I was never the model for an athletic child growing up.
Six year old me preferred watching his superhero shows while his dad and brothers tossed a ball outside.
I was just uninterested in anything physical. Sure, today I am a huge basketball fan, but the past was a different story.
I remember coming home from school one day and my mother told me that my uncle got me this Tony Hawk game. I’ve known the name, and the sport he was so famous for, but I was not too excited for the game I was given.
I popped in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 disc into my GameCube (which was solely used for Super Smash Bro. Melee) and what I got blew my dispositions on sports games away.
Now, 12 years since my first play-through and over 15 years since its release, THPS3 is still, in my opinion, the standard for all sports games.
It’s all in the gameplay.
The game throws you into a map with about nine objectives to complete. These range from collecting certain items around the course to performing a special trick. The goal is to complete as many as possible within the two minute limit.
It sounds simple, but there is a very deep and addicting way to complete these. Every attempt to complete the level always brings some sort of great gain. Whether it’s unlocking a new deck or discovering a hidden combo, there’s always an incentive to keep playing.
Progression is a big part of the game. Players can choose one of 12 real life professionals or create their own skater to complete the aforementioned career mode. The rest of the game is completing those objectives and upgrading the stats of the skaters.
It’s fun to say the least. It is not realistic, instead offering a more arcade-like feel.
The game also features multiplayer modes and a park creator to allow those with a creative side a chance to build their dream course.
The game was not only a fun game in my childhood, but it introduced me to the world of skating.
It opened my mind to this whole world of people that built a very interesting community. It introduced me to a new style of dress and taught me lingo I would have never learned elsewhere.
It also introduced me to some seriously great music.
I almost forgot to mention the awesome soundtrack. Consisting of 20 songs that range from punk to hip-hop, it’s something pretty cool. Nothing beats grinding on a rail while “Fight Like a Brave” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is blasting. It adds this cool factor that not a lot of games have.
This game is more than, well that, a game. It was my gateway into the world of skating, rap music and even shows like Jackass (Bam Margera’s appearance in the game obviously had a profound influence on me) and no other sports game has compared to it.
To me, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 is the standard for the sport’s genre. No matter how many awful later installments were released, this one is a staple in video game history.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to collect S-K-A-T-E in the Suburbia map.