By Tony Hawk
You bastards knew what we were doing the whole damn time.
It was never going to be a good game. It had everything against it; it was a dying sport trying to piggyback off a dying franchise. That’s a recipe for failure if I’ve ever seen one. Like that time my mom made ketchup and mustard sandwiches for Thanksgiving after she got too drunk at breakfast to drive to the store. Sure, we made the best of the situation that we could and when it comes right down to it, it was probably one of our least violent Thanksgivings, but we could have used a turkey and some stuffing. This game wasn’t a turkey and some stuffing, this game wasn’t even a ketchup and mustard sandwich. This game was like someone telling you your grandfather was still alive then making you pay for the privilege of throwing his corpse at your feet.
When they originally told me they wanted to bring Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater back, I was psyched. If there’s two things I love, it’s money and fame, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater has always been great at getting me both. Back in the day, when making a successful game was about making a good game, Tony Hawk was the reigning champion. Few skateboarding games came close to matching Tony Hawk’s quality and the few that did would never receive even close to the mainstream penetration that Tony Hawk enjoyed. Everyone that was anyone played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, there might have been a few of those that preferred other skateboarding games, but even they still played Tony Hawk. It was a great time to be Tony, and I took advantage when I could, but it wouldn’t last.
In the mid ‘00s, people lost interest in skateboarding games. Experts say that it was because people just weren’t interested in skateboarding in video games anymore, but I think it was something else. Something that was partially my fault. You see, when Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater became successful, we bled it dry. By releasing new, barely updated iterations every year, we started to wear our audiences thin. When you buy a new game that is barely different than the game you paid $60 for the year before, you start to grow weary of buying them. I can’t blame you. I used to not be a millionaire, you know. It sucked. I can’t even imagine what some of you are going through, being almost thirty and still not a millionaire. It’s gotta feel like it’s never going to happen for you, but trust me, it will. I thought that same thing when I was twenty-two, then just six months later, there I was, falling ass backwards into money while endorsing just about every product on the planet.
Some people called me a sell out. I never got that. I was still skateboarding, it just happened that I was getting paid for it. How does that make me a sell out? What am I selling out of? If I skateboard with a Mountain Dew logo stamped to my board am I not the same person? I hate to break it to you guys, but I always wanted money. The only thing that stopped me from having money before I “sold out” was that nobody wanted to give me any for getting stoned and going to the skatepark. One day, that changed. I was just hanging out at the s-park, shredding the fuck out of some gnarling rails in the bathroom and just generally minding my own business when a dude in a suit beckoned me into his van. He said he would pay me to show him some tricks back at his place. Long story short, some messed up stuff happened and he offered me a hundred thousand dollars to keep it to ourselves. You ever find yourself in that situation, I think we both know what you’re going to do. At least at the end. If you wanna avoid the whole thing, I suggest you always know where your exits are, and don’t go into any room that doesn’t have one you’re comfortable you can make it to without being in range of a horse-whip.
I didn’t get a look at the game until about a month ago and… I’m sorry. We did it to you again. We told you that Tony Hawk was back and you remembered your childhoods. You used to have fond memories of Tony Hawk. You remember the manuals and the ollies… and who could forget the warehouse level? Or the mall? That goddamn escalator… life used to be simple and it used to be fun. It used to be good. We used to have Tony Hawk’s Pro Skaters that were made to last, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skaters that we cared about. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skaters that defined us when we considered ourselves undefinable and let us do a 900 without a 95% chance of cracking your skull open. Now what do we have? This? Why even bother at all? It was better when we had nothing.
I won’t ever let this happen again. The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise may not belong entirely to me, but it will die with me, and I’m taking us both out before it’s too late. It will have to be a death embarrassing enough that they’ll never be able to use my name for branding again. I have a few ideas, but I think it’d be better if it were a surprise. I’m sorry for what I’ve done to the memories of your childhoods, the hours you wasted as an adult on new titles and especially for the inclusion of Lil’ Wayne. I’m sorry, Lil’, I never meant to get you mixed up in all this. I’ll do what I can to clear your name before it’s all over. This is it, say goodbye to Tony.
Say goodbye to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.