Tony Hawk is still skating. The former pro skater no longer competes in the X-Games or other big events, but he still tours and skates daily – often with his kids. Hawk has a new game out on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the digital download Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD from Activision and developer Robomodo. Hawk looks back at the franchise and looks at how video games have helped propel the extreme sport into the mainstream in this exclusive interview.
Can you share a favorite memory from developing the original game?
One very clear memory was meeting with Midway and them saying “no.” I was actually working with a PC developer at the time and we sat down, the first thing out of their mouth was, “How is skateboarding, it’s not good as a video game. No one even likes skateboarding that much anyway. Why would they want to buy a videogame about skateboarding?” That’s how the meeting started, so, it didn’t end much better than that. And somehow they called us back for a second meeting that was almost exactly the same, but with their president saying those same words instead of just their employees and that’s when I remember thinking, “I don’t think I want to do a game with them.” But, they weren’t going to do it anyway.
Do you ever experiment with new tricks in the game before trying them in real life?
I always have. From day one I was doing combos I never thought I could do. From Ollie to crooked grind to manual to 900.
When did you know this game had connected with skaters?
Probably one of the proudest moments was after the first game was released. I was most concerned about the hardcore skate industry’s take on it and how they interpreted it and if they thought it was legitimate and represented skating well. Some of my friends who are the representative of some of the most hardcore skaters that I know, they just started calling it “The Game.” Not that they even owned any other video games, they bought PlayStations just so they could play this and that’s all that they referred to it as. I felt like if they had that much reverence for it, they must really like it.
What role do you feel the game franchise has had in helping the sport itself become so mainstream to this day?
I think it’s helped a lot in terms of putting skateboarding on the radar of people who may have never seen it before and possibly making them fans of skating, even though they don’t want to do it themselves. But it definitely brought skating to a new level of recognition and inspired a lot of kids to learn how to do it.
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