Culture. Media. Skateboarding.

Skateboard Games – A History of Skateboarding Video Games

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street skater, playstationStreet Skater – PlayStation, 1998
At first glance, the cover of this game looks like it might be a rollerblading game.  And it very well could of been, as rollerblading was big around this time.  Just like the late ’80s and early ’90s had a certain nostalgia, so did the late ’90s and this game personified it.  And like many skateboarding games, it had a great soundtrack.  This game can’t be too hard to find, so get your hands on one, fire up the ol’ Playstation & enjoy this one!

 

tony hawk, pro skater, video game, playstation, skateboardingTony Hawk’s Pro Skater – Multiple Platforms, 1999
The original of the series and still one of the best in our opinion.
If you were alive when this came out, playing this today will give you the chills.
If you born after, you’re gonna be wondering what VHS tapes are and why you have to collect them.

 

 

skate and destroy, thrasher, playstation, skateboardingThrasher: Skate and Destroy – PlayStation, 1999
In the wake of the first Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Thrasher’s Skate and Destroy went largely unrecognized.  Regarded to be less user-friendly than THPS, Skate and Destroy was also noted as being more sophisticated.  Landing difficult tricks was far more complex which may have turned off more novice game players.  All things considered, Skate and Destroy is just as significant an entry as Pro Skater into the skateboarding video game world.

 

 

grind session, playstation, skateboarding, video gameGrind Session – PlayStation, 2002
By this time, the “3rd-person, skate anywhere” format had become standard and Grind Session was another game worth mentioning.  Grind Session wasn’t nearly as good as it’s recent competitors, but it did feature an interesting list of pro skateboarders to choose from including Daewon Song, Ed Templeton, and Cara-Beth Burnside.

 

 

tony hawk 2, pro skater, gameTony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 – Many Platforms, 2000
Sequels aren’t often better than the original, or at least aren’t usually better for their respective time period than the original.  However, THPS 2 just may have been even more significant than the first.  Bigger levels, more tricks, more options, and an awesome soundtrack are just a few of the improvements over the first Pro Skater, which was released just a year earlier.  Almost 15 years later, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 still provides endless hours of fun.

x games, skateboarding, video gameESPN X-Games Skateboarding – PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, 2001
In 2001, ESPN released another game based off the X-Games.  Unlike their previous releases, this one only featured skateboarding.  X-Games Skateboarding received many mixed reviews and ultimately would not hold up as well as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, which came out that same year.  This game did, however, feature a solid soundtrack, including relative Linkin Park, Sum 41, and New Found Glory, all relative newcomers at the time.

 

go go hypergrind, skateboarding, gamesGo! Go! Hypergrind – Nintendo GameCube, 2003
One of many skateboarding games to feature cartoon characters, Go! Go! Hypergrind was released by Atlus for the Nintendo GameCube.  Wacky?  Yes.  But many people were able to get over this and enjoy the gameplay, graphics, and sounds.

 

 

tony hawk, underground, video gameTony Hawk’s Underground – Multiple Platforms, 2003
Tony Hawk’s Underground was the 5th skateboarding game bearing the Birdman’s namesake, but the first to not include “Pro Skater”.  Just like most of the previous games, Underground received wide critical acclaim.  A significant difference in “T.H.U.G.” was that you could walk, run, and climb in addition to skateboarding.  This helped make this entry much more of a role-playing or “adventure” game.

 

 

skate 4, video game, skateboardingSkate – Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mobile, 2007
Let’s jump ahead a bit, as the Tony Hawk series seemed to dominate the skateboarding video game world for several consecutive years.  Simply titled Skate, this game was released by EA on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and maybe most interestingly, mobile phones.  Skate also featured an online multi-player mode.  Reaction to this game was very positive.  Multiple sequels were created not long after Skate’s release.

 

 


Skate It – Nintendo DS, Wii, iOS, 2008

The story within EA’s Skate It fits in between Skate and it’s sequel, Skate 2.  It received similar praise from critics, who enjoyed the presentation, gameplay, and soundtrack.

shaun white, skateboarding, video gameShaun White Skateboarding – Windows, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, 2010
Even though he’s more well known for his snowboarding, Shaun White is a very well-respected skateboarder.  His unique style, signature tricks, and contest victories led to him getting a video game all of his own.

 

 

 

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD – Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, Windows, 2012
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is a mix of the first 2 THPS games, but displayed in high-definition.  This version showcases many features from both classic games, and also brings in new elements.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, Playstation & Xbox, 2015
This entry into the Tony Hawk series of skateboarding video games returned to the original “Pro Skater” titling. THPS5 featured a mostly all-new cast of skaters including prominent females like Leticia Bufoni and Lizzie Armanto.  The game play and levels were meant to hark back on what made the originals great. However, the result was something different. The game received a lot of negative feedback, namely about its design and tendency to glitch.


Other Skateboarding Game Entries Over the Years

We’re totally cool with The Simpsons Skateboarding video game; Bart was an inspiration to a lot us.  But it’s hard to say the same about many of the others.  Come on, Buzz Lightyear?  Goofy?  SIMBA?!?  We haven’t played many of these titles but we recommend sticking to the games that focus on great gameplay, resemblance to actual skateboarding, and soundtracks that you could actually skate to.  Any game that’s merely trying to cash in on skateboarding’s popularity is probably not worth playing.
goofy, skateboarding, gameskate video game, playstationskateboarding, disney, gamecubethe simpsons, skateboarding, playstation

The Future
As skateboarding grows in prominence and continues to influence popular culture, we’re bound to see new video games arise.  The fact of the matter is that skateboarding itself requires physical commitment and playing the games does not. Those not willing to dedicate their bodies but still want to be a part of the scene will turn to wearing skate clothing and playing the video games. This demand will drive the production of skateboarding games, which is ultimately a plus for actual skateboarders. Either the game will be great and will make for quality downtime between skate sessions, or it will garbage where we can still get a kick out of how companies fail to comprehend the intricacies of skateboarding.

Conclusions
In conclusion, skateboarding games come in all forms.  Some are better than others.  Some become classics, while others are forgotten.  But one thing is certain, no skateboarding video game can ever come close to the fun of the real thing… NOW GO SKATE!

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