Skaters lament. The new Tony Hawk game hasn’t so much arrived as it has bailed trying to do a heel flip and landed in a ditch. It’s ass. It’s toss. It’s an abomination that somehow makes the skateboard peripheral of Tony Hawk: Ride look like a lovely, inexpensive bit of horseplay for the whole family.
Okay, so maybe it’s not that bad. Still, skateboarding fans have certainly been left weeping into their beanies at Pro Skater 5, a disappointing, glitchy showing for a series that’s lost its way. Nevertheless, Pro Skater was never the only game for practitioners of the hippest, hip-breaking-est extreme sport on Earth. Here’s the 4-11 on a few other skate games to try out instead. Check it out, as a youth might say…
People often get mad about skaters. “Hey” they scream. “Hey you! You aren’t contributing to society! You weren’t in ‘Nam! I wasn’t but you weren’t either! Get off that dish tray with wheels and do something!” Often they scream this. Imagine them as the NPCs that Skate allows you to clobber into mid-trick, knocking them headlong into a wall or an oncoming Honda civic, so that they sing a rather different tune: One of longing, aching, pleading to be someone else right now. It’s also the best sim the sport has going for it, but you know, whatever.
The repetitive name of this indie skate-em-up isn’t actually the result of a messed up application form on Steam Greenlight. No, OlliOlli is real, and it was created by sadists. Sadists who know the perfect way to twist your metaphorical gaming nipples until you cry out in pain and anger. What I’m trying to say is that OlliOlli is really flipping frustrating. Timing your grinds so you don’t end up skidding your face along the floor like a Looney Tunes cartoon is hard as nails. Nailing it, meanwhile, gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside that’s better than sex. At least I imagine it is. What is sex? Is sex a fruit? That’s probably what it is.
Disney’s Extreme Skate Adventure
Let’s face it. We’ve all wanted to see Woody kickflip off Andy’s bed, spin gracefully through a Hot Wheels loop-the-loop and end with a magnificent Christ Air while Bo Peep swoons in the background. I am sort of cheating, though. Funnily enough, this game was developed by Neversoft, developers of the early Pro Skater games, so sticking it in an article slagging off Tony Hawk’s just ain’t fair. Then again, watching Bam Margera titting about on a skateboard won’t ever be as entertaining as watching Simba the bloody lion do it.
I know what you’re thinking, and I understand. Minecraft is a game for mining. Minecraft is a game for crafting. Where’s the “skate” in that, huh? WHERE’S THE SKATE? It’s there, all right. Modders have made it possible to take big board tricks to the blocky shores of Mojang and Microsoft’s masterpiece. Certainly it’s not as graceful as Skate, but pop shoving it off the top of your cobblestone fortress still looks a hell of a lot better than a Pro Skater 5 glitch.
Touchgrind Skate 2
The disembodied skateboards are attacking! No silly, it’s just Touchgrind skate 2 for iOS, a great app for bored commuters who’ve joined the establishment to indulge in their rebellious wild side. Touchgrind is particularly revered for a wealth of content, giving you numerous free roam arenas to roll through, as well as a competition mode to flex your fingers against the clock. The controls, which have you resting two fingertips on the board and flicking to do tricks, are intuitive but hard to master. Touch, Grind, Skate, Love, everybody.
Where better to end this largely pointless article (just play Pro Skater 3 mate) than where skating games began; 720, released for the Atari, might not look quite as funky now, with a protagonist draped in either uncool kneepads or naff ‘90s attire, an isometric view, and some pretty lame visuals, dude. That said, the game is still far from a walk in the skate park. Fail to land enough tricks in a given time limit and your hero will be swarmed by a pack of angry bees. Pretty gnarly, if you ask me. Although I still find Finding Nemo pretty gnarly, to be honest. Ask someone else.
TL:DR Pro Skater 5 isn’t that great, try out a few of the above instead. Maybe next time, the Gods of Games will smile more fondly upon skateboarding. Heaven knows, Tony Hawk’s hasn’t recently.
Header Image: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 Trailer