Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is back! It’s fun, has cool music, and is full of nostalgia. Who could have a problem with this excellent game? Me. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 doesn’t give you any points for an ollie — as if an ollie isn’t even a trick at all. This is straight up insulting to me, and anyone else who spent their middle school years (also tried again in high school) attempting to skateboard and walked away saying, “Well at least I can do one trick: an ollie”
In the games, you press a button and you ollie. No fanfare. It’s treated like any other game would treat a jump. While at its core an ollie is indeed a jump on a skateboard, the skill set required is far above that of what is required to merely jump from your own two feet. I’m disgusted that this parallel even exists.
Skateboarding is incredibly difficult. It’s gymnastics on wheels! To even ride a skateboard, you have to silence the fear center of your brain and say, “Yes, I will get on this platform with wheels, standing up to minimize my control over my center of gravity. Then I’ll use my foot to make this platform go faster and faster over concrete, the world’s hardest and sharpest surface.”
And as you’re learning, no matter how much you might want to wear knee pads and wrist guards ... you can’t. Maybe if you were jumping off ramps or grinding down rails, but to skateboard up to a curb, get off, lift the skateboard over the curb, and then get back on, while wearing pads? No, no, the humiliation would be too much. (disclaimer: don’t sue me)
Which brings me to my next point. When you learn to skate, you’re not just putting yourself at physical risk. There is an even graver emotional risk involved. Because you have to learn in public.
You can’t learn to skateboard in the grassy privacy of your backyard. Sure you could skate in your driveway, but there’s never really enough space. No, realistically you’re in parking lots of shopping centers or schools (don’t recommend) for all the world to see and be like, “Oh neat, a skater, what tricks are they gonna do … oh. Oh god. They aren’t even standing on it right.”
So we’ve established that just riding a skateboard is hard, both physically and emotionally. Now I’m going to blow your mind with how difficult it is to ollie. Here’s what the body must do:
First you coil yourself preparing to jump, like so:
Then, slam your back foot down on the lip of the board. This is your launch foot. As soon as it hits the ground, you’ve got a millisecond to propel all of your body weight into the air, off that foot. Pull your front knee to your chest — you want to keep your front foot out of the way of the board.
Once in the air, slide your front foot across the floating board, which straightens it out and gets your feet on the same level. Try not to push down on the board with your feet, and keep your back foot off the board. Let the bounce of the board dictate the height of your ollie.
When you’re at the peak of your jump get both feet back on the board. Now you can let gravity pull the board down, or you can shove it down with your feet. I don’t actually know which is correct.
Then you land. And you feel like a goddamn X Games gold medalist.
Now Tony Hawk Pro Skater is telling me this isn’t a trick? Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?! (I’m screaming)
I will not let a game take away a real life accomplishment from me. I can (could) do one skateboard trick. A real trick. And I will hold my head high despite the insult Tony Hawk has thrown at me. He and his dumb game owe me, and I assume leagues of other 90s kids, an apology.