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Skateboarding Games Are Dead

It’s true, skateboarding games are dead. Buried. Finito. No more. Not my words, the words of EA CEO Jon Riccitiello! Actually not really his words either, as what he said was the skateboarding genre has run its course. But you know, in the world of Powerful Men In Big Suits Saying Big Things, then he might as well have said the skateboarding genre is dead. That goes double given EA makes the leading title in the genre.

Even so, as good as Skate 3 was, it felt stale. It would be an ironic way for the series to end given it was originally borne out of Tony Hawk series feeling stale. First Activision overcomplicated it (Project 8) – I have no idea why that has turned into a smilie, it’s certainly not representative of my feelings) and that failed, so then they stripped it down and burdened it with a giant’s nail file that served as a skateboard peripheral of some sort (RIDE, Shred). There’s also Shaun White’s Skateboarding, which is okay I suppose, but you won’t see hordes of PlayStation3 owners kicking down the doors of their local HMV to buy a game that has ‘okay I suppose – Play’ on the box. Not since the days of Need For Speed: Carbon anyway. Zing!

It’s a sad end for skateboarding games if this is indeed the end, if only because Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 was one of my favourite games ever and hasn’t been matched. I remember playing around with the manual move for the first time and thinking how amazing it was that I could combo THE ENTIRE LEVEL (except for ramps, something had to be held back for the sequel). I remember Evil Eye by Fu Manchu and Cyclone by Dub Pistols. I remember how excited I was when I unlocked the swimming pool part of the school level, when you had to grind down the handrails as the school-bell rang. Well, confused first, then excited.

What made the original Tony Hawk games so magical is that they were just games. They weren’t cluttered with a clumsy story, stupid mini-games, embarrassing peripherals or crude attempts at being cool. They were condensed high-score chases, in the same way that Joe Danger or Pac-Man Championship Edition DX  are today. Why not create an old school, nostalgic Tony Hawk in the same manner for PSN? Probably for a bunch business reasons that I don’t understand involving charts, demographics and ‘moving forward’.

The magic of Pro Skater 2 was never recaptured. The only other Tony Hawk game that came close was Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4. I found Skate a fraction too complicated and too grounded for my tastes, latter day Tony Hawk titles swung too far from what made the originals great while Shaun White Skateboarding… meh. So perhaps skateboarding games do need to die for a glorious rebirth to happen but still, I’ll be one of the saddest faces at the funeral if it happens.

R.I.P. Pro Skater series. May you live on in our memories. Sniff.

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  • Maria

    Well,I think that developers stopped making good,quality games with lots of love,and just began to make sequel after sequel with no visible improvements.Same goes for a lot of long-lasting franchises.