I grew up in what I guess you could call a mountain town.
I mean, we had a small ski hill in my back yard, and it was only a 30-minute drive to either Blue Mountain or Horseshoe Valley, so I grew up on boards. In the winter, we would shred the hills after class and pray to the halfpipe that we would be the first to land that coveted 900 – that honour goes to my step brother’s friend Brad!
In the summer, we’d set up our rails and ramps in a corner of the Snow Valley Ski Resort parking lot, out by the groomers and the pond where they grabbed water for the snowmakers. It smelled like gasoline, algae on the top of the pond and the occasional whiff of fresh blood on the top of a skinned knee, but man were those good times!
When we couldn’t skate outside, we’d hang out in somebody’s suburban basement — shoutout to Tommy M and Joshy P — listening to Green Day or Taking Back Sunday and playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. In short, we were lame. But we totally thought we were cool and rebellious when we were on our boards.
A Warehouse full Nostalgia
Speaking of Playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, which is the whole reason you are here reading this, starting today, you can take as many two-minute shreds sessions in the place where it all began! That’s right! If you pre-purchase Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2, you gain access to the remastered-yet-still-dank-as-hell-looking Woodland Hills, California “Warehouse.” And believe me, you want access to it because it’s everything you remember. From the iconic drop-in slants to the big red rail and taxicab transfer, to that one corner ramp that’s perfect for transferring over to score some rad combos.
Activision has spared no expense to make sure that everything is exactly how you remember it, but they’ve also given some thought to how to freshen things up. There’s a new name for a controversial trick, which my friends at Can I Play That? sum up, the board controls that more feel more realistically grounded, and there’s now the addition of a VHS-like rewind scrubbing that plays out when you wipe out. While that last feature is new, it perfectly plays into how Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater feels like one of those skate tapes you’d always find playing at your friendly local West 49 — love to Shane-O who used to manage the Georgian Mall location — or dare I suggest indie skate shop.
I am personally in love with the way the remaster nails the importance of timing and picking your lines. Landing in Tony Hawk has always felt like a game of chance, but here it feels like a real-life exercise in putting your board straight ahead of you before you come back to the ground.
The demo comes at you without any of the collectables or challenges. You are merely there to enjoy the ride for two minutes, but that’s more than enough for right now. I am sure that you’ll want to keep on playing just to keep beating your high score. In my time with the demo so far, I’ve topped out at 45,000, which I seem to recall as being just under the pro score designation for “Warehouse” — I still got it!
Another new change is the roster. Currently, you are free to trick it up as Tony Hawk, but if the sweet retro-tinged opening video is anything to go off of there are lots of classic skaters making appearances as their older selves like Chad Muska, Elissa Steamer, Bucky Lasek and my personal favourite Eric Koston – Girl for life! There are also a number of fresh faces, including Hawk’s son Riley.
This is exactly what I needed
While the tony hawk of today is much older than he was when Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater debuted 21 years ago. He’s still a leading force in skating, so it just feels right that Activision and Vicarious Visions are giving him a chance to bring new tech to the franchise. I gave up on skating a few years back after I decided to get fat and face the fact that I’m getting older. Riding my board was once about rebelling, and now I feel the only rebelling I would do on a skateboard would be against social distancing guidelines. But we’re all still adjusting to not going out as much. And I’m glad a remastered version of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 will be there for those times I can’t go outside.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 are available for pre-order now on PS4, Xbox One, and Epic Store. Order today and get your chance to play the “Warehouse” demo right away. The full game is available on September 4, 2020.