How Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Introduced You To The Most Lit Music
Our parents grew up playing Pong (or some sh*t) on the Atari.
We all grew up playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater on the PlayStation 1.
Times have definitely changed since 1999 when the first edition of the series dropped, but if there's one thing that sticks with us today from those Pro Skaters 1 through 4, it was those ridiculously lit soundtracks.
Chances are you were on your Kidz Bop sh*t during middle school and you had no swag until THPS injected it into your life.
Today, on Tony Hawk's birthday, let's take a moment to reflect on this.
From The Ramones and Public Enemy, to Run DMC and Suicidal Tendencies, the soundtracks were revolutionary during a time when you were still bumping "All Star" by Smash Mouth.
The first two editions of the four-game series (they also just announced THPS 5), introduced some wavy-ass punk rock to many of us, but there was no banger greater than "Superman" by Goldfinger.
With nothing like it during its time, this is one of the few video games you can say was defined in part by the soundtrack it came with. According to series producer Ken Overbey, that's exactly what they aimed for. He said in an interview,
Anyone who knows the game knows the music is just as important as the gameplay.
But the Pro Skater series did much more than introduce us to the fire music we'd never hear otherwise. It also put lesser-known bands on.
The carefully-curated soundtrack changed up the entire vibe of the game and made it authentic to skateboarding culture. Plus, it kind of helped with those combos!
Punk band Bad Religion first appeared Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 with their song "You" and even credited the feature as an important part to their popularity.
At the same time, THPS didn't just rely on their low-key finds to hold the series. They had some heavy hitters, too, like NWA, Motörhead and Rage Against The Machine.
This variety of music and cultures is what we all needed at that age.
Discovering new music (even if it's old) is one of the best ways to expand your mind when you're young, and THPS never disappointed!
Visual artist Luke Pelletier said it best,
Its soundtrack blew my mind. The songs created a hyper-teenage world. A place with no parents, no rules, no limits, just fun. That game created a paradise. I believed in it.
The bold direction of the series would no doubt influence plenty of soundtracks that followed as it was the first to break the mold of the elevator music in video games we were used to at the time.
Listen to any of the classic tracks today and they'll take you straight back to a time when you had no worries, which back then, were mainly homework and more snacks.
It opened up a whole new world of expression for a lot of us and that's something not a lot of video games have had the power to do. Especially in 1999!
Trying to catch a crazy combo outside the half pipe, straight into a manual at the Warehouse, while bumping "96 Quite Bitter Beings" by CKY sums up a lot of our childhoods. I know it does for me!