Snow in videogames – here’s some of the best examples
Yes. Snow. It’s falling from the sky across the UK right now. It’s also in videogames. Let’s discuss it!
It’s snowing in England! Well, it’s snowing in a lot of places in England, but not in Bournemouth. Here the salty sea air means it’s difficult for the snow to stick, so we tend to get slippery sludge rather than the fun, fluffy stuff the rest of the UK is currently prancing about in like they’re in some kind of Charles Dickens novel. But luckily we have videogames! There’s plenty of snow in them, so we can escape the dreary reality of rubbish real-life snow and enjoy the white stuff in its virtual and arguably superior form. Drying our snow-soaked socks by the fire? Pah! That’s for losers! Fake snow is where it’s at, so here’s some of our favourite versions of it in the videogame world:
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
It’s kind of silly to bang on about a feature like snow during the run up to a game’s release, but that’s what Naughty Dog did. We heard a great deal about how amazing that game’s snow was; how full it looked, how light passed through it, how crunchy it was, how it caught on Drake’s hair and clothes. But fair play to Naughty Dog, the snow was pretty amazing. Not only did it give the game’s Tibetan levels a beautiful, white look, it created a tactile sense of connection between Drake and the environment, something Naughty Dog does very well indeed.
There’s something so incredibly satisfying about carving your way through SSX 3′s thick snow. Slicing a broad line through that plain white canvas delivers the same giddy joy we felt as children (and now, to be honest) when we found a fresh patch of untouched snow and trampled it under our wellies. Crashing down into it after pulling off a gravity-defying mid-air trick with a perfect landing is one of the coolest moments a videogame can deliver.
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
The original Lost Planet, of course, because in the sequel Capcom decided most of the snow had melted. Apparently there was a jungle under there the whole time. Who’d have known? We like Lost Planet’s snow because there’s just so much of it. It often reaches up to Wayne’s knees, and it’s so incredibly crunchy. Forget the war against the Akrids and the Snow Pirates. We’d just use the mechanised Vital Suits to make massive snow angels.
Sega Rally Revo
Sega Rally Revo’s selling point was its track deformation, and watching its cars churn up snow with the underlying mud and dirt was a satisfying experience to say the least. Usually snow in a racing game exists just to make handling and traction that little bit more slippy. Here it had more of a substantial effect, the furrows caused by previous laps around the track slightly altering your racing line and demanding quick reflexes to keep your vehicle from spinning out.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
A bit of a weird one this. All the characters keep talking about snow, but we never saw any in Vice City. It seemed nice, warm and sunny most of the time, and all its inhabitants were very cheery, hyperactive, talkative, and seemed to have big egos. Strange…
The original Silent Hill is an expert lesson in how to use environmental effects such as snow as a way of creating tension. Firstly, it’s snowing out of season, so as soon as you enter the town of Silent Hill you know something’s not quite right. Even the weather refuses to act normally here. Secondly, it creates a cold, lonely, distant atmosphere of complete solitude. The game’s all the more scary because of it. I mean, just imagine paying Silent Hill if it was the middle of summer and Harry Mason was wearing a Panama hat, shorts and a pair of Ray-Bans. Not so scary.
Metal Gear Solid
Because it’s set in Alaska, there’s lots of snow there, and EVERYTHING in Metal Gear Solid is amazing. Even its snow.