SSX – The Video Game Series’ Soundtrack

Hello – on behalf of the New Alt Sounds team, we hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and is as excited as we are for a new year of good music! It seems that at this time of year a lot of music blogs, websites, etc. are doing “Best of 2014” lists. We here at New Alt Sounds are going to deviate from the norm a little bit. The idea to do a piece on SSX, the video game series, came to us while we were reminiscing about major players, people, and objects that influenced our musical tastes; we decided that, oddly enough, SSX had quite the impact on us and out of said discussion, the idea for this post was born.

I remember one of the first video games I ever played was SSX Tricky on Playstation. I loved that game – I played the game with my older brother during winter breaks, weekends, and any free time we could scrape together. The title track of the game, Run-DMC’s “It’s Tricky”, fit perfectly with the SSX  concept. The background tracks during the game’s races included electronic elements with alternative undertones. Looking back now, SSX Tricky, sad as it may be, was most likely my first exposure to “alternative” music. I did not know then that the alternative genre would be the type of music I would come to enjoy so much.

SSX 3 is the next installment of the SSX series that I owned – I had the pleasure of enjoying the Nintendo Gamecube version. SSX 3 may arguably be the greatest soundtrack of the series with artists like Autopilot Off, Caesers, Finger Eleven, N.E.R.D., and Red Hot Chili Peppers. The game included the option to have tracks remixed while the user was enjoying gameplay. SSX 3 was a leader in an era of video games with conscious effort and choices of soundtracks.

SSX (2012) – is the latest installment of the SSX series that I had the pleasure of playing. This installment took the alternative / alt-punk soundtrack of SSX 3 and updated it to accommodate for the recent shift in enthusiasm for electronic / dance music. Artists include Foster The People, The Big Pink, DJ Shadow, and a Pretty Lights remix of the classic “It’s Tricky” title track that is synonymous with the SSX series.

The SSX series and I have evolved musically in parallel. At first, we were unsure of our tastes and kept things simple with instrumentals. Second, we moved to a more punk-alt sound (which, admittedly, I still enjoy today). Finally, we embraced the new trend in electronic music and it’s influence on the alternative music genre. That is the beauty of the alternative genre – it contains so many categories and sub-categories that there is something for almost everyone within the alternative space.

SSX – a great video game with great music. I personally think that this video game series put the pressure on video game creators to really think about music choice within their games because SSX games did such a great job on their soundtracks and consumers noticed – I definitely did. A good soundtrack adds to the experience of the game and methodically selected music can help evoke the emotion the game creator wants the players to feel while engaging in gameplay. Regardless, SSX has one of the best soundtracks for a video game of all time. Feel free to share some favorite tracks of the SSX series or other games that you think compete with SSX for the title of greatest video game soundtrack of all time!


– Jonah




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