July 29, 2003

Microsoft Game Studios announced today that it’s exclusive snowboarding game for the Xbox, “Amped 2,” will feature the new snowboarding alternate – snowskate. Think skateboarding on the snow, with a small board rather than wheels under a skate-sized deck.

It was just a matter time before someone put surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding together and Andy Wolf was just that guy. Wolf, a professional snowboarder, would slip into town after a competition and try to ride urban rails and perform tricks with his snowboard just like a skateboarder, but the size of the board and the binding were awkward and got in the way. Just like many revolutionary ideas, he locked himself in his garage, tinkered a little and developed the first snowskate prototype.

A snowskate, shorter and narrower than a snowboard, has a twin-tipped skateboard-sized board with a foam top sheet for grip. Some boards have a plastic, channeled base for stability and tracking on rails, and others have an even smaller board with edges attached under the upper deck. Free from the binding, riders can master the same tricks as skateboarders like kick flips, ollies, nose slides and exciting one-footed tweaks, stalls and rails. The addition of snowskate to “Amped 2” provides gamers with a whole new set of tricks to master, significantly increasing the fun and replay-ability of the game. Snowskate will have skateboarders picking up a controller to see if they can do the same things on the snow that they can on the pavement.

Snowskate in “Amped 2” is easy to pick up, but has levels of complexity and difficulty that make this feature a fun break from the pressure of a pro snowboarding career. This mode of play is wrapped into the career, enabling you to take a step back from going pro and try all new types of riding on each level. The “Amped” franchise continues to give gamers the opportunity to go deep inside the snowboarding community and experience the ultimate snowboarding lifestyle. New additions to “Amped 2”, like snowskate and the way to ride with style aka “steez,” provide gamers with the ultimate snowboarding simulation. “Amped 2” also features some of the top mountains from around the globe, including Laax in Switzerland, Mt. Hood in Oregon and Mt. Buller in Australia and many of the top professional snowboarders including Jeremy Jones, JP Walker, Mikey LeBlanc, Travis Parker, Bjorn Leines and Janna Meyen. In addition, world-renowned terrain park designer, Chris “Gunny” Gunnarson, lent his expertise exclusively to the game’s level design. “Amped 2,” which will be Xbox Live enabled, is scheduled for release in October.

Snowskate has not hit the mainstream, but on July 5, Mt. Hood hosted the first ever US Open of Snowskating with more than 20 contestants sliding through the largest snowskate park ever created. Snowskate, like “Amped 2,” is all about hanging out with friends and relentlessly practicing a move over and over until it’s right for no greater reward than the stoke of pulling something nearly impossible.

Xbox (http://www.xbox.com/) is Microsoft’s future-generation video game system that delivers the most powerful games experiences ever. Xbox empowers game artists by giving them the technology to fulfill their creative visions as never before, creating games that blur the lines between fantasy and reality. Xbox is now available in the continents of North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. * * *