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Video Game / Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

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The Tony Hawk's series is a line of skateboarding video games published by Activision, and one of the first to feature the likenesses of professional skaters such as the Hawkman himself.

The first three games in the series gave the player a two-minute time limit to score as many points as possible by stringing together grabs, flip tricks, and grinds. Scoring enough points and completing enough objectives (such as grinding a particular rail or jumping over a specified gap) will unlock a new course for the player to skate on. Many of the skate parks in the series are modeled after real locations, such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. Beginning with Pro Skater 4, the levels were expanded greatly, and the two-minute timer was eliminated (except for particular challenges). While the Pro Skater games are examples of No Plot? No Problem!, the post-Underground games would generally come with an actual plot, often of surprisingly good quality.

The tight, fast-paced gameplay, superb level design, mountains of hidden unlockables and Easter Eggs, addictive multiplayer (Notably, Pro Skater 3 was the first PS2 game to feature online functionality, before the official system modem was even released) and impeccable taste in licensed music led to absolutely enormous financial and critical success - with Pro Skater 2 in particular being the second highest rated game of all time on Metacritic, tied with Grand Theft Auto IV and Soulcalibur and just behind The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Unfortunately, the series ran on a gruelling (for both the developers at Neversoft and the players) annualised schedule, a move which, unsurprisingly, led to stagnation and franchise fatigue. Depending on who you ask, the series peaked with Pro Skater 2, Pro Skater 3, or Underground, with the franchise generally agreed to have then circled the drain until Neversoft stopped making Tony Hawk games after the commercial failure of Proving Ground, and promptly began working on Guitar Hero. They were merged into Infinity Ward in 2013.

On September 4, 2020, Activision released a Video Game Remake of the first two Pro Skater games.note  The remake was developed by Vicarious Visions, who also previously worked on the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, and have experience with the Tony Hawk games, having done most of the series' ports for Nintendo handheldsnote .

Original Pro Skater Series

  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (1999): Originally launched on the PSone (later for Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast, Game Boy Color and even the Nokia N-Gage), this was the first game in the series, featuring very few skateboarders (10, plus two secrets), a handful of basic levels, and reached critical acclaim for its unique use of combos, something previously only seen in beat 'em ups.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (2000): The first sequel improved numerous things, and added customization to the mix (Create-A-Skater and Create-A-Park), which would become a staple of the series. Also included the manual, the first trick to link types of tricks together into much longer chains. This installment may be the one released on the most consoles: it came out on the PSX, N64, PC, and Mac; re-released later on the Dreamcast and Xbox with improved graphics and some new levels; got handheld versions on GBC and GBA; and finally got re-released again on the iPhone in 2010.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (2001): The first game designed for the sixth generation of consoles - PS2, Gamecube and Xbox. The PS2's first game with online play, while at the same time the final N64 game for the Western market, and thus had much graphical improvement. It remains as one of the highest scored games on the PS2. Amongst the new features was the Revert, a trick that could be linked from a halfpipe to a manual allowing for potentially infinite combos. Notable for being the final game released on the Nintendo 64 in North America.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (2002): Often considered inferior to the third due to its Obvious Beta status on some consoles. Goals were no longer stuck in the two minute format, with the levels now opened to be explored freely, and attempted in roughly any order. It also introduced spine transfers, where the skater can flip from one side of a quarter pipe to another one facing the opposite direction, and skitching where, much like Marty McFly, the skater can grab on the rear of a vehicle to get a speed boost.

Underground Series

  • Tony Hawk's Underground (2003): Sticking with the free-roaming format in 4, it introduced walking as well as extensive customization for skaters, levels, decks and goals. Also contained an actual story, which centered around the player character trying to make it big as a pro. Also added wallplants and hidden double-tap versions of most tricks (these actually were already in THPS3, but not all versions had them). Included vehicles to the mix, which disappeared as quickly as they arrived.
  • Tony Hawk's Underground 2 (2004): Followed the story of THUG. A year after the events of the game, we see the player character travel around the world competing in a "World Destruction Tour". Was heavily influenced by Jackass (mostly its spinoff Viva La Bam, as Bam Margera was one of the main characters and his father Phil was also featured), featuring several of the cast as playable characters (namely Steve-O and Wee Man); also an influence, to a lesser extent, was the King of the Road contest hosted by skateboarding magazine Thrasher. Received a PSP version with new levels that later appeared in THAW. Introduced a few little things to the gameplay, like the Freak Out (if you bail off a combo, you can Button Mash to destroy your board in frustration - you get a few points and can start a new combo from it), the Natas Spin (which can only be used on small surfaces like hydrants and poles), graffiti tagging (which counts as a trick if you're in the middle of a Run Out combo), Focus (the ability to slow down the world and perform your tricks or maintain your balance with precision accuracy as long as you have Special meter), and throwing objects at people (which change depending on the level). Wallplants were also renamed "Sticker Slaps" and were more readily integrated into the skating lines around the levels.

