Trials & Tribulations

I honestly believe that Trials HD and Trials Evolution are two of the best games of this generation. I realize that's a bold statement for what is essentially a 2D sidescroller with a robust physics engine, so here are a few reasons to justify my wild claims:

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    I've Got Blisters on My Fingers!: Any time I get into the Trials groove, I develop some badass blisters on my hands. Excluding the titular puzzle racers (that, of course, being the technical name for this genre), the only recent game to even slightly offend my digits is Super Meat Boy. And it's not just a time thing that produces these badges of honor; it takes some serious, aggressive force. If counting pain and physical deformity as positive endpoints for a gaming session seems ridiculous, you didn't play enough NES games.
  • Full Body Workout: You can probably chalk this one up to nostalgia as well, but I love the way these games make me move. And I'm not talking about dancing here, I'm talking about the infamous Nintendo Lean. If it worked for millions of Marios, it can work for a nameless, faceless stuntman. Take my lean and use it little man!
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    Nerves of Steel: These games ain't easy. Extreme difficulty isn't always a positive trait, but when coupled with the appropriate sense of accomplishment, it can be cathartic. The quick restarts and the omnipresent reset counter turn failure into fun, or at least that's how I'd try to sell it if I were an ad-man.
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    Gaming 101: Gas, break, forward, and back. That's it. Yes, there are some gradations thanks to the analog controls, but you won't find a simpler instruction manual or a more intuitive experience this side of the 8-bit days. So if you don't have Trials, bust out your copy of Excitebike and start grinning.

That's it for now. I'll be hiding away for the next few months studying for my in-service exam and taking lots of call. And, if I'm lucky, scavenging Forerunner technology here and there.