Hey, guys, I want to thank you all again for the help with the book, and rest assured that I've thanked as many of you who helped as possible in the acknowledgments. Matt and I should have solicited help much sooner, but I was being a bit protective of the material until we settled on our formula and everything was well and truly underway (we'll release a full chapter list, i.e., game list, when we get closer to the pub date, then we have to create a special section on AA for the book per the contract). Well, I just checked, and I think the last chapter that's left (several more still need to be written) that we haven't had a discussion here on, is the Tony Hawk chapter. My basic reasoning for including it is that besides being a videogame phenomena in its own right, to my mind it kind of signaled the return of alternative sports games, i.e., the return of slightly more casual sports games and alternatives to the traditional sports like Madden, which as you know is also its own chapter. So while the goal of the Madden chapter is to kind of detail the transition from arcade style sports to the modern sports genre, the goal of the Tony Hawk chapter is to kind of detail the return to an alternative to the modern sports genre. I kind of see games like 720 degrees, California Games, NBA Jam and NFL Blitz leading to Tony Hawk and all the modern extreme sports games, and the introduction of things like SSX, NBA Ballers and the like. In other words, they're all related. So, Madden and Tony Hawk to me represent the main division in sports videogames and that's where the two chapters will differ and the reason for including both (at least at the time). So please let me know what you all think, as the help is absolutely needed with only a few more days left to go!
The c64 had some classic alternate sports games.
skate or die
ski or die
jordan vs bird
Skate or Die and California Games are the two real classics. California Games is really the true pregneator of all those X games (tony hawk, dave mirra bmx, ssx etc). Cracked by Eaglesoft of course ;)
I remember 720, it came with a tape of the music which was pretty cool in itself, but I was hopeless at it.
-- Stu --
I need to add, I've had a TONNE of fun playing the ps2 version of THPS3 and I have.. Project8 on my PSP and it rocks.
I treat it as a sandbox, because I'm so skillless in needing to do the things it wants you to do to progress.
I do love that every edge, every angle of anything can be skated in this game, as if they thought of everything, I love the range of places from towns to malls to backyards to ships etc.
I've never played madden but played a lot of FIFA on the PS2. And its ok, but fifa doesnt suck me in like THPS did. FIFA was boring, but stat lovers liked it, hardcore fans liked it to play their teams. The rudimentary mechanics of it always felt off, (passing, kicking, etc) when compared to the mechanics in THPS which always seemed totally 'on'.
Worst, was the EA rugby game on ps2, it felt (and probably was) several generations behind the fifa engine.
They were a big difference from the old c64 football manager games where it was all stat based and you didnt 'play' but you watched a random 30 second 'game' played by the computer then it was back to training and stat mode.
-- Stu --
I spent plenty of hours in Tony Hawk 4. I think I liked the sandbox style of play. Hardly any other sports games have that. When I was a kid in the 80's I used to wonder if I could make a simulation of my city that you could bicycle around in and go anywhere. The Commodore 64 probably wasn't quite up to that task! Tony Hawk got pretty close to my dream and GTA San Andreas pretty much nailed it (I spent hours in that game just cycling around!)
I'm not much of a sports person, let alone cool "xtreme" sports - and this continues into the realm of video games. The latter may have to do with me coming late to games consoles (PS1 was the first) as sports games are more abundant there.
However, I got the original THPS because it was hailed as a game with excellent control and use of the aging Playstation hardware. Both things are true, IMHO, and I had much fun with it. I especially liked the hearty smack when the avatar hits the ground in an unplanned way. ;-)
IMHO, skateboarding games are essentially a progression from the snowboarding games, as several things are nearly identical (the "racing", the tricks while jumping, the interactive use of scenery for grinding etc.) and the sandbox character of some arenas give it a more universal approach. The player has more freedom to try things out and doesn't even have to leave training mode to have fun with the game.
I don't have the faintest idea, how many Tony Hawk games are needed for humankind, though:
I'm with you, Calibrator. The only game of this sort I really got into was Jet Grind Radio for the Dreamcast. I played it for a few hours but quickly got tired of it. I also played a Microsoft dirtbike game that came with one of my controllers. It was pretty fun for awhile, but again, it quickly got old. I actually had more fun with the old Kickstart and Action Biker games.
The only other skateboard game I really remember playing much was Back to the Future for the C64.