Wide-Open Sandbox Series

  • Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (2005): Featured a "full world" (well, only the city of Los Angeles, at least) with level loading screens masked by empty corridors with very little to do in them. Toned down some of the Jackass style humor of THUG2, and added BMX bikes into the mix as well as Mat Hoffmann. This received a hasty Xbox 360 port. The redesigned classic levels are considered particularly good, however. Was either the last 'classic' Tony Hawk's game, or a sign of worse to come, depending who you asked.
  • Tony Hawk's Project 8 (2006): The first game released for the Xbox 360 and PS3, containing a fully integrated city, a physics overhaul, and the "Nail The Trick" Mode which changed the controls from being pressing one button and a direction at any point, to timing the flick and direction of analogue sticks to hit the board just right so you didn't bail. Received a PS2 port, even though it was not ported to the Wii due to claims the Wii could not handle the game.
  • Tony Hawk's Proving Ground (2007): Possibly the second Tony Hawk's game on the most consoles appearing on the PS2 and Wii in a stripped down form, PS3 and Xbox 360 in full form, and on the DS in a port by the people who made the PSOne version of THPS4. The home console versions were arguably the most ambitious of the series, with a large sandbox area and various cities to skate between. In addition, the DS version is actually a good handheld game, certainly better than any of the other DS Tony Hawk's games. The only criticism about the home console versions was that they further pushed the "Nail the Trick" feature, complicating it further with more possible flips and the newly added grabs. It was the last game produced by Neversoft (only in the PS3/Xbox 360 versions), from which production was handed over to lesser second-party developer Robomodo.

Ride Series

  • Tony Hawk: RIDE (2009): To challenge EA's Skate series, RIDE introduced a new skateboard peripheral to simulate actual skateboarding. Hand movements and board positions would indicate tricks and techniques. Sadly, the peripheral was expensive, unresponsive, and hard to maintain balance on while riding, as demonstrated. RIDE had abysmal sales and critical backlash.
  • Tony Hawk: SHRED (2010): SHRED introduced a sturdier peripheral and a snowboarding mode. Unfortunately, the same peripheral and gameplay issues still existed and as a result, sold even less than RIDE. The series was nearly canned after this.

Revival Pro Skater Series

  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD (2012): Activison's attempt to put the series back on track after some questionable turns. Launching as a downloadable game on PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE Arcade, THPS HD is a revisit to many classic levels of the first two titles (with a handful from the third via DLC), but reimagined in a new engine (both graphically and gameplay-wise). No longer available for purchase due to lapsed music licenses though Steam users can still download it if they already owned it.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (2015): The next logical step of the revival started by HD and was the first numerical title in the series in 13 years. Features like walking and skitching were removed to bring the gameplay closer to the earlier titles, while a new feature for grinding (called the "Slam" mechanic) was introduced. The game also boasted a more fleshed-out online mode than other Tony Hawk games of the past, and featured co-op play (though split-screen multiplayer was scrapped). The game was released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in fall 2015, with Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 releases following that December. Upon debut, Pro Skater 5 was critically panned for bland environments, the new Slam mechanic being poorly implemented, and being overall technically sloppy to the point of featuring a multitude of Game Breaking Bugs. Also the last ever game in the series to be published by Activision (not counting the remaster of Pro Skater 1 + 2), as the license ended on the day it came out, and both parties elected not to renew it at that time.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 (2020): A second remake of the first two THPS games built from the ground up that attempts to correct every complaint players had with 2012's THPS HD. The game features every course from the first two games (as well as most of the skaters). The physics have been crafted to more closely resemble those of the first two games.note  The graphics have been given a major facelift. And most of the songs from the first two games are here, along with a number of brand new ones. This game was released for the Epic Games Store, Playstation 4 and Xbox One, with later releases on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.


  • Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX (2001), Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 (2002), Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarding (2001), and Kelly Slaters Pro Surfer (2002): Other Activision published games that apply the Pro Skater formula to other extreme sports (most of them were released under the label of Activision O2 along with the Pro Skater games from 2001 to 2003). They have many noticeable similarities to the Tony Hawk games (even moreso in the case of Pro BMX 1 as it used a modified version of the THPS2 engine), though they generally aren't considered part of the same series. Pro Skater 4 features a Bonus Level taken from Pro BMX 2, while Slater and Hoffman made appearances as playable characters in Pro Skater 3 and American Wasteland, respectively.
  • Tony Hawk's American Sk8land (2005): DS spinoff noteworthy for being one of the first online games for the DS. Went with a cel-shaded art style as opposed to THAW's realistic approach, and featured trimmed down version's of the home consoles' levels and moveset edited for the DS's capabilities.
  • Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam (2006): The only racing game in the series (though there are several goals in other games which are races), notable for containing no other pro skateboarders save for Tony Hawk, and being much more cartoonish and unrealistic than the other games in the series. Eventually got a PS2 port, after being released for the Wii (possibly to compensate for no Project 8), Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance.
  • Tony Hawk's Motion (2008): The only Tony Hawk game released in 2008, exclusive to the DS. This game was bundled with the actually more entertaining bonus game Hue Pixel Painter, and was extremely bare bones, with no licensed music (a series first), and full motion control, which came in the form of a motion sensitive cartridge you plugged into the GBA slot (which, when you consider that this was released months after the GBA-slot-less DSi, was a bad move). The game was actually half skateboarding, half snowboarding, and while public perception of the series had been on a low for a while, this game took the notorious title of the critically worst-reviewed game in the series until THPS5.
  • Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure: A Dolled-Up Installment consisting of levels based on Toy Story, Tarzan and The Lion King, the game is based on THPS4 and largely plays identically to it. Includes a simplified control scheme to make it easier for younger players to handle the game but also includes "Pro Controls" which enables the standard THPS button layout.
  • Tony Hawk's Shred Session (2014): The first Tony Hawk game that was going to be released on mobile, but was cancelled later into the year after an unsuccessful soft-launch.
  • Skate Jam (formerly Tony Hawk's Skate Jam; 2018): The first Tony Hawk game to not be published by Activision, Skate Jam is a mobile game that was based on the franchise, which is the mobile game Skateboard Party with Tony Hawk added to it. By 2021, however, after Tony Hawk returned the license to Activision, all content directly relating to him was dropped and his name was removed from the title, effectively removing the game from the franchise. It's available on both iOS and Android.

