Ladies and Gentlemen, I miss Amped. I don't necessarily miss its slopes packed with ramps, rails, stairs and half-pipes. I wouldn't really say that I miss it for its looks, or "radness." I miss it because it was so re-playable to me in a very unique way; not for story (obviously) or the opportunity to post a worldwide high score at Breckenridge, but for its music. Frankly, playing this game was key to my formative teenage years.

When I was 12, I excitedly unboxed the (then) new XBox with my older brother and sister. It was an extremely exciting time! Along with the console, my brother, sister and I were given Halo: Combat Evolved, Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, and Amped Freestyle Snowboarding. Given the collective personality of myself and my siblings, we tried out Halo, we decided to take Oddworld for a spin. Admittedly, we didn't even try Amped until a couple of days after Christmas. At that point, I was still on break and the only member of my circle of friends who had not left town to visit family and I'd found myself bored of Halo and Oddworld. At that juncture, I decided to give Amped a try.

Immediately after popping the disc into the drive, I was met by a super rad track from the rockabilly/surf rock group, The Ziggens.

Just like that, I'd discovered and fallen in love with a type of music that was completely foreign to me. Within the game's settings, I discovered the ability to toggle genres of music. As a result, I limited my Amped soundtrack to JUST the rockabilly/surf rock genres. However, as time went on, it became stale. I decided to take a drastic direction when probing for new music, and really liked what I heard when I added hip-hop to the mix:

I spent the entire day bobbing my head to beats I appreciated and doing my best to follow the lyrics. I was having a blast enjoying the soundtrack and honing my skills on these virtual slopes. Playing Amped during my downtime became an increasingly cathartic experience for me, especially when slowly adding more of the available genres to my list.

Hearing and appreciating the musical talents included on that game made me very happy, and I was thrilled when Amped 2 was released. I immediately ran to the store, picked it up, then played it for an entire weekend. Amped 2 was a vast improvement upon a game that I had unexpectedly come to love. It had finer-tuned controls, the addition of Xbox Live and a new soundtrack. I absolutely adored the new tracks from artists I had come to admire from the previous game, such as MyG and Time Spent Driving, and was glad to find repeat appearances of my favorite songs.

I welcomed the new additions to the artist pool with open arms, as well, with the likes of Pele, Acumen Nation, Skylab 2000 and Darwa.

Because of how these games opened my eyes to music, I was taught to see and appreciate things that may not have aligned with my previous preferences. For that, they will always hold a special place in my heart. These games provided me with a way to mull over my teenage struggles (which now seem vastly minute in comparison to being an adult) in a constructive way and helped me toward being comfortable with self expression. They were the games I needed if I was bummed out and wanted to just listen to some tunes and mindlessly rack up point combos. They were the games I needed when I wanted to wind down from an incredible day with my friends or family and reflect. They were the games I needed to help me grow up in a positive way. They were the games I needed to escape.


What game do you miss?