Developed by: Neversoft
Published by: Activision
Platforms: PSX, PS2, Gamecube, Game Boy Color
Feeling Like: Tony Hawk (on training wheels)
I don’t know if I’ve ever been on a skateboard.
I can predict the outcome regardless. I hesitantly wobble for less than a second before abandoning ship and leaving it to the experts. No chance I can do anything beyond moving a couple of feet and looking insanely uncool in the process.
Thankfully, video games exist.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 is the only skateboarding video game I’ve ever played, and likely will be the last. I have zero interest in any of the extreme sports, but am quick to understand the appeal; these are not just athletes, they are masters of physics. They are courageous and fearless. They are skilled beyond what a layman like myself can understand.
Movement, however, is a universal language.
We love going fast when others are going slow, we love being steady when our surroundings are rocky. We dream of flight, we love to swim, we dare to fly down a hill on our bicycle, we crave the rush and the risks it carries. Not everybody is a daredevil, but it’s not hard to find some kind of smooth animation that yields appreciation, or dancing, or climbing, or skating, or diving. And that’s the appeal of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 for a guy like me.
The overall concept seems so simple now – you get two minutes to perform a variety of tasks and tricks. The longer you can chain your tricks without bailing, the more valuable they are. Maintaining momentum is of the utmost importance. But there aren’t any negative ramifications in a video game, so I will continue to grind this rail until I am falling 14 feet down a ramp so I can build up enough speed to jump over that bus, thank you very much.
It’s all too easy to experiment and even a failed one yields terrific results. Upon zooming up a half pipe, the camera switches around dramatically so that you can see the ground coming ever closer by the second. Do you have any more time to do one more trick? I felt like this was a much better fit for me than 1080 Snowboarding, where tricks felt impossible and unnecessary. Here, they’re everything and become instinctual after just a few tries at a level.
The soundtrack is equally satisfying. I still have the entirety on my playlist, with CKY’s 96 Quite Bitter Beings, Motorhead’s Ace of Spaces and Zebrahead’s Check permanently associated with grinding rails and finishing the last task on the Foundry.
I don’t have much else to say, which is strange considering I have this higher than nearly 150 other games, almost all of which got more of a write up. But that’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 for you. It expanded upon what needed expanding, and cut out any of the fat seen in the sequels.