The Tony Hawk games provide examples of:

  • 100% Completion: In Pro Skater 2 and 3, you're given a 100% rating for completing every goal with a single skater. But in order to unlock all the levels, skaters, and cheats, you have to get 100% with multiple skaters. THPS3 requires you to beat the game 22 times to unlock everything. Can make for a fun marathon session. Later games also include completing gaps into the completion requirement.
    • Taken to truly absurd levels in 1+2. To put it in perspective: have you completed every goal and collected every stat point in Tour Mode with every single one of the game's roster of 25 skaters, while finding every single gap in every stage? Good news: you're barely at the halfway point for completing the game. Have fun getting ludicrously high scores and combos (including a million-point combo and a ten million-point total score), speedrunning every single Tour stage, nailing huge combos under ridiculous restrictions, finding hidden collectibles stowed away in the most out-of-the-way locations, and winning hundreds of multiplayer matches. To put it simply, getting full completion on 1+2 is a task reserved for the truly insane and/or those with literally nothing else to do.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: The "Sewers" level, exclusive to the PS1 port of THPS4.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Stages based on real skate parks have their geometry and layouts altered to better fit the game's system of combo lines, as well as Rule of Cool. For instance, the giant ramp that nearly touches the ceiling in SkateStreet Ventura (CA) in Tony 2 and 1+2 only went halfway up the park's wall in real life.
  • Adaptation Decay: Whilst the "Suburbia" level was Halloween-themed in the PS2 version of THPS3, the PS1 and N64 versions remove all of these references except for the haunted house... which is fenced off and you can't enter in these versions.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Spider-Man and Private Carrera are completely absent from the 1+2 remakes despite being playable skaters in the original game; the former was presumably removed due to licensing issues and the latter her sexual nature.
    • Bam Margera has been removed from a THUG2 poster on the Hanger level in 1+2, due to him not being playable in the latter game since he first debuted in 3 and he was in rehab at the time of development, making it difficult to reach out to him.
  • After the End: The "Ruins" level in THAW, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a destroyed, post-apocalyptic Los Angeles.
  • Appropriated Appelation: Sort of. "Ollie the magic bum" was just one of the objectives in Venice Beach from 2 (you had to ollie over a homeless man who kept changing places every time you did, hence the "magic bum") but in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 he actually became known as "Ollie, the Magic Bum" as a playable skater and it's stuck with him ever since.
  • Art Evolution: As the series progressed, levels got bigger and fuller of detail. This is best noticed, however, when comparing 2 to 3, whose levels are HUGE in comparison (exploring the Canada level makes it hard to believe that it's only the second stage) and feature an insane amount of architecture and detail (Tokyo and the Xbox-exclusive Oil Rig being the best examples).
  • The Artifact: The PS1/N64 port of THPS3 uses a modified THPS2 engine and as such features parts that were changed in the other versions. It uses prototype maps of a number of levels that were designed for the limitations of the PS1 - when development was moved to PS2, Neversoft changed the level designs whilst Shaba retained the originals. Gameplay elements remaining from THPS2 include a more sensitive balance meter used for grinds and manuals, a landing stat, no ability to pivot in a manual (and landing a revert in one barely works - which is an easy mechanic in the other versions), the "big drop" mechanic (which makes you bail when jumping from a height instead of landing on your feet), and most crucially, the need to build up air to make jumps (which makes, for example, the "Kickflip Over The Elevator Lobby" goal in Los Angeles an actual challenge). Also, the 'Create A Park' mode is identical to the THPS2 version whereas it was remade in the other versions.
  • Artistic License Physics:
    • You can come to a full stop on just about any surface at an angle less than 90 degrees, without ever tumbling over or on your skateboard. And since walking was introduced, you can fall down great heights at top speed and nothing in your body will break (in fact, you won't even take fall damage if you get off your board before you hit the ground). Of course, the aspects are Acceptable Breaks from Reality.
    • Or at least you can break bones (in Project 8 and possibly elsewhere) but this is just another high-score mechanic, with one achievement requiring you to break 15 bones in a single bail.
    • And then, THUG2 comes and gives you Jesse James' motor-powered scooter, which never bails. You read it right. No matter how awkwardly you try to land, you cannot fall off the damn thing. The only way to bail is to purposefully jump into the ocean.
    • Also, at least on the first games, friction was nonexistent. You could grind a pool indefinitely, provided you could keep balance or used cheats.
    • If you try to grind an escalator in real life you will definitely fall off due to the constant movement of the banister. Despite this, you can do it just fine in The Mall, Airport, Kyoto and Las Vegas (to name a few). In Kyoto's case, however, it was at least made quite hard to grind UP the escalator.
    • Kelly Slater's appearance in THPS3 is another notable case, as he rides on a surfboard that works just like a regular skateboard. The board not having wheels is probably the most correct thing about it.
  • Art Shift: In American Wasteland, parts of the cutscenes are rendered in a cartoon style with little to no animation.
  • Ascended Extra: Mike Vallely from Underground onwards. He appeared as a secret character in 4.
