By Daniel Cashmar
Nothing beats the rush of skiing down a treacherous slope. The stiff, yet satisfying, wind that taste of victory – the trees providing precious oxygen and possible negative points – the dogs. Snowboarding is out this season because it’s time to SKIFREE.
In a day and age where graphics sell systems, SkiFree reigns above all. This game uses 32 BITS of visual power. There was a time when it only used 16, but we won’t talk about that. You can literally see people’s faces as they shred down the mountain and every tree is separated so you don’t get that false illusion of a forest. Your character, the gnarliest dude alive, is dressed for harsh temperatures and it’s fitting since the amazing visual prowess of this game depicts snow as no painter could have dreamed. A white, flat blanket across the mountain – no skier could have dreamt for better conditions. There is the occasional hill but they give you mad air, so it’s cool. In the game, you’ll see sentient trees occasionally. The nature of this is thought provoking and harkens me to Chaung Tzu’s dream of the butterfly. What if this is to say that plants are the ones moving and we, as animals, are standing still – that everything we aim to accomplish is for naught and that plants have realized, come to accept this and are at a higher plane of being from it – nirvana? One could speculate the mobility of a tree also means that trees, providing air and therefore life, are now leaving us because of our sins and ridding us of our privilege to their oxygen? Mind-blowing.
There is no sound and that’s the sheer brilliance of it. The sheer terror of not knowing anything is coming because of no sound dramatically increases adrenaline. And you need that adrenaline for the perilous ride in front of you. It’s also realistic in the sense that, as you’re skiing down the most radical mountain ever, the wind deafens you.
This is what makes or breaks a game and in this case, game play makes Skifree. In SkiFree, you get full arrow button control over your skier – that’s right, all four. You can use the mouse if you want but then everyone would think you’re a complete toolbox. The controls handle like a dream giving you full, immersive control over your skier’s extreme life. Not to stop there, there is also three whole modes of play. Can you think of another game with anything near that many? No, you can’t so stop thinking. All three modes offer diverse and intriguing ways of play but the fun does not stop there. You can keep skiing after you’ve finished one of the races! I’m skiing right now and there’s one of those moving trees, one of those dogs and a… what the hell is that? Why is it running after me?? Holy shit! What the fuck is that?! Oh my fucking God it almost got me. Whew, Jesus Fucking Christ, what the fuck was that gray thing? Whew…wait a fucking second. What the fuck is this shit?! More of them?! No fucking way. No. Fucking. Way. What kind of bullshit is this?!?! Holy fucking shit it ate me!! God damn what the fuck!! There’s a giant monster that fucking eats you and if you somehow get past it, there’s more than fucking one of them. What the fuck?!?!?!
Overall: What the fuck?! Why do these things even exist?!?!