For guests paying good money for their chalets in Morzine, gaming may not seem like a priority, or even something to do at all. But as any young person will tell you, a good virtual challenge is one of the best ways to while away a stormy, blustery evening when the pistes are closed; and fortunately for winter sport aficionados, there are a number of titles depicting their favourite sports, across all the main systems and gaming generations.
In fact, there has been a niche market for skiing and snowboarding titles since virtually the dawn of gaming, with the ancient Atari 2600 yielding the first of many titles attempting to replicate the experience of booking chalets in Morzine or another resort and taking to the slopes. The first attempt of this kind, simply called ‘Skiing’, was relatively popular at the time, and paved the way for what was to come.
In subsequent years and ‘generations’, there has hardly been a case of a gaming system not counting at least one winter-sports game among the titles in its library. The fact that snowboard is often considered an ‘extreme sport’ helped bring such titles to the mainstream, with mid-90s series such as ‘Cool Boarders’ (on the original PlayStation) spawning several spinoffs and even more imitators. The gaming world’s fascination with easy-to-pull-off stunts, not possible in previous systems due to graphical limitations, helped make these titles best-sellers, in a trend that has cooled off considerably nowadays, but still rears its head from time to time.
As snowboard was climbing to the top of the gaming world’s charts, however, skiing continued to occupy a much more niche position within the market. While visually impressive in its own right, skiing is often seen as a much more ‘elite’ (and dull) sport than snowboarding, and is therefore somewhat harder to make appealing for an instant-gratification-seeking public such as gamers. Still, titles such as ‘Val D’Isére Ski Park Manager’ (a micro-management game in the style of ‘Sim City’ for the PC) or ‘Nagano Winter Olympics’ (a multi-event simulation game on the old Nintendo 64 and PlayStation) have helped keep the flame alive throughout the years.
The result of this trend is that, nowadays, gamers idling away the hours at their chalets in Morzine have a wide variety of titles to choose from. And while the numbers are somewhat skewed towards retro consoles, the more recent systems also offer enough titles to keep any self-respecting winter gamer satisfied!