is a beautifully quirky snowboard racer that the classic gaming public appears to be like to occupy forgotten.

Of us that grew up with the Nintendo Sixty four would possibly perhaps perhaps merely remove the machine’s shockingly costly games. A brand unique N64 cartridge ran wherever from fifty to eighty dollar, with most games falling somewhere in between. In 2019 that equates to practically $100 a sport. My brothers and I owned our unbiased fragment of must always-play hits fancy Gigantic Mario Sixty four, The Tale of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Massive title Fox Sixty four, however as a rule our of us would suggest we merely lease a sport for a tiny of whereas, as a exchange of worthy our meager financial savings.

Former Towne Video modified into our video and sport rental recount of exchange in my fatherland. Despite the incontrovertible fact that it had a smaller exchange than the native Blockbuster, Former Towne Video constantly had more imprecise and attractive choices. It modified into the shop the place I chanced on sketch classics fancy My Neighbor Totoro and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, two of my engrossing favorites to for the time being. Former Towne Video’s gaming allotment modified into also fats of titles that my brothers and I hadn’t seen for rental wherever else. Our shuffle-to modified into a snowboard racing sport by the title of Snowboard Kids 2.

My replica of Snowboard Kids 2
Photo: Ben Bertoli

When Former Town Video closed its doorways in slack 1999, my of us occupy been tremendous ample (and kind ample) to swing in and take up a few Nintendo Sixty four games on a budget, including Snowboard Kids 2.

The sport rapidly turned one of our most-performed N64 titles, accompanying us to various sleepovers and hang outs around the neighborhood. Snowboard Kids 2 modified into a success amongst our guests and family contributors, however we never met one other Nintendo Sixty four proprietor, young or passe, who would possibly perhaps perhaps rely the game as phase of their series. It constantly seemed extraordinary to me, even as a baby, that this kind of liked multiplayer title would possibly perhaps perhaps merely be so no longer illustrious.

The unique Snowboard Kids, launched in early 1998, modified into declared by many magazines and budding gaming web sites to be, “Mario Kart on ice.” Undoubtedly, this comparability modified into a tiny of an oversimplification.

Snowboard Kids
Screenshot: Moby Video games

Worthy fancy Mario Kart, avid gamers raced opponents thru complex courses as they attempted to fabricate the higher hand with shortcuts and vitality-ups, however Snowboard Kids added an additional layer of technique to the everyday downhill competition. Racers needed to pull off classic flips and spins or catch intellectual forex as they shredded the slopes to create bigger their coin rely. It modified into only with money that avid gamers would possibly perhaps perhaps grab the sparsely-spaced vitality-ups. Avid gamers would possibly perhaps perhaps also retain both a “shot” and “merchandise” vitality-up on the identical time, a double vitality-up feature Mario Kart wouldn’t try till Double Crawl!! for the GameCube.

Snowboard Kids modified into a valid sport, and it it sounds as if equipped successfully ample that developer Racdym (now would possibly perhaps perhaps be named Racjin) and publisher Atlus made up our minds to pump out one other entry in the series. Snowboard Kids 2 launched in Japan in February of 1999, with North American and Australian versions shedding in March and April respectively. It modified into a sequel that performed it right, however one which also managed to tweak the customary sport’s predominant snowboarding mechanic, as successfully as introduce moving unique courses and modes.

As a baby, my favourite phase of Snowboard Kids 2 modified into the game’s goofy characters, each one of them brimming with their very personal over-the-high personality. Treasure most life like multiplayer games, every persona modified into saddled with a varied skillset that modified into supposed to position them aside. Nick modified into the all-around sort, Tommy modified into heavy and rapid, Nancy modified into adept at pulling off methods — every person had their pros and cons to occupy in mind. The characters even had special skins that will seemingly be unlocked, including summer season, recount, and Halloween outfits. My persona of exchange modified into constantly the genius inventor Wendy, who I decked out in pirate gear and outfitted with the horrid Dragon snowboard.

Treasure Snowboard Kids earlier than it, Snowboard Kids 2 didn’t merely resign its racers to snowy environments. Nick and the gang would possibly perhaps perhaps shred down grassy jungle paths, thru extinct castles, and even deep below the waves. There would possibly perhaps perhaps merely occupy only been nine fats courses in the game, however they occupy been so staggeringly intelligent and great that playing thru them over and over never grew dumb. Each direction also coincided with the game’s hokey story, a mishmash of persona interactions and shenanigans that helped launched unique mini-games and executives.

The cutesy visuals and madcap racing of Snowboard Kids 2 modified into all tied collectively by cartoony sound effects and a beautifully upbeat soundtrack. The menu tune modified into catchy, the persona voices occupy been distinctive, and each direction’s theme gave avid gamers the obedient mix of frantic and fun. To for the time being I gain myself humming the tune from the persona take out conceal and tapping out the boisterous beats from the games’ snow-lined first direction, Sunny Mountain.

