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Skate Heaven Is a Place on Earth

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"Skate on, my son."
Disembodied Voice, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, at the beginning of the Skate Heaven level

Unlike surfing, where you need perfect weather and a seaside to make the most of, or skiing and snowboarding, which both require snow and slopes, other extreme sports such as BMXing and skateboarding can be done anywhere. The world is your sandbox, and you're free to do what you like where you like.

Well, in theory, anyway. Real life is a bit different. Some places just don't have ideal terrain to ride over. Others are restricted, and you'll get thrown out or arrested almost immediately if you so much as try. Even if you did try it, some places are so dangerous that one wipe-out is all that separates you from a messy end.

Not so in a video game, though. Everything is a skate park, and at worst, falling into a vat of acid is merely going to cost you your combo. Security won't throw you out (unless the story calls for it), and nobody's going to do anything more than yell at you, even that guard with a gun you just knocked over.

Expect all the places to be littered with loads of quarter pipes to practice vert tricks off of, often lined up perfectly for a gap.

And yet, despite all the possible places available to do your gnarly shreds, the pros always seem to hang out in the same sort of areas. Even when you go trekking around the world to bring your sport to the masses, you invariably end up in the same kind of locations.

Expect to see:

A suburban area full of houses and gardens. Expect at least one to contain a conveniently empty or drainable swimming pool that's just perfect for a half pipe. (The part about the pools actually has its roots in real-life skateboarding lore — in the mid-late '70s, a severe drought in California forced many homeowners to drain their pools to save water. The bottoms of these pools were shaped just so to allow skateboarders to carve them up, and many of the first crude skate parks were built around these drained pools.)

  • New Jersey in Tony Hawk's Underground fits this trope perfectly. There's a pool, but already empty and apparently constructed for the purpose of skating, as well as plenty of houses to clamber up onto the rooftops.
  • Project 8 has a level called Suburbs which did indeed have a drainable pool, as did Suburbia in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, though that was also part construction site. Oh, and it had a haunted house as well.
  • The Neighborhood in Backyard Skateboarding.

A school, usually with a goal about stopping "the man" from stopping you from your sport.

A big city, full of cars, and giant skyscrapers. Don't be too surprised to have to jump down one of them for some big air.

  • Minneapolis and San Francisco in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1.
  • New York and Philadelphia in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2.
  • Los Angeles in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3.
  • San Francisco (again) and London in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4.
  • Manhattan, Hawaii, and Vancouver in Tony Hawk's Underground. Indeed, a huge gap off a skyscraper in Hawaii becomes the focal point of the game's story.
  • New Orleans in Tony Hawk's Underground 2, at least until the zombies appear. Though you may cut through the rooftops so they won't bother you anyway.
    • Also Boston, Barcelona and Berlin (especially Berlin).
    • Kyoto and Atlanta on the PSP version count as well.
  • Practically all of the main areas of Los Angeles in Tony Hawk's American Wasteland, particularly Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Downtown.
  • London and Chicago in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4.
    • Averted with San Francisco instead taking place in a surprisingly accurate representation of the back of the SF Hyatt.
  • The Boardwalk in Backyard Skateboarding.
  • Virtually every level in Jet Set Radio.
  • The entirety of San Vanelona in Skate and Skate 2, as well as a good chunk of Port Carverton in Skate 3.
  • The civic center in Aggressive Inline.
  • Robin: In a non-video-game example, back when writers remembered that Tim Drake was a skateboarder he would treat Gotham as his personal skatepark and even kept boards specifically for use while in costume. He never skated off a skyscraper, but drainage pipes and other more street level concrete and brick things were fair game.

A proper skate park, fully endorsed by the sponsors. It's either made of concrete if it's outdoors, or plywood when it's inside. Sometimes based off a Real Life skate park.

  • The Marseille skate park in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2.
  • Kona in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 is a real-life park, made of concrete.
  • The Vancouver skate park used to host the Slam City Jam in Tony Hawk's Underground.
  • Skatopia from Tony Hawk's Underground 2 is also real (it's located in Ohio), though it's neither concrete nor plywood.
  • The Vans Skate Park and Wasteland levels in American Wasteland (the latter of which is by no means a real park).
  • The Urbz has Kicktail Park, which is most well known in-game for its skating ramp. In game, it's a literal skate haven, as all the residents there are skaters of some sort.

Some kind of workplace where performing extreme tricks in real life would be impossible (due to security) or at least highly dangerous. Here, though, the only threat is bailing into some smelting pot, or being sucked into an engine and torn to shreds.

  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 gave us both the Foundry, which was full of manufacturing equipment, and the Airport, which... wasn't.
    • Then there's the Jeep Factory in Project 8.
    • The Oil Rig in American Wasteland was another deadly workplace, though not only is security not a problem, you're forced to do the work for the guys there to continue.
  • The train station section of New Jersey in Tony Hawk's Underground, though in this case you neutralize the one guy on security duty immediately.
  • The Big Shell in Pro Evolution Skateboarding. Complete with extremely hazardous drops and armed UAVs. The same level is included as a bonus in MGS2: Substance.
  • Aggressive Inline has a film studio (combining it with the city environment in the outdoor areas), a car factory, a cannery, and an airfield.
  • The Docks in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4.
  • The Rooftops in Backyard Skateboarding: Game of the Year Edition.
  • The Hangar in THPS2.
  • The Downhill Jam in the first THPS, in a way: you skate down a dam and there is an electrical power plant near the end of the stage, but it's otherwise a straightforward downhill skating level.
  • "The Ministry" buildings in Shaun White Skateboarding.

