Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 releases this Friday, so that series has been on my mind. I’ve been playing the demo a bunch, which features a two-minute run on the warehouse level just like the original game. I also recently watched Pretending I’m a Superman, a documentary about the series’ impact on skateboarding.

Some miscellaneous thoughts:

  • I knew the THPS games were huge, but I underestimated how huge. Not only did they sell over thirty million copies, but the skaters interviewed in the documentary credit them with massively influencing the trajectory of the sport—from growing the fanbase to changing how people actually skate.

  • I get that prerelease demos are used to incentivize preorders, but I wish they’d put this one out for everyone since it does such a good job of dispelling doubts. I bet a lot of lapsed fans would fork over the preorder cash after a single run, once they experienced the game’s feel. But I guess that’s why I don’t work in marketing…

  • As popular as it is, I think the warehouse level is underrated. It deserves to be in the pantheon of iconic video game areas, like Blood Gulch from Halo or Facing Worlds from Unreal Tournament. I remembered everything and I hadn’t seen it in twenty years.

  • It was heartening to see that the mute is getting renamed and to see improved diversity among the playable characters, especially after hearing young interviewees in the documentary cite the original THPS’s one Black skater (Kareem Campbell) and one woman (Elissa Steamer) as inspirations. Hopefully this game feels more inclusive!