Skate Arcade: A Glance Back in Time at the Skate Games that Shaped Us
Let’s have a look at all the great skate games we used to love! When everything seemed new but graphics were old, what made a great game was the soundtrack, the setting and the story. Skate games gave us a way to skate when we couldn’t, when we were stuck at home and had nowhere to go. We learned new tricks we could attempt in the real world and multiplayer brought us together. In this article I’ll be going through my top 5 favorite skate games, and giving you the why and the how you should get yours hands on them in 2021.
1. Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure
I decided to start with xtreme sk8 adv. because it's a game so rouge it maybe shouldn't have even existed. In saying that I'm grateful it did; the punk rock soundtrack, paired with famous Disney characters/settings made for a sick atmosphere and the gameplay itself although slow-paced was full of challenges, allowing you to do some gnarly tricks. It definitely didn't make much sense playing as a buzz lightyear skater grinding on the jungle trees from Tarzan with simple plan playing blaring in the background - but these weird combinations made for an endless amount of confused tween-angst gameplay, and it was awesome. Disney scouted 10 real skate kids from around the globe, who sent in videos of their abilities and made them into avatars, these guys were thrown in with young Simba, Tarzan, Woody and others each with different skill sets. Adventure mode let you move through each world, complete challenges and build your skating career, free play let you explore any map and do tricks, and multi-player allowed you to compete in skate games with your friends. Ultimately Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure is a genuinely lovable game and one that deserves the upmost respect on this trip down memory lane.
Want to pretend you're in 2003 and play this game today? good news is I have found a few ways you can, but bad news is it may not be easy. That's okay though because a real fan commits. What you're going to need is either: the original Xbox, a Gamecube or Playstation 2 (check eBay). Then you're going to need the actual game which you can find on Amazon and you're set. Alternately if you are willing to settle for the low-fi version and you have a Game Boy Advance laying around you can pick up a second hand cartridge at a used game store. If all that fails and you just want to reminisce check out my Spotify playlist based on what I'm going to go ahead and say is still the best soundtrack of all time.
2. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
It would be sacrilegious not to mention this game. THPS 2 surpassed it's predecessor and became not only the best skateboarding game ever but also one of the best games ever made - ranking second only to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I remember getting so inspired by the intro every time I put the disk in. We see a skate compilation of all the skaters you can choose doing tricks to Rage Against the Machine. Bob Burnquist, Steve Caballero, Kareem Campbell, Rune Glifberg, Eric Koston, Bucky Lasek, Rodney Mullen, Chad Muska, Andrew Reynolds, Geoff Rowley, Elissa Steamer and Jamie Thomas. You can choose from these guys or create your own skater, create you're own park then build a career, free skate or play multi-player. Pair all that with another wild punk/metal playlist, a cheering crowd and stacks that spill blood - you've got yourself a legendary game.
Wanna play in 2021? You're in luck because Activision released THPS 1+2 back in September 2020. It's a revamped, remastered version of the originals with much better graphics, old and new pros, bigger soundtrack and a vans promo pack. So far it's on Xbox, Playstation and PC but is also coming to the Nintendo Switch on June 25th. Then again sometimes there's nothing better then the original, sometimes you want the creepy mannequin like avatars and luckily there's a way to get them back. This game was originally released on Playstation 1, Dreamcast and Nintendo 64 back in 2000, then hit Mac and PC in 2001 and a lower grade version came out for Game Boy Advanced that same year. It also made a comeback for iOS in 2010 but that only lasted until iOS7 - but if you've got a jailbroken phone you can still get your hands on it and you can still find the download for Mac and PC with a quick search. However, you may as well just get you're hands on an old console and buy the original game pre-loved to get the full experience. Either way, I hope we never let this game die out, keep the remakes coming and keep playing whatever way you can.