  • A Winner Is You: The carrot dangling at the end of the Career Mode stick for players, beyond unlocked cheats and possibly new characters, were video clips of said pro skaters (or compilations of painful bails). The footage eventually compiled from beating the game over and over turned your copy into a mini-skate tape of its own (the move to the DVD format raised this even more with over a half hour of skate footage in 3 and 4). That is, if you were playing a disc-game format. Stuck with the Nintendo cartridge versions on the N64 and handhelds that couldn't hold FMVs? Then your non-cosmetic reward for completing a campaign is a simple congratulatory text — except for the N64 version of THPS3, which just smash cuts to the credits after finishing your final run — and roll credits.
    Nintendo 64 version of THPS1: Your [sic] are the top Pro Skater!
    Nintendo 64 version of THPS2: Now get off your couch and go skate!
    Game Boy Advance version of THPS2: Congratulations, you got the gold! You really are a Pro Skater! Ever consider making games?
  • Benevolent Architecture: If it's a structure and it exists, you can trick off of it.
    • Not to mention the ramps and quarter pipes conveniently scattered around.
  • Big Head Mode: In a few of the games, first found in THPS2
    • HD includes a multiplayer mode where your head will grow the more points your opponent scores. To deflate it, score some points yourself. If it gets too big it pops and the last skater with a head wins. This mode also carries over to 5.
  • Bonus Level of Heaven: Skate Heaven from THPS2.
  • Bottomless Pits: In most PS1 versions, Create-A-Park lets you built this.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: Goldfinger's "Superman" is arguably the song that most people think of when they think of the entirety of the Tony Hawk series. Searching up "tony hawk theme" on YouTube will actually give that song as the first from the list.
    • Unless you're a PC player and started with THPS2. In that case, it's Rage Against The Machine's "Guerrilla Radio", which returns as the intro song for THPS1+2.
  • Bowdlerise: Since the series has been rated T throughout its history, songs having the curse words muted out of them is inevitable, but the 1 + 2 version of "Police Truck" took it to a new level, with the developers doing a cut-and-paste job to tone down the lyrics, making it positively sedate compared to the original (even more so than the version from Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s, which was already infamous enough for this reason). In the first game, the song was largely unaltered (save for the cusses being muted, of course).
    • The Nintendo 64 versions of the first three games were rated E, and had had various censorship changes made. Lost to history is whether the changes were mandated by Nintendo of America or something Activision did of their own volition, but Pro Skater 3 would be released on the Nintendo GameCube with its T rating intact.
  • Brick Joke: In the first level of 2, you can interact with a helicopter, prompting it to take off. In the last level of 2, the same helicopter crashes.
  • Call-Back:
    • "Airport" from THPS3 (also appearing in THUG 2) is a indoor, downhill level with similarities to "The Mall" from the first game. The level even has an endpoint which warps you back to the start (which, if it had been in the first game, would have ended the level). Given that THPS1 had several scrapped downhill levels that were never implemented, it's possible that "Airport" was designed for it and not included. The "Downhill" level from the PS1 version of THPS3 is somewhat inspired by the unused "Downhill" level from the first game (that was edited to just its skatepark as Chicago), though uses assets from the Rio level.
    • The hidden "Chopper Drop" level from THPS2 reuses the "Finish" banner from "Downhill Jam". It isn't known why, since it is mostly a level used for testing assets.
    • THUG 's San Diego level has some reused level design from THPS1 's San Francisco level. In a more subtle nod, the use of highway in THPS3's Los Angeles is a nod to the highway in the beta version of San Francisco (although it looks more like the one in the unused level Freeway).
    • "Suburbia" in THPS3 reuses the ability to skate on the roof of suburban houses from Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX's "La Cabra" level, and in the PS1/N64 version (developed by Shaba Games, who made Pro BMX) even reuses one of its goals, "Grind the satellite dishes" as "Disrespect the dishes".
    • In THPS4, the Sewers level is filled with halfpipes and pools from Skater Island, a level in THPS3.
    • Tony Hawks Underground 2 reuses "Warehouse" from the first game but gives it the name "Training". In the earliest known THPS prototype to feature "Warehouse", the level is listed as "Warehouse - Training Level". Only at a late stage was it decided to give it the same goals as the other levels, which is why they are so easy.
  • Character Aged with the Actor: The returning THPS cast for 1+2 appear as their 2020 middle-aged selves.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The trick names in your combos are colored for what they are: white is a normal trick, blue is a gap, orange is a special trick, and in games where they exist, green is a custom trick.
  • Crazy Homeless People: Ollie the Magic Bum (which is generally what you're required to do when he is on a map).
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: Gaps that can be done in sequence or are part of a set typically have names that reference each other, whether they're written similarly, have shared titles (such as the three "Roll Call!" rails in School II), or form a phrase when put together (such as "It's Not What You Know..." and "It's Who You Know" from Project 8).
  • Does Not Like Shoes:
    • From THPS4, we've got Eddie the zombie; as well as Daisy who, despite sporting high-rise shoes in the skater selection screen, handles the board completely barefoot.
    • Also an option for the created skater in both Underground games.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Fell into lava or molten iron? No problem, just pick up your board and start again somewhere nearby!
  • Divergent Character Evolution:
    • The unfinished Freeway level in the beta version of Tony Hawk's 1 (also present in 2's code) was used as the basis for Construction Site from 2X, with the exception of the highway itself, which was reused in Los Angeles for 3.
