As cool, autumn temperatures settle in, snow coats some of our streets, and/or hazardous levels of smoke fill the air … riding a virtual skateboard feels rather liberating.

The remastering of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 has come back to us a golden respite in a lousy year. With a sense of nostalgia and an enthusiastic reimagining of the game franchise, THPS rolls on strong.

When Tony Hawk Pro Skater emerged onto PlayStation in 1999 through its publisher Activision, it sparked a broad sense of excitement in gamers. Whether one was into skating or not, the gameplay was new and a boost of adrenaline.

Personally growing up in suburban Ohio, skateboarding at a proper skate park or to even have great spots to ride was a pretty moot topic. It was the type of ‘burb where you would get hassled by the local law for skateboarding on the smooth pavement of an empty parking lot (oof). Yet in THPS, all the streets were open with welcoming ledges, and a bummed-out, suburban kid could explore the legendary Burnside skate park of Portland, Oregon.

The soundtrack lauded the early skate scene with a prominently punk and ska rhythm. It lured me in with a love of Suicide Machines and The Vandals and introduced me to forefathers Dead Kennedys and Suicidal Tendencies. I can say definitively I snagged my best combo scores when hyped up on “May 16” by Lagwagon. The music was the perfect partner with a sunny, seek-and-destroy charisma.

In the reboot, a vast percentage of the original soundtracks are back along with some excellent additions. Screaming Females, American Nightmare, Viagra Boys, and Bad Religion are definitely helping me blaze through my 10-second-long smith grind.

Going back to the original gameplay from 1999 feels archaic. The fluidity of the riding in this new iteration is wildly better (as one might hope for 21 years of progress). It seriously is a joy to go back to the original levels with new challenges and new skaters at higher definition.

Andrew Reynolds remains a favorite of street style, while riding with the next generation of skaters like Leo Baker adds rad new tricks to the challenges. Seeing the parks and locations in a beautifully rendered update gives new life to this legacy game. Rounded out with the ability to make your own dream park, the new mix of skaters and rhythms is a must-download for gamers yearning to ride.

Purchase the game here.

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A designer + photographer, cyclist + breakfast lover. Dying to live.

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