PS4, Xbox One, PC; Vicarious Visions/Activision
The legendary skateboarding sim is back in a brilliant rerelease that offers a portal to the past
Skateboarding has often been misunderstood and misrepresented. To a degree, that’s part of its appeal. To skate is to exist out of step with traffic and pedestrians, moving through urban spaces in a way that architects and town planners never intended and reinventing mundane blocks of concrete as a canvas for play and creativity. It is a subculture as much as a sport, but skateboarding is also a welcoming home for misfits.
So many adverts and music videos that clumsily riff on skating have failed to understand what the sport is about. But in 1999, a PlayStation game came along that did more than translate the mechanics of skateboarding into superb gameplay. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater offered a portal to the subculture. It understood what it was to be part of skateboarding, to the point it felt near-documentary. The game was authentic yet accessible, welcoming a new generation to skateboarding while making household names of Hawk and his peers. Along with its sequel, it also had a tremendous influence on game design.