    • The beta of Tony Hawk's Underground has a level called Australia which was set near the Sydney Opera House and never quite finished. The idea for an Australia level was carried over to THUG2, though this time it was set in the different location of Bondi Beach and reuses only some of the original's design, though quite simplified. Some of the removed elements from the original Australia were instead used in Barcelona (the pier and marina) and in THUG2Remix's Santa Cruz (the concrete steps behind the buildings).
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The first game had two downhill levels, with level geometry that would prevent you from going backwards at certain points and a finish line that ended your run if you crossed it. When these levels proved unpopular compared to the open levels, the concept would be mostly nixed from the sequels, with the rare downhill levels afterwards being reworked to teleport you back up to the top rather than ending your run (including Mall and Downhill Jam themselves in their reappearance in American Wasteland and Underground 2, respectively, as well as the downhill levels appearing in 1+2).
    • The level Downtown Minneapolis is unusually large and gritty for the era, the reason being that its map was designed for the Bruce Willis game Apocalypse before being repurposed (much of that game was in fact the basis for THPS and the game's engine).
    • There were icons present in the original game that would give you extra points upon collection as well as add to your combo multiplier as if they were an additional trick. These were never seen again after the first game, though they would eventually reappear in the spinoff game, Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX, which uses a modified THPS engine.
    • You can't manual in the first game, which makes forming long combos much harder.
    • Hearing the varied mix of hip hop, punk/hardcore, and rock that one would get from a Tony Hawk game, it's almost odd to know that the first game only had rock songs with one amazing ska punk song in the mix. (Also two breakbeat tracks & a trip hop track, but only if you play the PAL version.)
    • You were glued to the board in the first four games, so reaching high platforms takes skill. In later games, you can usually walk and climb up to them.
    • In the original game, skating "switch" (skating opposite your skater's native stance) doesn't do anything other than attach "Switch" to the tricks you perform. In later games, skating switch incurs a penalty against your skater's performance in exchange for a point bonus for pulling off tricks against the increased difficulty (along with a "Switch" stat that could be maxed out in order to remove the handicap when skating switch while keeping the point bonus). Switch tricks after the first game are also treated as unique compared to their normal counterparts, meaning that switch and normal tricks have separate point degeneration for repetition (performing the same trick in a single run lowers its point value every time it is performed until it hits a minimum value).
    • The first game didn't use cash as a reward for completing objectives. Instead, every objective rewarded you on equal grounds with one tape per bullet point (which also gives explanation to the hidden tapes that became something of The Artifact afterwards).
    • You also can't manually upgrade your skater's stats through collectible rewards; the game automatically boosts a skater's attributes at specific thresholds of tapes collected.
  • Easter Egg:
    • The remake of the first game's The Mall in Tony Hawk's American Wasteland has an extra area above the elevator shafts that you can skate onto, provided you get enough air on the pipes next to the elevators. It has no goals to it, and merely has a few rails and warp points to earlier in the level, though is interesting to fans of the original level. In addition, the start of the level now has a view through the doors of a multistory parking garage very similar to the one featured in Tony Hawk 4's College level.
    • Additionally, if you stand by the elevators which the music turned off, you can hear some elevator jingles.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: In Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, getting a high score while using Kid Mode will get "Poseur" stamped over your skater's picture.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Stages based on real metropolitan areas fall hard into here. For instance, the San Francisco stage in the original game puts the Ferry Building and Chinatown on the same city block, while the Los Angeles stage in 3 crams the Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame, the Sunset Car Wash, and the U.S. Bank Tower in line-of-sight of each other, with Pershing Square right in the middle.
  • Eldritch Location: Skate Heaven. Especially in the PS4 and Xbox One remake, where the whole level appears to be made of TRON-like pixels. You can also see skateboards flying around with halos and wings, and Mount Rushmore floating off in space.
  • Emergency Broadcast: EAS headers, attention signals and End-of-Message tones can be heard near Tube Chalet on Pro Skater 1 + 2's rendition of the Mall level.
  • Exact Words: An unintended consequence of the way tricks work in THUG; many missions require you to do specific tricks, but rather than checking to see if you're actually doing the trick, it checks to see if you've done a trick with that name. Speedruns milk this for all it's worth by making very fast and simple tricks named after tricks that would otherwise take more effort, such as the McTwist, which requires a full Special meter to perform.
    • In the first two games and their remakes, there are goals per level in which you have to perform a certain trick over a certain gap...or so it seems. In actual fact, as long as both gap and trick are part of the same combo it will count towards the goal. This is particularly useful for tricky ones like "Airwalk The Flying Leap" in The Mall or "Nosebluntslide The Awning" in Philadelphia, where if you miss them the first time you still have a second chance.
  • Expy:
    • "Hangar" (from 2) and "Foundry" (from 3) are this of "Warehouse" from the first game, specifically because of that level's popularity. "Airport" in 3 is somewhat one of "The Mall" as well, although it is generally regarded as a much better level.
