An air of mystery surrounded the SSX launch event. The invite was vague and gave little details other than to be prepared for something “death defying!” A coach awaited us to whisk us away to a mystery location. After a short journey, this location turned out to be Battersea Power Station in London. We were ushered rapidly into a small room to have a chance to play the game. With a quick glance upwards on my way in, I saw out of the corner of my eye a wire running from the roof of the building, which gave me a clue as to what I was about to face. S**t.
There was just enough time to stop for refreshments and get some hands-on time with SSX before we were guided up a rickety and seemingly endless staircase to the roof of the building.
It was at this point that we were told — if it hadn’t already become clear with the MASSIVE zip line running from the roof into the dark void of black below — that we would be zip lining from the roof!
I got enough time to see a few snowboarders throw themselves off of the launch ramp, before I had to strap on my harness. This gets a bit *ahem* personal. So much so, that I offered to buy the nice lady helping me into the harness dinner before we go any further.
Signing the form saying that I acknowledge that zip lining is a “dangerous” activity that could cause me “death or bodily harm” maybe fairly standard legal fare, but there is something slightly disconcerting about signing a form that essentially gives someone permission to kill me by throwing me off of a roof. = /
A few last minute safety checks later and I was standing on the edge ready to rock. Standing there, on a wobbly plank on a raised platform was the only time I got slightly nervous. There were safety ropes, but I couldn’t feel them, and it made me feel as if falling would spell certain doom. It felt a little better when I was hooked up to the wire above my head (I could feel it pulling on me).
A few seconds later, I was given the all clear to jump. If I had thought about this at this stage, I may have never jumped. The best way for me to deal with the situation was not to think about it, which was probably good, as it meant I was still slightly confused when the moment of “Holy balls, I just jumped off a building and I’m going to die” hit me. As soon as the zip line took the tension though, any thoughts of falling leave my mind – it was all about flying from there.
Just enough time for some star jumps, spins, a bit of Superman and a lot whopping — definitely whooping, NOT screaming — and before I knew it, it was time to remember that I had absolutely no instructions on what to do on the landing! Fortunately, one of the three guys waiting to catch me on the other end of the line yelled, “Throw out your hand!” I duly obliged and came to a slightly sudden but welcome stop. A few seconds later my feet were back on solid ground.
I ran upstairs in the hope of having another go, but we ran short of time. It was an AWESOME experience and unlike anything I had done before — having not made a habit of jumping off of buildings or having done any other form of bungee jumping or extreme sports or snowboarding before.
Once back inside we got some more time with the game. This was the first time I got to play the deadly decent, survival style Race mode that was certainly different to the more serene mountain decents I had played previously. It seemed quite hard from the small bit I got to play, even with the handy rewind feature that just deducts point when used. Generally, this build seemed a lot smoother than the one I played in September last year and makes me look forward to it even more.
You can hear more about this event and SSX on Episode 2 of BRBUK, and you can get your own hands-on with SSX when it launches (not off of a building but in your local game stores) on February 28th (US) and on March 3rd (UK)