It was 2001. I was 6 years old, my brother was 8. Walking out of EB Games clutching a copy of our first T rated game, my brother and I salivated at the thought of the warnings of blood, gore, and mild swearing on the back of our beautiful new copy of Tony Hawk Pro Skater. Unbeknownst to us, this game would shape our childhood more than any other. As the soft light of our 10 in. screen poured over our faces, the sound of our Playstation whirred in our ears. It was beautiful. Before we embarked on our journey of a T rated game, my father took the controller and promptly turned off the blood and put the TV on mute so we would not hear the swearing. But still, we were playing a T rated game. We were bad ass. The life lessons this game taught me were more than I could have imagined. It shaped my perceptions of life in 10 very distinct ways. Follow me to the jump to learn the lessons that were taught to me by this glorious game.1. Schools look like this.
Age 6 me thought that there are enormous water-less pools at schools for older people. No school that I have been to/ heard of/ thought of/ has this in it. Schools are sad and dreary places with books and learning and standardized tests. This school would be the awesomest place to go to school ever.
/late to class starts running
/falls into oversized dried up pool
/is late to class
I know California is cutting education spending, but in 1999 when Tony Hawk Pro Skater was made, there was no school with enough money to A. install the two pools and B. not enough money to fill them with water. This was the first of the many things that this game taught me.
2. Girls suck at riding skateboards.
Elissa Steamer, the only female to ever ride a skateboard. Girls do not ride skateboards otherwise they would be represented by more than one girl in the game. I had never seen a girl ride a skateboard so Steamer was my sole experience with female skateboarders. She sucked. She could not get air, she could not grind, she did not ride fast. In fact, she did absolutely nothing to help you in the game at all. Chad Muska could grind for days. Geoff Rowley could ride really fast. Steamer was a girl that could ollie well. OLLIE WELL. Steamer was useless in the game, leading me to believe that all girls are useless when riding skateboards. I have not been proven wrong yet.
3. Ollying is the least useful skill in any video game ever.
There are many stats in other video games that could rival this award (such as every stat besides speed in every Madden game ever made), but ollying was by far the least useful skill. All players were capable of ollying up to a rail to grind it. That was the sole purpose of ollying in the game because ollies gave you about 50 points. Elissa Steamer was good at ollying. She was the worst player in the game. She was able to get 50 points after 50 points after 50 points while the other person did a single Indy off of a jump and got 2000. Ollying was the dumbest stat ever.
4. Bob Burnquist was God.
This had more to do with my brother than the game itself but it was a lesson I learned nonetheless. From the first and certainly not last trick attack multiplayer game on the Warehouse level with my brother, he played as Bob Burnquist. My brother, being 2 years my predecessor, had greater hand-eye coordination than me and thus destroyed me time and time again. He claimed it was a combination of the MadCatz controller and the turbo button it had as well as Bob Burnquist. He claimed I was too young to use either. Bob Burnquist haunted my nightmares for years. I could not beat him. I played as all the different characters trying various strategies yet Bob Burnquist has bested me every time. I have played this game with my brother for 12 years and he has never played as a character other than Bob Burnquist. As a child, I believed that Bob Burnquist invented the skateboard in order for Tony Hawk to create a game that Bob Burnquist would be better than everyone at. To this day I believe that Bob Burnquist is the best skateboarder that the world has ever seen. He continues to haunt my dreams and laugh at my inadequacy.
5. When you fall on a skateboard, a lot of blood instantly comes out of your body.
A few weeks after we got Tony Hawk Pro Skater, my parents left us home alone. We proceeded to turn on blood and put the volume on high. We were bad ass. And good lord does a lot of blood come out of your body instantly when you hit the ground. Being fairly sheltered children, we had not yet watched a PG-13 movie and as I said before, this was our first T rated game. Tony Hawk Pro Skater taught me what blood is and how when you get hurt bad it teleports from inside your body to a big puddle around you on the ground. And then you stand up and keep on riding your skateboard. You were pissed however, not because your character broke all the bones in his body,but because that trick combination you had going turned red and dripped off your screen.
6. Superman by Goldfinger is the best song ever.
When we turned up the volume the first time when my parents were gone, this song played.
Superman - Goldfinger (via acbd77)
I have only ever heard 2 minutes of this song. That is how much of the song is played on Tony Hawk Pro Skater. I have this song on my iPod, but i skip the song after 2 minutes because that's all I ever want to hear. 2 minutes is all that is necessary to hear to determine that it is the best song ever written. For a child who grew up listening only to Christian music, this song was like eating a smoothie with every fruit in the world in it after just eating bread products your entire life. This song blew my perception of music out of the water and it still brings back nostalgia more than any other song I know. Some people remember their mother singing them "Rock-a-bye Baby", I remember playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater praying for this song to come on so I could listen to 2 minutes of greatness.
7. Physics allowed you to GRIND ON MOVING CARS.
As a 6 year old, I wanted to grind on a car. That was the coolest thing anybody could ever do ever. If I saw someone grind on the top of a moving car today, I would be ready to die. I have never seen a person grind on a moving car and that makes me sad. What makes me even sadder is that the game developers put that awesome ability in the game and made it worth like no points. When you do this,
you should get a million gazillion points because its impossible. Instead, you would spend the entire time trying to do it and once you accomplish it, they give you the same amount of points as if you grinded on a raid for a half second. Grumble Grumble Grumble....
8. Everything ever is A. a ramp, or B. grindable
The mall level of Tony Hawk Pro Skater entertained me on shopping runs with my mom for years. Walking around grocery stores, malls, and other places was no longer a monotonous task forced upon me. The stack of cans at Safeway had a hidden tape on top of it. Those signs in the mall were totally grindable. Everything I could think of could be turned into something that could earn me points for tricking off of it. And then there were the glorious trips to Home Depot. For a child imagining that he was riding a skateboard, Home Depot was heaven. The mall level of Tony Hawk Pro Skater expanded my imagination and relieved an insurmountable boredom that accompanies shopping trips with my mom.