Synch Watch: Was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater the Best Marriage of Music and Gaming Ever?

September 14, 2020 — The year was 1999, and Tony Hawk had done the incredible by landing the world’s first 900 at the X-Games. Little did anyone know at that moment that it would make Tony Hawk a household name and launch one of the most popular video game franchises of a generation. Four months after he landed the now infamous 900, Tony Hawk’s: Pro Skater hit the shelves and became a must-have game for all kids, even the ones who didn’t skate.

On September 4th, 21 years after the release of the original, Activision re-released a remastered Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 and 2 to remind us how magical those games truly were. It also reminded us of the nearly perfect soundtrack and how this game blended music and gaming into the perfect marriage. Now is the ideal time to revisit that soundtrack as well as look at the revamp soundtrack from the remastered game.

The original soundtrack from the first game was a reflection of what the culture was listening to at the time. Songs like the intro-to-ska hit “Superman” by Goldfinger and “Police Truck” by punk godfathers The Dead Kennedy’s are still etched into every Millennial gamer’s mind. In total, there were 37 songs to choose from that ranged from underground punk to more mainstream rock hits like Powerman 5000’s “When Worlds Collide.”

Fast forward to today, where skating culture has peaked but is still more popular now than it was back in 1999. Activision stayed true to fans and kept most of the original 37 songs in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater remaster, but they have also had 21 years to amass a catalog of new hits. The new lineup has everything you could want from real punk, to pop-punk, and even modern-day hip hop. Some of the tracks on this new version were even released this year, like MGK’s “My Bloody Valentine.”

The fantastic thing about the original and the re-release is that they offer the perfect marriage of gaming and music. There is no heavy dialogue and no need to hear anything other than the music. Really, it is the purest form of gaming when you can throw on some stellar music and play without having to think about much.

Hopefully, as millennials flock to relive their glory days in higher definition, it will remind producers how essential the soundtrack is to a game. They say games are the new movies, but sometimes games should just be games with a kickass soundtrack to go with them. For now, you can catch a bunch of 30-something rocking out to the tunes they once loved while doing kickflips and possibly appreciating a whole new era of music while they catch up on what the kids have been listening to over the past two decades. Fans can find the remastered game on Playstation 4 and Xbox One. There is no confirmation yet whether it is coming to the Nintendo Switch, which would be a bummer for those looking to relive their N64 glory days.

Arthur Thares
Arthur is an avid television and movie fan with horror being his favored genre. If you can name it, he has probably seen it. Twice. During the day you can find him in his office listening to jazz and writing about things that inspire him.

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