I can’t have been older than six years old the first time I played Tony Hawk. It was Pro Skater 4 on the PS2 at my grandma’s house. I would spend hours with my cousin getting my ass kicked at Trick Attack. Then one Christmas there was a brand new Playstation 2 and a copy of Tony Hawk’s Underground under the tree. Just like any other kid my age, I stayed away from Career mode because I couldn’t get past the second level. I spent most of the time in multiplayer. Then a few years later I got an Xbox, along with THUG 2. Now that I was a bit older I had the coordination to not get frustrated at every other mission. Eventually I had beaten the game a dozen times over.
THUG 2 was the best Tony Hawk game ever in my opinion. The Create-a-Skater/Park/Move modes were the broadest that they ever were in the franchise. You could literally have a blue-skinned robot skeleton with a parrot on its shoulder. Next to the zombies, aborigines on go-karts and Bigfoot on a chainsaw-engine skateboard, this wasn’t out of place at all. If you didn’t like the story mode, you could ignore it and go to Classic mode, which plays just like a Pro Skater game, essentially making THUG 2 two games in one. But every game after that was a decline from this. After the dreaded Tony Hawk Ride and Shred, we thought that all hope was lost for the Birdman. But in an interview Tony Hawk revealed that despite what Activision said, there was still a future for the franchise.
I think that getting back to its roots was the best thing for the game. This summer, you will be able to play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD. THPSHD brings the best of the first two games rebuilt from the ground up. I am definitely going to get this. It’s been a long time since I’ve played some good Tony Hawk. I’ve been able to satisfy myself a little with the Pro Skater 3 disc I just happened to have, but it can only do so much. Man, I wish I still had that THUG 2. Well needless to say, I hope that this game does good and they start making full titles again. Hopefully a THUG 3. But besides this, It would really do good for the skater culture. When I was little I was very much into skateboarding thanks to these games (and also Rocket Power). The first documentary I watched of my own accord was one on skateboarding produced by Mike Vallely. This could inspire a new generation of kids to do one of the most incredible sports in the world.
By the way, I did eventually make it to a skate park once in my life. The back pain that lasted two days caused by falling on my ass made me realize that maybe I should just leave the skateboarding to my thumbs. But who knows, maybe I’ll pick it up again one day.