Let’s just get this out of the way: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is a masterpiece. In perfectly mimicking the iconic skateboarding series’ first two outings, this remaster gives me everything I could ever want out of a game. I am dumbfounded by there somehow being something so good and pure in the world.
I first played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, like many did, as a kid frustrated with the complexities of real skateboarding in the early 2000s. After hours of fighting with my terrible body to just do an ollie—please, why is this so hard—it felt nice to boot up a game where the foundational trick could be performed with a single button. I kickflipped over massive halfpipes. I slid along the blades of a helicopter. I marveled at the unlockable Rodney Mullen videos. I sang along to Rage Against the Machine’s “Guerrilla Radio,” music that would have never been allowed in my house otherwise.
As you might imagine, I had high hopes for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2—which we’ll call THPS1+2 from now on because that name is way too unwieldy. We haven’t had a good Tony Hawk game for a decade or more, depending on who you ask. Frankly, I haven’t been all that impressed with the series since Tony Hawk’s Underground took up a near-permanent residence in my GameCube in late 2003, and none have reached the impeccable heights of 2000 follow-up Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.