|Summer is the perfect time to
skateboard. I should know, I love to skateboard. School is no longer a factor and there is
far less to worry about. The sun is high (as well as the temperature), and the amount of
time available for pure skateboarding is great. For me summer is a good time for
skateboarding, not for playing video games. And although I would prefer to roll around
with my friends with the sun overhead instead of staring blankly at a television screen,
there are just some video games that you have to play, no matter the time or the place.
The game that I set my precious time aside for was ironically based on the same thing that
I yearn for the most -- skateboarding.
To my knowledge, before Tony Hawks Pro Skater, there were never any really good skateboarding games. The first game I remember playing that involved skateboarding was the sequel to the first Extreme Games video game, 2 Extreme. In this game you can either skateboard, rollerblade, street luge, or bike. The courses are pretty much all the same for each individual sport, which I found stupid because each sport requires very different courses. If the video game were to follow the Extreme Games design of real life courses for skateboarding, rollerblading, and biking, they would have made a half pipe and a variety of street courses available in the game, not to mention the addition of many tricks and trick combinations for the sports. Its not that you cant do tricks in 2 Extreme, but that the tricks are very limited, meaning that there are only a few tricks, and the only obstacles for pulling tricks on are launch ramps, which come in many different forms. In 2 Extreme all of the courses are downhill, which would be fine for a street luging video game, but still leaves all the other sports in unfamiliar territory. Although this video game is truly horrible, I am glad it was made, because people need to learn from there mistakes, and this is the perfect mistake to learn from.
Before I tell you why Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is so great, even in demo form (the only form that its available in right now), we have to touch on another video game that helped get to the greatest skateboarding video game of all time -- so far. I mean Street Skater. Unlike 2 Extreme, Street Skater is fairly new, and although it is a bad game, its much better than 2 Extreme. When I first heard about Street Skater I thought that it could be the one. And I wasnt let down too much, but just enough. There were a lot more tricks in Street Skater than there were in 2 Extreme. You could grind and slide, and there were also many different courses. The main thing that I didnt like about this game is that it couldnt escape the racing feel. It wasnt a racing game, but the course was long, like a race, and you could not turn around to go in the opposite direction. It reminded me of the Cool Boarder games. Even though I do not like the design for a skateboarding game, I think that the format is quite acceptable for snowboarding games, because snowboarding is a downhill sport, unlike skateboarding. And although the racing aspect of 2 Extreme was lost with Street Skater, the snowboarding aspect was slightly applied, revealing that the people who made the game must not know a lot about skateboarding and must associate it with snowboarding too much.
Now to introduce the game that knows nothing about racing or the ways of snowboarding, and has plenty of tricks and trick combinations, Tony Hawks Pro Skater. Even upon hearing about this game I knew that it was going to be very, very good. And of course, I was not let down. What can you expect from the man who is probably the most respected skateboarder of all time, not only by other skateboarders, but greatly respected by avid Extreme Game fans. The first time I played it I was just amazed. Sure, its only a demo, its two minutes long, theres only one level, and theres no signature moves for the two players that youre given to skate with (Tony Hawk and Bob Burnquist), but its so fun to play. It almost gave me the feeling of skateboarding. The only reason it wasnt the exact feeling of skateboarding was because I was sitting in a chair exercising my thumbs, but aside from that it totally felt like I was skating in my brain. I would setup my runs in my mind, then bust out the moves, thinking every second how it would really feel on my skateboard. There are a good variety of street tricks as well as a good variety of vert tricks so you're not left bored with the demo. Not to mention trick combinations. I think thats part of the reason the demo is so fun; theres always new stuff to try on street or vert because theres so many combinations.
The full version of Tony Hawks Pro Skater is supposed to feature nine skateboarders (Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist, Chad Muska, Kareem Campbell, Andrew Reynolds, Geoff Rowley, Bucky Lasek, Rune Glifberg, and Jamie Thomas), and will also include ten levels of different varieties of skateboarding obstacles, from schools to skateparks. In addition, each pro is supposed to have signature moves, which will lengthen the trick combinations even further. I like this idea, because I noticed that in the demo, although there were very many tricks put to use, there were quite a few left out. Here are the ones that I noticed: tail slides, nose slides, lip slides, blunt slides, nose blunt slides, hard flips, fakie tricks, nollie tricks, and switch tricks. In spite of that the game is still great with the tricks that it has, but the fact still remains, almost all of the tricks that I just listed play a large role in skateboarding today, and I hope that these tricks are added in the full version of the game.
Finally, weve reached the cream of the crop of skateboarding games. Although there havent been very many thus far, I know that skateboarding is going to keep getting more and more popular, resulting in bigger and better skateboarding games. And while a video game is small in the grand scheme of things, in a way its very big, because Tony Hawks Pro Skater is truly a pioneer of skateboarding and skateboarding games.