Snowboarding Game #02: 1080° Snowboarding
- Developed by Nintendo EAD (later merged in 2015 after Satoru Iwata, the company’s president, has died of bile duct growth; said late company president wasn’t credited at the time of the game’s release) and published by Nintendo (Nintendo 64 exclusive)
- Released in 1998 (Feb. 28 — JP, March 31 — NA, Oct. 9 — PAL)
- One-to-two player snowboard racing
Continuing the snowboarding games collection before winter ends, 1080° Snowboarding is a 1998 snowboard racing game developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo. It was released for the Nintendo 64, and was re-released in 2008 for the Wii’s Virtual Console. In the game, the player controls one of five snowboarders from a third-person perspective, using a combination of buttons to jump and perform tricks over eight levels. 1080°’s release was announced on 21 November 1997 at Nintendo’s SpaceWorld trade show; the game’s working title was then Vertical Edge Snowboarding. 1080° was one of several snowboarding games released for the Nintendo 64 in 1998, others being Big Mountain 2000 and Snowboard Kids. Before the game’s release, journalists were able to play 1080° at the January 1998 Nintendo Gamers’ Summit.
1080° was programmed by Englishmen Giles Goddard and Colin Reed, developed and published by Nintendo, and produced by Shigeru Miyamoto. Goddard and Reed had previously programmed Wave Race 64, which sold over a million copies and was a huge commercial success. When developing 1080°, Goddard and Reed used a technique called “skinning” to eliminate joints between the polygons composing the characters. Their programming used a combination of standard animation and inverse kinematics, creating characters whose appearance during collisions is affected by what object is hit, what direction the collision occurs in, and the speed at which the collision takes place. Tommy Hilfiger outfits and Lamar snowboards appear throughout 1080° as product placement. 1080°’s soundtrack of “techno and rappy beats” with “thrashy, foozed-out vocals” was composed by Kenta Nagata, who also composed soundtracks for Mario Kart 64 and other Nintendo games.
Unfortunately, many of our keyboards on our computers lack a degree symbol (°), so we would end up with 1080 (without the degree symbol), otherwise, either is correct.
The player controls a snowboarder in one of several modes. 1080° has two trick modes (trick attack and contest), three race modes (race, time attack, and multiplayer), a training mode, and an options mode. The objective of the game is either to arrive quickly at a level’s finish line or to receive maximum points for trick combinations.
In 1080°’s two trick modes, trick attack and contest, players accrue points from completed tricks. In contest mode, players perform tricks and snowboard past flags for points. Trick attack mode requires players to perform a series of tricks throughout a designated level. The game features 25 tricks, all of which are performed by using a combination of circular positions of the control stick, the R button, and the B button; point values are allocated based on complexity and required time. The two types of tricks are grab tricks, in which the board is grabbed in a specific way, or spin tricks, in which the snowboarder spins the board a certain number of degrees. The 1080° spin requires nine actions, the most of any trick in the game.
1080° has three race modes; in these modes, victory can be achieved by taking separate routes within a course and balancing the snowboarder after a jump to avoid speed loss. Tricks are scored in race modes, but do not count toward victory. In match race mode, the player competes in a series of races against AI-controlled snowboarders. The game times the player throughout the level and players receive a damage meter which fills if the snowboarder falls down or is knocked over. The difficulty level in match races can be set to easy, medium, or hard, adjusting the complexity and number of races. If the player fails at defeating an AI competitor, they must retire. The player is given three chances to beat the computer before the game is over.
- Kensuke Kimachi (木町 剣介 Kimachi Kensuke, Japan): 19 years old male. Kensuke joined the team because he wanted to be the best in the world. He does not appear in Avalanche.
- Akari Hayami (速水 あかり Hayami Akari, Japan): 17 years old female. Akari is new to the sport, but a hard worker. Her technique and jumping ability could make her a valuable asset to the team. She is the younger sister of Wave Race 64 veteran Ryota Hayami.
- Rob Haywood (ロブ・ヘイウッド, USA): 20 years old male. Rob joined the team through Ricky’s father. He’s a skilled snowboarder, but still has a lot to learn.
- Ricky Winterborn (リッキー・ウインターボーン, Canada): 14 years old male. The youngest playable character, Ricky is a cocky little kid. That’s probably because his dad founded this team. Although he’s not strong, he has excellent trick technique.
- Dion Blaster (ディオン・ブラスター, United Kingdom): 28 years old male. The oldest playable character, Dion is one of the best overall snowboarders on the team. However he doesn’t excel when it comes to tricks. This makes him impatient and irrational at times.
There are six playable courses: Crystal Lake, Crystal Peak, Golden Forest, Mountain Village, Dragon Cave, and Deadly Falls.