Friday, March 04, 2005

An untold tale of Cooooooool Boarders!

Where are you UEP systems? More on that in a bit. Snowboarding games are one of those sub-genres that I initially loved, but have almost completely lost interest in. The first game I recall playing tons of was Cool Boarders for the PlayStation by Japanese developer UEP systems. It was such a rush to barrel downhill in 3D and pull off the available tricks that it was easy to ignore the many flaws in the game. Four more PlayStation CB games were released after that, but only the direct sequel was made by UEP.

The last UEP snowboarder I played was Rippin’ Riders for the Dreamcast, which did go by the CB name in Japan. That was a ton of fun too. We got another non-UEP developed Cool Boarders (CB 2001 from Idol Minds) for the PS2. Around the same time the Japanese audience got CB: Code Alien, but I never bothered importing it because SSX has pretty much taken over by then. SSX Tricky was the shit and I haven’t played a snowboarder as vigorously since then. SSX3 was aight, Amped 2 got some play because it supported widescreen 720p, and well that’s that.

While I doubt next generation UEP developed CB game would get me going again, I do miss them. After all, they are also responsible for another of my all-time favorite games Rising Zan: Samurai Gunman for the PS.

Back in 1996, I got a call from UEP systems out of the blue at the offices of Tips & Tricks. I’m not sure why they rang me up directly, but I have a feeling it was because I had a Japanese name and they spoke almost no English. Even in those days, console game developers were always brought in tow by public relation or marketing folks, so this was a bit unusual. Two guys from UEP appear, and show us Cool Boarders. Afterwards, we give them copies of Tips & Tricks and also some porn mags because it’s Larry Flynt publishing after all. They seem very happy about them. Well, about every 2-3 months after, they would come over to show us more Cool Boarders even though there was not much new to show. I figured they just wanted more American porn. The last time they came was to show a fighting game made to appeal to girls. You could change the character’s nail polish, clothes, shoes, etc. Thinking back on it now, they were ahead of their time with this sort of feature. Unfortunately, the game never came out and I never heard from them again.

So, anyone out there know what happened to them? I heard they had gone out of business, which is probably likely since their last credited game was back in 2001.

UPDATE:
Well it's not UEP related, but check out the latest from Richard Linklater. Mix Waking Life with the Matrix and some other crazy movies and you get this. Totally cool looking. Keanu needs a break from these types of roles though.

2 comments:

Frosty said...

Wow! I can't believe that you liked Rising Zan, as well. I haven't run across many people who even know that game ever existed. The "sexy points" you earned at the end of a level was the best and I've always wanted to bring that phrase back in a future game I work on. Oh, just talking about this game brings back happy memories of the theme song.

Wataru Maruyama said...

A year after Rising Zan came out, I went for a visit to the US publishers of that game (I think it was to cover a new King's Field game or something) and I told them about my Rising Zan love and of course they couldn't believe it. Before I left that day, one of the art guys did a mock cover of the game that replaced the original title with Rising Wat against the red background and main character. I know I have it on a zip disk somewhere.