I probably speak for many of us in our mid/late-20s or early-30s when I say that the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games were a cultural phenomenon that permeated our real lives at a young, impressionable age. We were smart enough to realize that dreams of launching off ramps to land a Kickflip Mctwist or grinding on a 50-foot handrail doing a Casper Slide were well out of reach, yet that didn't stop us from asking our moms for a cheap deck and a few bucks to buy our new favorite punk band's album on CD. But while many impulses or fads throughout the years have come and gone, the ones born out of THPS have been ever-lasting.
Seeing the reveal of THPS 1 and 2 remastered was yet another reminder that the storied video game series has, in many ways, significantly helped in forming our identities. I vividly remember watching Tony Hawk himself landing the first 900 at the 1999 X-Games and realizing it was sports history in the making, yet it wasn't quite the motivation to seek out skating for myself. Participating in the act virtually in THPS bridged that gap and packaged a chunk of skate culture in a form that I did have expertise in: video games. And through the THPS games, I then looked at skating more like, "this shit is cool."
Growing up in an urban part of southern California, it was common to see older kids violate penal codes by loitering outside taco shops and liquor stores, incessantly trying to land kickflips and grind sidewalk curbs. Skating hit my neighborhood to the point where the city government led a campaign to install steel notches on railing, benches, and any other surface you could grind on. While some may have found skating as a form of rebellion in a relatively quiet suburban community, others saw it as a way of assimilation.