Skate 2 drops into disc trays everywhere this week, and it's feeling the love from critics everywhere. But even if EA’s latest board game can topple Metacritic’s servers with terabytes of 9s and 10s, it's still got to feel like a partial victory. You see, the road to King of Sk8 is paved with broken decks, shattered expectations, and no less than five unnecessary Tony Hawk titles.
Above: Making excellence look easy… because it is in this case
With even the aforementioned Birdman taking an extended vacation for the first time in nine years, Skate 2 has the luxury of being a cream of little to no crop. Not for lack of trying, though. We’ve got twenty years of bails and failz to reflect on, and it’s high time we paid tribute to the substandard skaters that failed to heelflip into our hearts.
Spreading the title into two words is about the only attempt made to prolong the thrills in this Atari 2600 game. The entire game consists of a single level where you carve a path to school in under ten minutes by jumping over obstacles and crouching through tubes. Kinda like Pitfall, if instead of recovering treasure Harry’s goal had been to defeat tardiness and avoid public transit.
Above: Skating’s roots were less extreme than you remember
And looky there. Years before Tony Hawk wore itself thin with annual shovelings, Activision offshoot Absolute trotted out a pseudo-sequel a scant year later. Don’t get too excited. Even with the bump up to the 7800 it would appear the skateboard was present to avoid the tedium of designing four frames of walking animation. The game takes place entirely indoors, as our jams clad sk8r boi has taken a job at a factory shutting off all the factory equipment by “ollieing” over switches. Remember, he didn’t sell out - he bought in.
Above: Conserving energy is the greatest trick of all
Though published under Konami’s Ultra moniker, EA’s first stab at a skate game still holds a special place in the hearts of gamers. Freestyle let you trick for points, while two unique downhill modes allowed players to either race against the clock… or get their asses kicked by another opponent. However, the vert ramp challenges were damn near impossible to control and the Pool Joust mode can be easily recreated by taping two Q-tips to some spinning tops and unleashing them into a cereal bowl.
Above: Choose wisely… a lot of these events suck
The game marks the first time developers acknowledged Regular and Goofy foot stance, as well as the inaugural appearance of Rodney, the skate shop guru whose likeness narrowly averted the gaze of the Mr Dangerfield’s attorneys.
Above: With all due respect
Even though this sequel dropped the multi-event format (as well as the titular exclamation point), you could argue that it better encapsulates the experience of being a young skateboarder. After all, how many of us actually padded up and competed in events or raced in a downhill obstacle course?
Above: Featuring collectible cassette tapes, french fries, tacos, and everything else synonymous with skate culture
We’re willing to bet most of you spent more time throwing firecrackers and hassling mall security, and that’s exactly what you’ll find in Skate or Die 2’s sidescrolling quest for a giant half pipe, set during a hasty prohibition in the aftermath of unspeakable puppy murder.
Above: Ripped from the headlines