Shaun White Snowboarding (2008) Launch Party

At just 22-years-old and with snowboard in hand, Shaun White has redefined the term “role model.” He has an impressive athletic competition history of winning medals, including an Olympic gold for his performance on the Men’s Halfpipe. He gets invited to the Playboy Mansion and appears in magazines like Rolling Stones. He also owns a Lamborghini. In a few days he’ll be hitting the slopes on your nearest gaming console. Shaun White is quickly becoming one of the few sports icons turned celebrity, so it is without surprise that the launch party for the Shaun White Snowboarding video game be held in typical Hollywood fashion.

The party was held at Boulevard3 and they did an amazing job turning a steamy Hollywood nightclub into a cool winter playground. Outside, man-made snow filled the fountains and spilled in piles around the plants. An ice sculpture of Shaun performing an aerial dominated the courtyard. Behind it was the Xbox version of the game projected on a jumbo screen and a gorgeous snow bunny – decked out in stylish winter-wear – demonstrated the game.

The ballroom inside had been converted into a techno-ski lodge. The chandelier was made out of white antlers and mounted animal heads lined the walls. A life-size stuffed polar bear stood behind the DJ as dance floor lights swirled and heavy beats thumped. Upstairs, the equivalent of E3 booth babes demonstrated the Wii and Playstation 3 versions of the game on flat-panel televisions. Most of the guests would migrate upstairs to try their hand at playing or to catch a glimpse of the VIPs, including Shaun White and Audrina Patridge from The Hills. Fellow reality television personality Corinne Kaplan was also spotted enjoying the club.

As for the Shaun White Snowboarding video game goes, it’s a mixed bag as to which was the crowd favorite. Most of the guests were there more for the open bar than to test the game. Those that did play appeared to be drawn more into the Wii version due to its innovative and obvious controls using the Balance Board. When the game called for a jump, players would actually jump off the board – instead of raising their rear foot – causing the game (and the booth babe) to warn them not to do that. This is not to say that people were not engaged by the other versions of the game, but if they were, it was in the typical zombified-gamer way.

For the best-looking version, consumers will want to stick with the PS3. Everything just looks crisper, ranging from the snow textures to the character models. There are also more real-time shadows. The Xbox may offer a close comparison, but it was hard to tell on the grainy jumbo screen. One odd thing about the Xbox version was awkward pop-in on the halfpipe mode, but it was only marginally distracting. All things considered, the game looks adequately good no matter what console it’s on, rendering huge environments, multiple players and real-time effects beautifully.

Shaun White Snowboarding lets you enter a snowboarding world of total freedom. You can create your own experience in this game, and choose how, where and with whom you want to ride. Look for it in stores on November 16.