    • In the related game Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure (which runs on the Tony Hawk 4 engine and has similar goals), there is a level called "Clayton's Ship" which is a reskinned and simplified version of the "Cruise Ship" level from Tony Hawk's 3. Also, the level "Little Big World" from the PS1 version of Tony Hawk 4 was incorporated into the "Pizza Planet" level in this game, although it was possibly designed for the Disney game to start with and included in 4 as a preview (since its apparently huge kitchen makes more sense in the context of Toy Story).
  • Fake Longevity:
    • To unlock anything worthwhile beyond a couple of videos and a credits sequence in THPS2, you need to complete every goal and get every cash icon on every level. To finally unlock everything, including two secret levels, you need to do that with every single character (and there are 16 of them), each time starting from scratch.
    • The PS1 version of Tony Hawks' 4 takes this to ludicrous extremes - rather than the typical 3 high scores there are now 7, each level has two goals you have to get with specific pros, and to unlock the only hidden level, Little Big World, you must complete all 100 goals.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Tony Hawk's Underground (THUG) and Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (except there's no ice, so the acronym doesn't really apply anywhere).
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Exclusive to the Korean PC version of THPS2: it's impossible to complete the game entirely using the Korea-exclusive FIN.K.L members, as obtaining a gold medal in the final event with any of the four causes the game to crash.
  • Gangbangers: Proving Ground has the Crazy Two One, a group of thugs who decided that the FDR (a public skatepark) was theirs, and theirs alone. They're led by Cam (who can be distinguished from the rank and file with his bandana and knuckle duster) and they're the primary antagonists in Dustin Dollin's episode of the Hardcore path.
  • Ghost Town: In the PS1 / N64 games, no matter how big the level was, they were entirely unpopulated. Minneapolis and San Francisco in THPS1 and New York and Philly in THPS2 particularly stick out. Only when the games hit the sixth generation, developers got enough processing power to add pedestrians (and a bit more of realism).
    • Tony Hawk's 4 on the PS1 is a particularly noticeable example of this. The PS2 version had you given goals by characters, who, though not fantastically animated, did give the levels a sense of life. Due to the lack of power of the PS 1, all your goals in that game are simply given by pressing the X button on icons scattered around the level.
    • HD brings them back to return the old school feel. Even the Los Angeles and the Airport levels from THPS3, which had pedestrians in the original (and when they reappeared in Underground 2 as well), are now deserted. The only other soul in the Airport with you is the guy driving that caddy car thing. 1+2 also lacks pedestrians in its levels, given that the game takes place during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Hitting all of the humorously-named gaps.
  • Guest Fighter: A lot. From Activision (the Neversoft eyeball, Doomguynote , a random soldier from Call of Duty, Guitar Hero characters), licensed by Activision (Spider-Man, Wolverine, Iron Man, Shrek) or just for fun (Darth Maul, Jango Fett, Benjamin Franklin, Jason Leenote , etc.).
    • Bam Margera also appears as a recurring skater throughout the series, with side missions unique to him, like riding shopping carts.
    • Gene Simmons is also playable in Underground, which even features a KISS level, where the band will play after collecting the K-I-S-S letters scattered around the level. Yes, Peter's drum set does the floating thing. And you can play as Gene Simmons in the KISS level and have KISS play, resulting in there being two Gene Simmons. The other three members are also available as pedestrian skaters (i.e. skaters who use the skins of NPCs with only the basic skateboarding animations, and no unique special tricks).
    • Speaking of musicians, THPSHD has James Hetfield and Rob Trujillo as DLC characters.
    • Iron Maiden's mascot Eddie the Head also makes an appearance in 4 as a guest character.
    • THPS5 features Graham and Lil Wayne, as well as Tyler, the Creator and the IDW Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as DLC.
    • In what was probably the only case of a region-exclusive guest (or guests, rather), the Korean version of THPS2's PC port featured the members of K-Pop group FIN.K.L as playable characters, with each member using the movesets of some of the default skaters.
    • THPS1+2 is an interesting case in that its sole guest character is Jack Black as recurring character Officer Dick.
  • Guide Dang It!: Good luck finding all of the 100+ gaps per game on your own. While many of them can be found in the course of normal gameplay and a few of the more obscure ones at least have names that provide a vague hint as to where to find them, the rest are entirely up to trial and error until you finally break down and pull up a walkthrough.
  • Hollywood Atlas: Many of the levels outside the USA have traits riffed from it (thankfully without ditching the general urban setting):
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: In both Project 8 and Proving Ground, each goal has three increasing levels of difficulty for completion; AM (the easiest), PRO (the moderate) and SICK (the most challenging).
  • Impossible Theft: In THAW, when meeting the Z-Boys, the skater gets his clothes (save for his trousers) taken from him due to a "no shirt, no shoes" rule made by the Z-Boys, despite the fact that he was standing right in front of them when they did nothing.
  • Irony: In the Underground games, Ben Diskin lends his voice to Eric Sparrow. In Proving Ground, he voices the Player Character.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: One of the PA announcements in the "Cruise Ship" level of THPS3 has the Captain threatening one of the overworked deckhands to either keep bailing water or have his neck personally broken by the Captain, only for the deckhand to inform the Captain that the PA microphone is still on.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Eric Sparrow. Just when you think he'll turn around for you and set things right, he'll ditch or defame you for his career.
  • Large Ham:
    • Bam Margera in every game where he has a speaking role.
    • Rick Thorne in American Wasteland out-hams every other character in the game, including Bam.
