The Epic Bail of Skate

The boards, the players, the clothes, the music, Tony Hawk skateboarding games used to have it all.  It seemed like every year the Tony Hawk series was coming out with another game that satisfied all the skateboard fans out there.  It just always seemed to lack that reality to it.  The tricks were always too easy to complete.  The skater would literally jump off the ramp about 30 feet into the air, and unfortunately, the game was just way too easy.  The skateboarding world needed something new, something to step away from the Tony Hawk series version of a fantasy world of skateboarding in video games, and get into something more real.  These desires went unfulfilled until the arrival of Skate in 2007.

With the releases of the XBOX 360 and the PlayStation 3, Skate captured what every skateboarder desired. From the start, it established itself as something entirely different, outselling the competing Tony Hawk by almost double.  It gave an insight into the actual culture of the world of skateboarding, not what any other game had done before.  Instead of just hitting a couple buttons and getting credited with landing a trick, Skate challenged the player as if they were in actuality on the board. It was as intense as going for a session and competing in competitions to get sponsored, to just cruising down the streets and shredding hills. Where as in Tony Hawk where one button did all the work, Skate made you, the player, constantly have to move your fingers all over the controller to be anything near successful.  This challenge and new style of skateboarding games was well received and seemed like it was on its way.  This new concept made Skate more than a game, it was almost a lifestyle. It gave insight as to how a skateboarder thinks.  The career mode featured a young skater trying to get sponsorships in order to become pro.  Along with getting magazine pictures, and videos, the skater earned free boards and clothes just like the pros do in real life.  It made you appreciate the sport on an entirely new level. Personally, I don’t even skateboard, but I found myself feeling a part of this new movement all because of a video game.  Not only did the Skate game revolutionize the appreciation for the video game side of skateboarding, but the professional league as well.  The X-Games became more popular, clothes and boards were flying off the racks.  It was obvious that a sequel needed to happen, but unfortunately as it happens, some sequels are better off as just and idea.

Skate 2 was released in 2009, and instantly changes were noticed.  It didn’t sell as much as the original and the gameplay seemed entirely different.  Tricks were easier to land, the atmosphere surrounding the game was dull and boring, and there was no serious plot line that made you want to stay up for hours trying to learn new tricks and strategies.  Simply, it sucked.  However, due to the popularity of the first game, Tony Hawk’s franchise wasn’t wanting to compete and now it seemed like the skateboarding games were going to be a bust, until the announcement of Skate 3.

Yeah, that was better off as an idea too.  Skate 3 was by far the weakest of the Skate franchise.  Easier success, no storyline, same characters as before.  Nothing really seemed to stand out and make you go “I can’t wait to play Skate today!” It was more like “Skate? Give me 2 bucks and it’s yours.”  Sadly the franchise that had done so much for the world of skateboarding, ended up sort of making the entire sport collapse.

“It’d be quite sad to see the skateboarding game die, because the early Tony Hawk games were innovative, really fun, and kept improving with each release. At one point the series just hit a wall, and though Skate brought a fresh look at skateboarding games, it didn’t sell like Tony Hawk once did. It’ll be interesting to see if Tony Hawk,Skate, or a new series can breathe life into skateboarding someday.”*

Now a days, skateboarding is nowhere near as followed as before.  Of course you have people riding boards all over, but it doesn’t seem like a lifestyle, just a mode of transportation.  The skateboard video game life that I grew up and cherished as a kid is no more.  Maybe someday it will return, but I guess one can only hope.  Until than I’ll keep my board, or in my case my thumb, ready to go out for one more ride.

*- http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/105794-EA-Music-Gaming-Will-Return-But-Skateboarding-is-Dead

  5 comments for “The Epic Bail of Skate

  1. Guillermo
    April 4, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I am a huge Skate fan. I don’t play that many video games, but Skate and FIFA take up most of my time when I do. The thing that set Skate apart from Tony Hawk’s series for me was the common sense switch to the sticks. It makes much more sense to use the sticks to command flip tricks and ollies, then to use the buttons like in Tony Hawk. I would say Skate is like Madden and Tony Hawk is like Blitz. If you want reality, play Skate. If you want more of an arcade game rendition of skateboarding, play Tony Hawk. I too was massively disappointed with the follow-up Skate games. The lack of multiplayer game modes was the straw that broke the camels back for me.

  2. Jim
    April 4, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Yeah, it’s sad when a genre of games like skateboarding dies out. Not because it’s not a good genre (I really loved Skate and most of the earlier Tony Hawk games) but because of money. It feels like betrayal, seeing a good series of games, like Skate, morph from the game you know and love into a more popular game in the same genre of games. Unfortunately, it’s a trend that is happening more and more in the game industry as well. For another great example, the Dead Space series turned from a survival horror series into a third person shooter with the third game. Simply because the publishers needed to make a certain amount of money off of the game.

  3. William Hurley
    April 17, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    I think that the main reason that Skate failed where (early) Tony Hawk games succeeded was that the Tony Hawk franchise was all about the speed and agility, a true skateboard empowerment fantasy. It wasn’t realistic, it wasn’t a depiction of something in the realm of possibility, it was simply an enjoyable experience of racing through areas with blinding speed and pulling off insanely complicated tricks for high scores. Later on in the series, however, the need to innovate must have been felt somewhere, and the series strayed from its roots. This can be seen in later titles with strange additions like “skitchin” where the player can grab the back of a car and ride it around, as well as the ability to walk on foot, climb, and participate in forced stealth sections. In a skateboarding game. Wow.

    Skate, however, is slower, clunkier. More realistic, if you will. It’s something that doesn’t quite make sense in a game; if it’s attempting to hard to mirror the real world, why not just engage in the real world and learn to skate out there? The game doesn’t provide the unrealistic thrill found in early Tony Hawk games and it doesn’t provide a kin-esthetic feeling of accomplishment when landing a trick, as would be found with actually going outside and skating.

    In my opinion, I think that the skateboarding genre is dead, just as the fake-guitar genre is pretty much dead, as well. The two had both peaked with excellent titles that blended the illusion of being a professional skatboarder/guitarist with simple, engaging mechanics, and unfortunately lost sight of both of those facets due to the bizarre obsession with innovation for the sake of innovation.

  4. April 28, 2013 at 9:18 pm
  5. September 11, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Skates is the game which never fails no doubt some of the peoples are interested now a days but it doesn’t matter. Skates always wins. We all are skater lovers.

Leave a Reply