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A New Cycle of Extreme Sports

by Neal Ronaghan - May 29, 2008, 6:49 pm PDT
Total comments: 4

Despite all the hate for the staleness of the Tony Hawk series, the original game and the first couple of sequels were actually quite innovative. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, when it was released in 1999, pretty much solidified a floundering genre. It set up basic gameplay that was improved yearly until they had done all the basic improvements for skateboarding (manuals, reverts…) and then had to go to the next level, open worlds. No longer shackled to two minute time constraints, the game evolved a lot over the course of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 and Tony Hawk's Underground but the next step kind of ruined the game for me. Apparently the next step in Tony Hawk video game evolution was to include Bam Margera's CKY antics. And thus, Tony Hawk's Underground 2 was pretty much the beginning of end of the series for me.

The next game in the series (the seventh for those keeping score) was actually very good. It was pretty much the culmination of every previous game. If Tony Hawk's American Wasteland were the last game of its kind, I think I would fondly remember the Tony Hawk series. However, that doesn't fit into Activision's plans for world domination and/or game franchise over saturation. The next two years worth of games were pretty horrendous (at least in my opinion) and were part of the factor that eventually led to my pretty adamant boycott of buying any Activision games new, but that is a post for a different time.

However, this genre is really looking up for the first time in a long time. Last year's release of Skate for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 was a back to the basics game that introduced truly innovative controls. Wii will receive a new version of the game called Skate It that promises innovative skateboarding controls via the Wii Remote. Meanwhile, Ubisoft is readying Shaun White Snowboarding which will be making heavy use of the Wii Balance Board. And apparently Activision is taking a year off of Tony Hawk games which might be exactly what the series needs. Although the pessimist in me predicts that the next Tony Hawk game will be a carbon copy of Skate and will eventually lead the genre into a brief renaissance followed by eight to ten years of crap.

Talkback

walkingdead2May 30, 2008

i have to agree for the most part.  i am a big fan of the tony hawk series.  and i remember going in to EB's on a weekly basis asking about a release date for the first tony hawk game.  week after week went by and no date. finaly i gave up on it then the next thing you know its out and you couldn't find it any where.

but hey just throwin this out there am i the only one who thinks that all the odd numbered TH games are good and the even numbered ones suck?  i do have to say however American wasteland sucked on all accounts.

I'll standby American Wasteland being a very good game, maybe not as classic as THPS3, but still a good game. I really liked the classic goals that were added in later on (I think it was first in THUG 2).
Although isn't American Wasteland an odd numbered one?
But THUG 2 is the one game that I thought was pretty awful on most accounts. Maybe it the Bam humor just hit me too late as I went through my boyhood CKY/Jackass phase the year before.

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusMay 31, 2008

I was delirious after playing THPS2 on the dreamcast for the first time.  I played it for about 8 hours straight then finally went to bed.  As soon as I closed my eyes, I was having very vivid hallucinations of going up half-pipes in trademark THPS2 slow motion.  It was great.  3 and 4 permanently sated my appetite for the genre though.

Whle this doesn't directly affect the matter of Tony Hawk games, it does tie into the Extreme Sports genre and crazy hallucinations.

Around last September (when Halo 3 came out), I was playing the game shortly after it launched for a very long time (*sigh* it seems to be all college kids know sometimes...) and I had been playing a lot of the Skate demo around the same time. So, when I went to sleep, I had these really crazy Metal Gear Solid 2 Substance-esque skateboarding dreams of Master Chief skateboarding through Halo 3 maps. I woke up and was convinced this actually existed until I tried to show a friend of my online and realized I was crazy.

I have had dreams about video games I play too much late at night (after Rock Band's endless setlist, during the week of Super Mario Galaxy's launch, any puzzle game ever...) but never have I ever seen two games combine into something as vivid as that.

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