Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

Gaming Needs: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Skateboarders

Posted in Gaming Needs, Skateboarding, Video Games by Jacob Zinn on January 5, 2012
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In December, Activision unveiled the trailer for the upcoming Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD, taking select levels from the first two Hawk installments. Instead of porting the games as PSOne Classics and Xbox Originals, they’re trying to take the then-fresh gameplay, pretty it up, throw in some trophies and achievements and see how it sells.

Obviously, the Birdman himself will be a playable character, but the series has had tons of notable pros grace the select skater screen. Here are 10 who should make return appearances in THPSHD:

Bob Burnquist

Aside from his absence in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 due to his one-off appearance in ESPN X Games Skateboarding, Bob Burnquist has been a mainstay throughout the series. As one of the premiere X Games competitors in the late ’90s and early ’00s, Burnquist has skillfully filled highlight reels with loop-de-loops, a fakie-to-fakie 900 and his entire final vert run at X Games VII. (The Staples Center comes unglued, but his board just sticks to his feet.) To deny gamers the Burntwist and the Samba Flip as signature moves would be a worse crime than skating on the grass.

Bucky Lasek

Lasek hasn’t always been the top skater in his field, but his longevity in the sport is nothing to discard. The Baltimore native holds the highest in-competition X Games vert score with a 98.5 from X Games VI (and he gave Bob a run for his money the following year). Having been in many of the early Hawk games, he’s overdue to be included in another one, and THPSHD is the best one going around. No one else will be able to do all those Rodeos, McTwists and Frontside 540s.

Rodney Mullen

Opting for the streets over the halfpipe, Mullen is the king of flatland. (If you have not seen him skate, open a new tab and search for a video.) Mullen is an inhuman force, somehow manipulating his skateboard to shapeshift to manuals, primos, caspers, truckstands, pogos and handstands. There is no reason to exclude him from THPSHD.

Mike Vallely

When he’s not chasing down purse snatchers, wrestling professionally, singing lead vocals in a punk band or shirtlessly taking on four guys outside of a 7-11, Mike V. skates professionally. He’s the true definition of hardcore, the kind of guy who will bail a trick and break his arm, then get up, dust himself off and try again. It took a while for Vallely to make it into the THPS series, but with all that aggro pushing and an arsenal that includes the 540 Boneless, he has to be skating himself back into the character lineup.

Chad Muska

Muska is such a cartoony person, one might think he’s a bonus character made up by Neversoft. But he’s a real skater, and he’s real(ly) good. There isn’t one gamer who wouldn’t want to see Muska back for more rollercoaster transfers and hubba grinds. He’s been in every Tony Hawk game except Shred, but that’s no reason to keep him out of THPSHD. The guy noseslid the rail at the White Rock skatepark with a boombox under his arm for his video part in Shorty’s 1999 release, Fulfill the Dream. Props.

Jamie Thomas

While not a very outspoken skater, Jamie Thomas is one of the THPS originals, best known for the Iron Maiden-scored Welcome to Hell video from 1996 and the Leap of Faith. You can’t just go to the School II with any ol’ skater and acid drop from that high up–you need Thomas’ balls of steel.

Steve Caballero

Another legend of skateboarding, Caballero is the originator of the Caballerial (Fakie Backside 360) and was in four of the first five Hawk titles. He’s inspired a lot of skaters who grew up while he competed in throughout the ’80s, and out of respect for those before us, let’s save him a spot in HD.

Christian Hosoi

Hosoi is yet another of vert skating’s biggest early pushers. He gained notoriety by skating in the ’80s–he invented the Christ Air–and infamy by using drugs in the ’90s. Now clean, sober and Christian, Hosoi has more support than ever from the skating community. His debut was in 2006’s dismal Tony Hawk’s Project 8. Give him an opportunity to reappear in a better title. Please.

Bam Margera

Odds are, if you don’t skate and you’ve heard of Margera, you know him from MTV’s Jackass. While Bam doesn’t skate competitively (he makes more money from MTV and his sponsorship with Element), he’s a popular skater in the series. (And he’s a darn good skater, too.) It’s more unlikely that he won’t be included–he’s just that beloved. I wouldn’t count on him or CKY’s music jumping ship to Skate, so bank on this one.

Nyjah Huston

He’s only 17 years old, but Nyjah Huston earned more money from three contests than most people do in a year. The three-stop Street League champion and X Games medalist has been outskating similarly aged rivals like Ryan Sheckler and Chaz Ortiz, which puts him in the running to be THPSHD‘s top youngster. He’s a prodigy, and he deserves just as much recognition as his influences.

Notable Encore-Worthy Bonus Skaters and Celebrity Guests:

  • [THPS] Officer Dick, Private Carrera
  • [THPS2] Ollie the Bum
  • [THPS4] Eddie (the mascot of Iron Maiden), Boba Fett
  • [THAW] Billie Joe Armstrong (lead singer of Green Day)
  • [THP8] Travis Barker (drummer of blink-182)
  • [THR] Kat Von D


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