Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Remastered | $40 | Amazon
While we petition for more content in Skater XL and wait for what should be the last skateboard game you’ll ever need in EA’s Skate 4, Activision cashed in on a sudden resurgence of skateboard frenzy by remastering the granddaddy of them all. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Remastered is out, and I think we’ve all been pretty busy grinding the rails to see if we can’t ignite that childhood fire we used to have for this series.
We did a little inventory check here at the virtual offices of, erm, The Inventory to see whether Activision kick flipped the series back into relevancy and earned a spot back in your gaming rotation. It’s only $40 for two classic games that look a hell of a lot better than they used to, but is that enough to warrant spending your time and money? Here’s the rub from the fine folks who opined.
QUENTYN KENNEMER: PLAY IT
I can’t even remember which one it was exactly, but Tony Hawk Pro Skater initiated me into the world of online gaming on the PlayStation 2, and for that, it’ll always have a special place in my heart. Being exceptionally fluffy in my childhood, I could never dream of pulling off some of those tricks on an actual skateboard, let alone trying to balance all 300 of my then-pounds on something so rocky. That’s probably why I never played Tony Hawk: Ride which uses an actual digital skateboard deck. (Well … that and it’s an immutable fact that it was 100% USDA-certified organic hot garbage. Sorry, Activision!)
With Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2, consider me hooked all over again. It’s a masterful facelift of a classic franchise responsible for stealing several hundred hours of my time. With its blissful simplicity, hitting those virtual half pipes again on my Xbox One X was like getting back on a bike (or a skateboard, more appropriately) after 20 years, and I’m ecstatic that it’s still hella fun to play. With a new coat of paint and ample performance enhancements, it’s aged like fine wine. This is the perfect stopgap to Skate 4.
GABE CAREY: PLAY IT
It’s hard to believe that before Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2, the only game I’d played in the franchise was Tony Hawk’s Underground … for the Game Boy Advance. I say it’s hard to believe because Pro Skater and its sequel, both of which have been remade for modern consoles (and PC!), are the quintessential Gabe Games. The kind where you can shut off your brain and spend hours attempting and often failing at pulling off combos to beat your own high score in pursuit of the coveted Sick Score.
While you play, turn up the volume for all-time bangers new and old from Rage Against the Machine, A Tribe Called Quest, Reel Big Fish, and a bunch of other artists you don’t expect to be played in succession. Best of all, the character options are more diverse than ever, so anyone can represent themselves regardless of gender or ethnicity.
JASON COLES: PLAY IT
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to buy Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 then I’d recommend you ask yourself one simple question: Do you want to have fun?
For those of us of the older persuasion, playing Tony Hawk’s will immediately send you back two decades to a simpler time, albeit with a different soundtrack and older skaters than you’re used to. For those who’ve never experienced the greatness of the simple gameplay loop, you’re in for a real treat. These games are arcade games at their core, and chasing down the next obscure objective or just trying to beat your own score isn’t something that ever grows old (unlike those of us that played the original).
So, if you want to have fun, get this game, if you don’t then we’re not going to be able to help you here.
IGNACIA FULCHER: PLAY IT
Revisiting Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+ 2 has been a blast from the past, but I guess that’s the point. I remember playing it on a Sega Dreamcast—that’s exactly how old I am. The graphics have obviously evolved, and even though there are skaters I’m definitely not familiar with, it’s still a flashback to a simpler time when all I had to worry about was deciding what deck to pick out.
As Gabe pointed out, the main reason you should play is the soundtrack. As a young Black girl in the early ‘00s, Pro Skater introduced me to bands I probably never would have, otherwise (I’m looking at you No Doubt + Sublime). My uncle, a pure classic R&B man, said the songs featured were bops while playing the original forever ago, so that’s how I know they were good. Plain and simple, playing this game was like coming home. I even bought a pair of cargo pants and matching Vans for the occasion.
ANDREW HAYWARD: PLAY IT
The first three Tony Hawk games all released while I was in high school and I was obsessed. I played each of them for hundreds of hours across multiple consoles, and even played all of the mostly-mediocre knockoff games that followed. Seriously. As the series went on, it seemed like Activision felt the need to go bigger and bigger, adding complexity and gimmicks to a game that was so pure and simple to start ... with notable missteps along the way.
I wasn’t sure if that simplicity was going to hold up today, but Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 succeeds because it honors that original vision. The games look dramatically better, but the fundamentals are the same—and they’re still addictive as hell. This is a total win for old-school fans and even a great option for those who maybe weren’t alive and/or gaming 20 years ago.
BRITTANY VINCENT: PLAY
My early PlayStation collection was never complete without a few perennial favorites: PaRappa the Rapper, Um Jammer Lammy, JRPGs like Final Fantasy VII through IX, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. I was never interested in skateboarding (beyond the fashion, anyway), but I was always fascinated by pulling off the grabs and endless grinding I could perform as Tony (or Elissa Steamer since I liked to pretend I was in the game, too). I couldn’t actually tell you the difference between an ollie and a no comply, but I sure did love collecting tapes and free skating, then working my way through the game sharpening my skills.
But if I’m going to play a PlayStation game these days, I’m dusting off Pepsiman or getting in some Bushido Blade. I’m not going to reach for Tony Hawk since there are so many more modern iterations I could play now instead. That’s why I appreciate Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 as a convenient way to revisit a game from my childhood.
While at first I was apprehensive that the game would be riddled with newly-added microtransactions or needless alterations, I was pleased to find that it’s largely the same game I eagerly jumped into after homework was done back in 1999. Activision made the wise decision to leave ‘em both well enough alone and let the skating speak for itself. I couldn’t be happier with the end result. Plus, you can’t go wrong with the absolutely bangin’ soundtrack that’ll have you grooving in your seat. No flaws detected.
Whew, Activision clearly knocked it out of the skate park, but this sample size is petite, so we want to hear from you, our fearless comrades on wheels. If you’ve played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 in all its refreshed splendor, would you consider it a blast from the past or something that should, I don’t know, just stay in the past? Do the new customization options make this a whole different game? Is the soundtrack alone doing it for ya’? And even if you haven’t played it yet, we’d love some discourse on why you’re holding out like a tail grab, so get down to the comments and shout!