Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 (2001) by Activision

You saw the number at the end of the game’s title and were like “Woah man.”  I know that most people love the second entry into this beloved franchise, but the third entry was the one that solidified my love for skateboarding and Tony Hawk.  This game was a launch title for the GameCube and was the primary game that I played during the first few months of the consoles life cycle.  The GameCube is probably my favorite console, so it is easy to remember all of the hours that I put into this game. I have been dreaming of a proper reboot for years, but I am more nervous about what the current state of the video game industry will do to a popular sport game like this.

This was one of the few games that I completed 100%.  I order to accomplish the feat I had to find all of the S-K-A-T-E letters in every level, pass all of the challenges, and find any other hidden collectibles (I think they were hidden VHS tapes?).  It was so easy to replay this game again and again because of the great soundtrack.  This was the game that introduced me to punk rock music.  This game may have had as much influence on my music tastes as something like Guitar Hero 2 or Rock Band.  I can still hear Ace of Spades playing in the background while skating and grinding around a level.  There was even an option to change the in game music.  You could select and deselect songs that you wanted to hear or did not want to hear.  There were a few occasions when I would only select one or two songs and just free skate around a level listening to the killer soundtrack.

And that is what I loved about THPS3, the freedom that it offered the player.  You could enter a level and do whatever you wanted.  Then replay the level and do something else.  I played and loved Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 on the N64 and Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland was a find entry as well.  But the third game in the series came at the perfect time for me.  I love launch games for consoles because there usually is not much else to play so I end up spending a lot of time with those early games.  I remember Ryse for the Xbox One as a great launch title.  I also ended up beating the game twice and finding all of the collectibles.

For some reason there was a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD edition of the game released as a digital only title for the Xbox 360 and PS3.  I bought the game, but it just wasn’t the same as the GameCube games.  There was something about the controls, the music, the level design, and the simplicity all coming together at the right time to create an amazing experience.  I even bought my own skateboard during this time and tried to be the next great Tony Hawk.  It did not go according to plan, although I did learn how to ollie fairly well.

Thank you Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 for giving me a sneak peak into skateboard culture and establish a love with board sports and punk rock!

Tomorrow another GameCube great Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks

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