Pin It
Favorite

The Player 

by Marty Demarest & r & & r & TONY HAWK's PROJECT 8 & r & For eight years, designers at the videogame company Neversoft have been trying to come up with something more interesting for me to do in a Tony Hawk skateboard game than skateboard. They've devised fiendish button combos -- thumb-manglingly complex sequences for me to tap out on the original PlayStation's controller. They've designed digital designer clothes for skaters to wear. They've licensed every notable skater in the world, crudely modeling them in polygons. And in a hideous misuse of the PlayStation 2's Internet connectivity, they even invited me to stick my own face on a skater in the game.





Now, as a seventh excuse for remaking a perfect game (aside from $), Neversoft has decided it would be fun to trap me in the suburbs and force me to escape. In order to transcend my humble starter home and limited wardrobe, I must become the stokin'est skate punk that Tony Hawk has ever seen (with his new super-scary digital eye-orbs). If I can rail-grind over enough shrubbery and let scroungey dudes take pictures of me while they out-skate me all over town, then I can catch the Hawk's eye and win the game or something.





Tony Hawk's Project 8 uses this set-up to force me into a ludicrous world. Everything has been designed not for skateboarding, but for skateboarding tasks. Leaps, tricks and sprints are not just things to do while virtually skateboarding. They've now been transformed into mini-games in which a few exact skateboarding techniques must be executed for points. Hundreds of opportunities to gain a reputation crowd the street, and there are plenty for every taste, but they take the free-flowing fun of skating and chop it into pieces.





The tricks themselves happen when I perform button-pressing sequences similar to the ones in fighting games. Arcane combinations of taps across the controller's buttons result, if timed right and correctly tapped, in the performance of super-cool maneuvers. But where the first Tony Hawk's Pro Skater achieved a tight alliance of real-world button-grabbing and game-world skate trickery, Project 8 separates the button presses from the trick. The secret sequences must be entered correctly before I have any sense of whether or not the trick is working. I simply must twitch, and hope I twitched well.





THE GOOD: There is one elegant aspect to Project 8 that makes skating in a videogame feel fun again. I can, at the press of a few buttons, slip into a slow-motion close-up of my feet, giving me precise control of how I flip the board and land the trick. It allows me to incorporate an extreme amount of style into an otherwise unyielding system.





THE BAD: I hate the world. Tony Hawk's Project 8 is an enormous skatepark of a suburbia that is cluttered and doesn't allow me any space -- mentally or virtuaphysically. I'm continually asked to dedicate myself to flurries of button presses instead of the urban escapes I want to find on my four wheels and slab of wood.





THE BOTTOM LINE: Tony Hawk's Project 8 robs skateboarding of its imaginative dexterity and replaces it with rapid precision.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Game Changer
  • Game Changer

    Since Condon became mayor, Jan Quintrall has been responsible for some of the biggest changes in the city of Spokane — and some of its biggest controversies
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • In Contempt
  • In Contempt

    A Spokane judge rules that the mental health system has willfully failed to follow evaluation deadlines
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • Never Again
  • Never Again

    Washington state lawmakers push reforms after last July's murder-suicide; plus, Spokane's police ombudsman is leaving
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Campbell House Holidays

Campbell House Holidays @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 4

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Let Us Breathe

    Spokane joins national protests over the failure to indict white officers for killing black civilians
    • Dec 10, 2014
  • Screw Big Cities

    A mid-sized manifesto
    • Dec 3, 2014
  • More »

© 2014 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation