I have started to realize I’m not a normal gamer. Whatever normal is anyhow.

Here’s the thing.

First, I bought a brand new PS5 (luck of the restock lottery!) and though I’ve had it for about a week, I’ve used it almost exclusively for PS4 games so far.

Then, I bought a PlayStation Plus subscription which came with a few great monthly free-to-play games, and a large collection of classic PS4 titles. Instead the game I’ve been playing the most was a title I bought on the side called Steep.

Not to mention that it’s been 20 degrees below zero outside all weekend and I’m inside on the couch playing a video game about winter sports.

Not normal.

I’ve logged roughly ten hours on Steep over the last week.

Snowboarding games and I have a long history. When I bought my original PlayStation in the ’90s, I added in two games to take home with me that day: Crash Bandicoot and Cool Boarders 2.

After picking up a PS2 half a decade later, I quickly added SSX3 to my game collection and then upgraded that with a PS3 and SSX a few years later. (Don’t ask me about the game numbering conventions here!)

It was only fitting, I suppose, that the first game I have really dug into on the PS5 (or my overkill PS4 if you’re a console purist) turned out to be a winter sports title.

The game is beautiful.

I slink through reviews and discussion boards online and the loudest, most caps-locked voices seem to be yelling and screaming about resolutions and framerates and OMG how dare this game NOT be 120 FPS in 8K, I WANT my MONEYZ baCK!!

Old gamer alert: I’m still sitting here with my HD screen, so… 1080p … I think. And if you told me it was 60fps I’d probably … dunno … shrug?

Having gone through the eras, remembering when my little teenage mind was gobsmacked blown away at Super Mario Land on my friend’s Gameboy (I mean, I went home and tried to literally draw a picture of how amazing it was for my little brother to comprehend how cool Mario… in your HANDS could be!) … I digress. I think my point was just that I’m easily impressed. And blah blah something about gameplay and fun and enjoying myself as I slide endlessly down a beautiful mountain in the virtual snow.

The old virtual snowboarding legs returned pretty quick. The folks who developed this title must have played some of the same classics that I had over the years. It took me merely half an hour before I was flipping and sliding and jumping and barely even crashing at all through the powder. I also quickly learned about the joys of ragdoll physics.

Of course there are a million new features that I’ve barely dabbled in.

I mean, I put a classy grunge outfit on my dude.

I tried a bunch of the other sports, like gliding … and jet crashing your head into a cliff something or another sport.

I unlocked a sled, yes a toboggan on a ski hill, and spent a whole evening telling my wife the same bad joke about bringing a sled on our next ski trip. (She said no, BTW.)

And I’ve ignored a whole bunch of multiplayer online people who seem to want to “group together” for some reason I can’t fathom in a sport where I can neither keep track of where I am virtually, and tend to lose people (sometimes deliberately) on the real mountain when I do this kind of thing in real life.

So it goes that as I wrap up my first week with this new PS5 console, I’ve been hiding away from the crazy-cold temperatures on the other side of the window. I’m avoiding the winter (avoiding the pandemic, avoiding the fact I can’t see anyone in real life, avoiding the lack of travel and fun and other winter joys of a normal year) by enjoying a virtual winter scape.

Chilling, as we used to say. See what I did there?

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