3. Thrasher's Skate and Destroy
This game did not get enough hype. Thrasher Presents Skate and Destroy was one of those games that involved a bit more strategy and skill, and definitely one that deserves a title in this list. In 1999 kids and teens everywhere dreamed of turning pro and creating an empire, and if you had a Playstation you could create a virtual world and live it out. With a dope golden age hiphop soundtrack the main aim was to complete all 12 levels in open and active terrains without breaking your board or bones and before you got picked up by the police (which was a cool touch). Introducing rag doll graphics, having technical controls and acting as a real life skate simulator, tricks were harder to master, more rewarding gave serious gamers a steeper learning curve. Once you complete all levels and get a high enough score, you become a 'Pro Skater' then you get to choose your sponsors before you go back and do it all again to get on the Thrasher cover page. However, this game came to life in multiplayer. With 7 types of 2 player gameplay making it the best game to compete with your friends at the time. In 'Sessions' each player had a two minute run to do tricks and get the highest score. In 'Nickel Bag' you compete to get the highest score on any given trick. 'H.O.R.S.E' is exactly like the basketball game; recreate your opponents tricks to avoid getting a letter to your name. 'Top Dog' gives you different spots to come up with tricks and achieve the highest score. In 'Long Grind' the longest grind in the level wins and in 'Big Wall Ride' the biggest wall ride in the level wins. Then there is my personal favorite 'Sick Fix' which takes full effect of the rag doll physics - the player who inflicts the most damage to their person during the level gets the highest score.
If your mouth is watering to get another crack at this game, there's a will and there is a way. This game was exclusive to Playstation, so if you have access to the original console the game can be found on Amazon. Alternatively you can actually play this game online with an account on the 'Retro Games Online' platform. Have fun skating and destroying!
4. Skate or Die!
Lets go way back to '87, back to super low graphics, back to skate or die! A true gem in gaming history. This iconic arcade style game was our introduction to a virtual skate experience. First you choose your character Rodney Recloose, Bionic Lester, Poseur Pete, or Aggro Eddie. Then you compete in five events - ramp freestyle, high jump, downhill race, downhill jam, and pool either individually or sequentially. If you choose sequence you can take turns with your friends set to a fast paced digitech soundtrack.
So how do we play today? Well you can also play online at Retro Games, but if you want to get the full 80's experience this game was released on NES, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX Spectrum, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC and eventually Wii; so if you have any of these you can still find the game and play!
Okay let's go a little further into the future with Skate. Released in 2007 for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, this quickly became many people's favorite skate game. Skate was able to iron out the kinks of Skate and Destroy and combine the best attributes of the Tony Hawk series into one game. In story mode your character is hit by a bus then taken to a local hospital and on the way we meet the pro skaters in the game as paramedics, street rats and locals in what is probably the coolest intro to a game ever made. Your character undergoes plastic surgery and this is where you customize your skater with options drenched in sponsor product placement. You're released out into the city to compete in challenges, videos and magazine covers set up by pros; Danny Way, Paul Rodriguez, Jason Dill, Ryan Smith, Terry Kennedy, Jerry Hsu, Pat Duffy, Chris Haslam, PJ Ladd, John Rattray, Alex Chalmers, Mike Carroll, Ryan Gallant, Dennis Busenitz, Rob Dyrdek, Mark Gonzales, and Ali Boulalaand. Then with enough coverage you unlock the X Games. The free play on this game is super realistic, and you get to skate around the city of San Vanelona weaving around pedestrians. The multiplayer is also similar to Skate and Destroy in the fact you get to play with your friends in 'races', 'S.K.A.T.E' - which is basically horse, and 'Own the Spot' - where you compete in a certain spot to get the highest score. The soundtrack also makes this game, it's mainly hip-hop with some punk rock thrown in and even has original tracks by individual artists.
All in all, a great game and definitely one worth playing from start to finish. Here's how - this one is a lot easier to get your hands on today because the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 are still relatively recent, so if you have your old consoles this game can still be found at a lot of used game stores. Alternatively if you have an Xbox One this game actually works on the platform. A watered-down version of the game was also released for iOS, so if you have a jailbroken phone you can play in 'Trasher Mode' and 'Free Play'.
Obviously we couldn't list all the games we knew and loved but here are my top 5 and I recommend getting hold of these one way or another to experience the full wonder of low graphic, punk rock, ragdoll nostalgia. In the meantime we've got Skate 4 to look forward to which is planned to release in 2022 and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 which you can take get your hands on now for Xbox and Playstation, and the Nintendo Switch version which is coming very soon.