  • Le Parkour: Introduced in THAW as a means of starting or continuing a combo while off-board, but also gave access to a small Double Jump and allowed the player to reach certain areas by climbing up and around walls.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Park Editor in older games lets you build this from a small pool of lava into a full volcano level.
  • Macro Zone: The special stage in the PS1 version of THPS4, Little Big World, is a gigantic cupboard.
  • Market-Based Title: The original game was called "Tony Hawk's Skateboarding" in Europe due to the belief that "skater" would infer ice skating, not skateboarding, in European parlance. This has been mocked in the years since.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Not only with the franchises the guest skaters are from, but also with the Spin-Off game Matt Hoffman's Pro BMX, as a couple levels from it make appearances.
  • Mayincatec: The temple section of Pro Skater from THUG2.
  • Midair Motion Shot: Shown in almost all the box art for the series, like the image above, and provides the page image.
  • Moving Buildings: This trailer for Tony Hawk: SHRED has someone playing the game on the skateboard peripheral... and the whole house starts moving and jumping off of ramps as he plays, ending it with the house crushing Tony Hawk's car.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Bam Margera is sorted under "More Skaters" rather than "Pro Skaters" in the PS1 version of 4.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: One area in the "Carnival" level of THPS 4 has an alligator which appears out of a swamp and follows the player character if the player enters said area. The croc will eat the player character if they get too close.
  • No One Should Survive That!: Some of the bails are too ridiculous to be believed.
    • Starting with the seventh-gen games (Project 8 onward), the games seem to imply that you have infinite lives, what with them fading to white every time you bail (and, starting with Proving Ground, also using Ragdoll Physics).
    • This is the logical conclusion anyone can make when they manage to land (and in some cases CONTINUE) their combo by landing on their feet instead of their board from who knows how high up.
  • Nostalgia Level: The PC version of 2, 2X, 3, Underground, Underground 2, and American Wasteland all include levels from previous installments. 4 doesn't have any classic levels but instead brings over a level from Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2. HD is comprised entirely of Nostalgia Levels and 1+2 is like an expanded HD with new gameplay as well.
    • Sometimes, while entire levels do not make a reappearance, certain objects will return for keen-eyed players (for instance, The Triangle in Underground 2 contains the Animal Chin ramp from Skate Heaven in 2 and the pirate ship from Skater Island in 3).
    • For Xbox players, the Oil Rig in American Wasteland was this, as that was an exclusive extra level in the Xbox version of 3. It was even integrated into the story, as it's accessible through an undersea tunnel in Santa Monica and that's where you find Mega, the foreman who will help you dig up the Snake Run in the Skate Ranch.
    • American Wasteland also incorporates the Las Vegas level from THUG2 Remix into its Story Mode as the East LA Casino, and as such the level features several changes to accomodate its role in the plot.
    • Besides the THPS2 levels you can unlock via finding icons in the Story Mode of Tony Hawk's Underground, the Tampa stage also includes a skate park that was originally the entirety of the level of the same name from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2X.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The Foundry level in THPS3. You'd think they'd at least have rules about people skating in the premises while trying to knock a bucket into a molten iron vat.
  • Once an Episode: The first 3 games each have a level set at night - "Downtown Minneapolis", "New York" and "Tokyo" respectively. The PS1/N64 version of "Airport" in 3 is also set at night, and the version of "Kona" seen in the PS1 version of THPS4 is set at twilight (daytime in the other versions).
  • Planet Heck: The Hell section of Pro Skater from THUG2.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: The subway tokens in the New York level in THPS2. They, well, let you access the subway.
  • Production Throwback: One of the graffiti featured in THPS 1+2 is of King Chicken spray-painting "Will P", representing the Beenox staffer, William P., that did time trial times for their previous project.
  • Recurring Location: The Warehouse from the first game reappears a lot throughout the series. THUG2 even adds an extra area to it.
  • Revisiting the Roots: THPSHD attempted a return to the gameplay of the classic games, but featured a completely altered movement and physics system, and was met with a mixed reaction. THPS 1+2, a ground-up remake of the first two games with completely new content, was much more successful, with developer Vicarious Visions praised for its near-perfect recreation of the original game's much-touted physics and control. It is worth noting though that both games have had instances of mechanics from future games being implemented; downloading the DLC to import levels from 3 in the former granted the player the ability to revert, while 1+2 added in even more mechanics, like spine transferring from 4 and even acid drops from the Underground games. 1+2 also has options to return the gameplay style to directly emulate either 1 or 2 if need be.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: THPS1+2 of all things became possibly the first major game to fully acknowledge the COVID-19 Pandemic: the giant screen in the School now shows messages from staff alluding to learning at home, Downtown's screen plays COVID PSA's, and there's even a facemask accessory. This also helps to explain the absence of NPCs when hardware limitations are no longer a concern.
  • Scenery Gorn: THPS1+2's take on the first game's Mall level, full stop. Whereas the original version of the level took place in an ordinary, nondescript shopping mall (as did the version in American Wasteland), the remake sees this very same mall after what appears to be several years of permanent closure. The once-clean mall is now dark and dreary, visibly falling apart, and sports graffiti on virtually every possible surface. The craziest part is that those who have seen pictures of real-life abandoned shopping malls will know that the game's depiction isn't all that far off the mark.