A level set inside something like a museum. Expect to grind over the various assorted priceless artifacts.

  • The Museum in Proving Ground.
  • Aggressive Inline has a museum, including a dinosaur exhibit where you can grind a T-rex skeleton.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 is a bit of a stretch with an oddly accurate Alcatraz.

A level set on a construction site. Beams elevated by rope will never tilt, no matter how long you stall on them.

  • The Suburbia level of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 has a house under construction, complete with foremen.
  • Boston in Tony Hawk's Underground 2 has a construction site in one area. By setting your board on fire and grinding the two cannons, you can destroy it, giving you access to even more girders to grind.
    • The bombed church in Berlin is under restoration in the same game.
  • Project 8's proper concrete skate park is partially demolished, allowing you to grind on the construction workers' vehicles.
  • Tony Hawk's Proving Ground's opening level can have construction vehicles that you can combo on.
    • Not to mention how the entire Rigger story path revolves around building your own spots.
  • In Shaun White Skateboarding you have to escape from 'the Ministry' at one point. This involves grinding over a massive construction rail then switching to another one (conveniently just as the first one is about to end) by jumping over to it when you're 15 stories high.
  • The third game in the Skate series has most of the Industrial areas of Port Carverton, which range from a quarry with massive stone half-pipes and ramps to a docking bay with half-pipes fashioned out of old ship hulls.

A bright and colorful level that allows for some more ludicrous things to ride over. Expect it to be set somewhere where the bright lights are naturally an attraction, not just part of a combo line.

  • Las Vegas from Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix on the PSP.
    • It also appeared in Tony Hawk's American Wasteland, with some changes.
  • Santa Monica, which is bright, sunny, full of bright colors, and there's a freaking Ferris Wheel in it.
  • There's the level set in an amusement park in Project Eight..
  • The Tokyo level in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, complete with twin loopings (which rack you some serious points when riding on them - you need to be speeding to pull it off, i.e. you can't ride them on a manual, which slows you down).
  • Underground allowed you to skate around the stage of a KISS concert in the Australian outback, which for some reason was full of grounded aircraft.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 had a level set in a carnival.
  • Aggressive Inline had a level set in a boardwalk amusement park.
  • Many of the later levels in Jet Set Radio Future, "Pharaoh Park," "99th Street" and "Sky Dinosaurian Square" in particular.

A real life location where extreme sports aren't where one usually goes to have a good time. This is the closest anyone on the globe-trekking extreme sports adventure will get to sightseeing, and they still can't pass up the chance for a personal best.

  • The Mall in the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 doesn't just visit a bullfighting arena, it fills the center with plywood and insists upon putting a contest there.
  • Pro Skater 3 contains a cruise liner level.
  • Pro Skater 4 then let you loose in a zoo.
  • Aggressive Inline had a level set in a boardwalk amusement park.

The Theme Park Version of a foreign country (whether or not the city is explicitly identified, it will be used as a catch-all stand-in for the entire country), which trots out every national stereotype you can imagine and then some.

  • Tokyo in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. Bonus stereotype points for the giant Godzilla footprint. Canada, as well; It's mostly a frozen-over no-man's-land with a skate park in one corner.
    • London in Pro Skater 4.
  • Russia in Tony Hawk's Underground, where every mission involves either alcohol, the oppressive government, or the overbearing military.
  • Barcelona, Australia (not nearly as big as you'd think - actually it's just a part of the Sydney shoreline) and Berlin in Underground 2.
  • Merry Old Englandland in Backyard Skateboarding, which is a version of medieval England.

An unlockable level that is played entirely for humor. It can be anywhere, from the depths of hell to outer space to a Mayan temple to a post-apocalyptic future. Basically any level which has no grounding in the real world.

  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 had Skate Heaven, a level which was a Hailfire Peaks-style mashup of various other levels, set floating above the earth.
    • The alien spaceship idea was done by a level called Pro Skater in Tony Hawk's Underground 2. The same level then went on, coincidentally enough, to be a Mayan temple, and then went to Hell.
    • Also the Triangle level in THUG 2. OK, it seems to be still on Earth, but where on Earth would you find an island dominated with pirates and aliens, in which airplanes cross portals in mid-air?
    • American Wasteland had the post-apocalyptic future level.
  • Many of the themes for custom parks tend to be like this. Who would reasonably build a skate park in Antarctica, or be able to put one on Mars?
    • When they get the chance, people will do it.
  • Evolution Skateboarding had a level inside Dracula's castle, complete with Dracula boss fight if you're playing as Simon Bel... err, Vampire Killer.
  • Backyard Skateboarding has the Ultimate Skatepark State Station Alpha, a space station.
  • The PlayStation version of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 had a level where you where shrunk down to ride around on someone's kitchen top.
  • Shaun White Skateboarding has you unlock "Shaun White Island" (do you think Shaun White likes people to know who Shaun White is?) which is just off the coast of the city where the game is set and is filled with "Shaun White Challenges".
  • Skatebird: Since this game is about skateboarding birds, the levels feature things like ramps made of old pizza boxes, and grind rails made out of bendy straws and pencils on erasers.