Wendy carves thru the Linda’s Castle direction
Screenshot: Moby Video games

Snowboard Kids 2 modified into monumental because it modified into a sport that didn’t employ itself too severely. Avid gamers would possibly perhaps perhaps arena a dog, a penguin, and a demon child to a downhill snowboarding move thru a disturbed mansion, and no person blinked an stumble on. It’s modified into the unbiased kind of queer, and that’s what position it aside.

When Snowboard Kids 2 on the origin hit retailer cabinets, it did so with tiny fanfare. There occupy been no cardboard cutouts on the show ground or commercials promoting the game to the Nintendo Sixty four fanbase. Critiques for the game occupy been mixed, sighting improved impart, however “more of the identical” when when in comparison with the customary Snowboard Kids outing.

In the February 1999 arena of Nintendo Energy, Snowboard Kids 2 got a six web page unfold, mapping out the game’s predominant courses and introducing the characters. The journal’s Now Taking half in allotment, which that you simply would possibly perhaps look at below, gave the game a ranking of 7.3 out of 10, concluding with, “Don’t let the cutesy graphics fool you. There’s arena in the one-player mode and a full bunch occasion-time laughs in the multiplayer mode.”

A scan of the review from arena 117
Image: Nintendo Energy Journal

Attempting wait on on the critiques for the game now, it’s complex to peep precisely why it scored so low, especially when when in comparison with other games of the time. Snowboard Kids 2 wasn’t with out its flaws, nonetheless it quiet managed to search out a delectable heart ground between the high-shuffle competition of Mario Kart Sixty four and the more gentle-hearted story parts featured in Diddy Kong Racing. Video games fancy Frigid Boarders and 1080 Snowboarding would possibly perhaps perhaps merely occupy led the vogue, however Snowboard Kids modified into the first to place a more save a more prankish droop on the snowboarding vogue.

Some would possibly perhaps perhaps merely know Snowboard Kids 2, no longer thanks to its droll racing gameplay, however on account of its rarity on this planet of sport gathering. Producing cartridges for the Nintendo Sixty four modified into an costly project for publishers in the slack ‘90s, especially when when in comparison with printing compact discs for the PlayStation. Snowboard Kids publisher Atlus modified into infamous on the time for his or her runt production runs, and Snowboard Kids 2 modified into no exception. Already briefly provide, the snowboarding sequel didn’t sell successfully ample to warrant a second production of cartridges.

Illustration: Atlus/Racjin

With scarcity comes cost, and it wasn’t prolonged till Snowboard Kids 2 modified into on par with Nintendo Sixty four mainstays fancy The Tale of Zelda: Majora’s Cloak and Harvest Moon Sixty four by manner of price. This day a extinct replica sells for around $Forty in North The US, which isn’t huge, however quiet decently costly for a third-occasion title lacking any kind of “special version” or “no longer for resale” residing. It’s cost is tremendously higher in the PAL recount, the place it modified into only launched in Australia, and stays one of the predominant predominant highly sought-after Nintendo Sixty four titles to for the time being.

Unlike quite a bit of the popular games of its time, Snowboard Kids 2 has never resurfaced in any occupy. There’s been no Snowboard Kids series, no HD remake, and most surprisingly of all, no rerelease on any of Nintendo’s virtual console platforms through the years. There is now not this kind of thing as a easy manner to play this sport. In the digital age that is 2019, Snowboard Kids 2 exists nearly purely as a arduous-to-gain cartridge, a incontrovertible fact that saddens me to no quit. Undoubtedly, the game can be show in the occupy of a ROM, and I’m tremendous it’s no longer too arduous to search out it on-line. No longer that I’d ever suggest piracy…

This ain’t it, chief.

Atlus did try to reboot the series in 2005, with the poorly-got SBK: Snowboard Kids for the Nintendo DS, however the game modified into a decidedly colossal step backwards by manner of both gameplay and overall allure. We haven’t seen or heard from the Snowboard Kids since.


In most cases instances nostalgia plays methods on us. It tempts us into playing games we plan occupy been terrifying classics, only to power us into the realization they occupy been merely a jumble of piquant polygons that managed to entertain us on the time. I face this apprehension every 12 months or so after I load up Snowboard Kids 2, shy the game goes to in the extinguish let me down. Nonetheless it absolutely never has. The tight controls, wacky characters, and piquant courses quiet lengthen, no less than in my book.

Snowboard Kids 2 is the epitome of a cult classic, and I only hope that others occupy managed to squeeze the identical enjoyment and mileage out of the game that I of direction occupy over the past two a long time. Would possibly it shred eternally thru our hearts.