Let me get the elephant out of the room straight away. Tony Hawk's
- there I've said it... and I'm not talking about the guy who played his way around Moldovia at tennis with a Piano in a Fridge, though that same confusion has lead to this exceptional internet page
. I am, of course, talking about the skateboarding game that turned its eponymous hero into a multi-millionaire at the END of a career that had included nine world championships. It also resurrected a sport in a death-lull, and made many middle-aged men reach for their ageing decks and go out and sprain an ankle.
is such a phenomenon that when I heard EA were developing a skateboarding game, I thought it was on a rocket-ride to Eggonfaceville, Kentucky. Tony Hawk?s
has had the skateboarding genre to itself for almost ten years, taking on and seeing off all-comers with an alacrity that bordered on arrogance. Through numerous versions the franchise has improved incrementally, never changing drastically, but getting better with each new release. This creates a double problem for skate.
: firstly people believe that Tony Hawk's
has the genre down pat, and cannot be beat (sic); secondly, after a decade of incremental development that has not significantly improved on the original gameplay and control method, there is now a growing indifference to skateboarding games.
It only takes five minutes with skate.
to realise that neither of these issues should be an issue at all. skate.
takes the skateboarding game genre to a whole new level (dood!). ?Le roi est mort. Vive longue le roi!?
It has been suggested by many reviews and previews that skate.
(in this case on Xbox 360) has too steep a learning curve. I can only assume that those (p)reviewers have either not bothered to go through the tutorial - and pay attention - and/or that they have never ridden a skateboard. Now most games reviewers are men (or boys); and men never ever, ever like to RTFM. Plus games reviewers regard themselves as experts, and experts never ever like to show that their expertise is fallible by R-ingTFM.
The above-mentioned might explain why some people think skate.
has a difficulty curve as 'sketcherous and trechy' as the famous transition on the big ramp at the Wakefield Classic indoor skatepark from 1977. This was a skatepark so badly designed and made of concrete so poorly poured that after riding down one side of its bowl, even with 70mm Red Kryptonic Star Trac IIs, you couldn't make it to the other side. They built a night-club on top of it, but my friend Charlie still dreams of digging it up. WHY, FFS? Though, in fairness, the night club does deserve demolishing (FFS, indeed! Ed)
At a recent industry event, I saw numerous journos trying to play skate.
(all in lower case, with a full stop) using the Tony Hawk's
control method: button to Ollie. If they had taken two minutes to play the tutorial - instead of face-planting like grems - they'd have been doing 180 shuvits into nose-stalls? then kick-flipping? then into 50-50 grinds. Bamm!