One of the games I played most in my youth was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. When Activision released a remake of THPS 1 + 2 I bought it immediately. Inject that sweet nostalgia straight into my eyeballs.
It’s a dynamite revival. Gameplay is buttery smooth, the park creator massively improves the one I remember, and the soundtrack (all the songs from the originals minus three) is killer.
THPS was my introduction to punk rock. Growing up in rural Ontario with only a few radio stations and dial-up Internet, I heard little music outside your standard mainstream fare. Then I got a taste of Bad Religion and wanted more.
Likewise, Superman by Goldfinger was my first exposure to ska music. Ska has become a punchline in the years since but I don’t care; throw horns on a punchy guitar riff and you have my attention. The most fun I had as a teenager was skanking in decrepit clubs to Reel Big Fish and Catch 22. I might not have known they exist if THPS hadn’t clued me in.
This might sound odd for a game that blasts Cyco Vision and which results in a sickening fleshy crunch when you lose your balance,1 but playing THPS is meditative. Nothing aligns the chakras like landing the perfect combo. Alto’s Adventure trades exclusively in this feeling. It’s the ultimate wellness.
Playing again reawakens a phenomenon where I constantly evaluate the skateboardability of my surroundings. I judge parks not by their landscaping but on their rail placement. I get bummed when I see “no skateboarding” signs, despite not owning a skateboard and having difficulty even balancing on one. I also become a harsh critic of those who skateboard in real life. Landed a kickflip? Boring. Call me when you pull off a 900.
I sympathize with the modern gripe of repaying for games you’ve already bought,2 but when they’re done as well as THPS 1 + 2, here’s my wallet.
The thousands of times I’ve virtually killed Tony Hawk is horrific. I’m sorry Tony. ↩
Nintendo is famous for this. I bought The Wind Waker for Game Cube, then again for Wii U, and I’ll buy it yet again if they remaster it for the Switch. I have my eye on Skyward Sword HD. They’ve already locked in a future sale of Breath of the Wild: 8K Edition. ↩