  • Scoring Points: The purpose of tricks. Career mode assigns scores you need to beat to accomplish some objectives and Single Session lets you skate a two-minute run to rack up as many points as you can.
  • Serial Escalation: In terms of tricks and combos you can execute. First game is relatively grounded, if a bit unrealistic with its impossibly long grind tricks. By the time of THUG2, majority of objectives require you to defy all the possible laws of physics.
  • Setting Update: Pro Skater 1 + 2 sets the game during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, neatly explaining the absence of pedestrians on more powerful hardware.
  • Shout-Out: The top-right corner message during the "get the welders their lunch" mission in the shipyard of THPS4 is "Welders need food badly".
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Compared to the level in the first game, the San Francisco level in THPS4 is a very accurate depiction of the once famed skate spot of the 90s and 00s around the Ferry Building. The scaled down but accurate depiction of Alcatraz that serves as another level in the game is particularly notable.
    • In general, all the games up to THAW have a massive amount of iconic skate spots recreated in digital form, as well as various obscure tricks that don't really add anything to the game (like pressure flips and primo slides), yet just exist there to be doable.
  • Skate Heaven Is a Place on Earth: The Trope Maker.
  • The Smurfette Principle:
    • Elissa Steamer, the lone female pro skater up until Underground, not counting created or unlockable fantasy characters. A very positive example, as her inclusion is widely credited for the increased popularity and acceptance of female skateboarders after the release of the original game, including inspiring some of the younger skaters who, as pros, appeared in 1+2.
    • Underground 1 and 2 have no playable female pedestrians, playing the trope straighter; but continues to allow female created characters.
    • Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX, a spinoff which uses a modified THPS engine, initially features no female characters. Granny can be unlocked after retrying a level ten times, but this character is a man dressed up as a grandma.
  • Space Zone:
    • The mothership section of Pro Skater from THUG2.
    • Skate Heaven from THPS2.
  • Spelling Bonus: Several games have missions where you have to collect the floating letters of S-K-A-T-E and C-O-M-B-O on a time limit. The former can be collected normally, but the latter, as the name implies, all need to be snagged in the same combo.
  • Spikes of Doom: Park Editor lets you build this and in some premade parks, to the point that skaters will comment who built that or don't build this at home when they ran into spikes.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Since this is not a swimming game, falling in any body of water deep enough results in an automatic wipeout and warps you to dry land, with the game usually mocking you via text.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2X on Xbox and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD on HD platforms (although that wasn't a rerelease but a totally new game).
  • To Be a Master: The plot, of sorts, for Underground, Project 8 and Proving Ground, where you create a custom skater and try to build your reputation so that you become famous enough to be recognized and sponsored by a pro skating company.
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: In the Canada level of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, there is an objective to help a guy called Chuck (specifically, "Get Chuck Unstuck") who has got his tongue stuck on a pole and is being taunted and having snowballs thrown at him by two bullies. This being a skateboarding game, what's the solution? Grind onto his tongue, or slam into the guy. Turns into a Funny Background Event when he spends the rest of the game running around the level screaming in pain.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2X is the Xbox port of 2, which not only includes the base game but every level from the original as well as five exclusive levels and a specialized career mode for each set of stages (the THPS1 levels being given their original career mode intact, essentially letting you play the original game in the sequel, which is unfortunately too easy due to the advancements made in 2). For the most part the exclusive levels from 2X have never been seen again with the exception of the Tampa stage, which is wholly contained inside a larger level in Tony Hawk's Underground.
    • Underground 2 was ported to the PlayStation Portable as Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix and includes four extra stages: Santa Cruz, Atlanta, Kyoto, and Las Vegas). These four stages would reappear in American Wasteland (although Atlanta is only available to players playing the "Collector's Edition" of the game, which was a US PS2 exclusive, while Las Vegas is incorporated into the Story Mode as the East LA Casino).
    • THUG PRO can be considered as one, since it is a Game Mod of Underground 2 which, among other features and additions, contains almost every level from the first seven games in the series as well as a handul of levels from other Tony Hawk games.
  • Version-Exclusive Content:
    • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2X for the Xbox features the exclusive "Construction Site", "Club" and "Skylines". In addition it has two other extra levels - "Tampa" (partly recycled into Skater Island in 3 and used as-is in Tony Hawk's Underground), and "Subway" . The game additionally includes all the levels from the first game (the PC version of 2 contains three levels from the original game but 2X contains every level).
    • The Nintendo 64 version of 2 swaps out "Chopper Drop" with the Hoffman Bike Headquarters level from Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX.
    • 3 was delayed on the Xbox initially and to make up for it, includes an extra stage called "Oil Rig" (this stage would later show up in all versions of American Wasteland).
    • The GBC version of Tony Hawk's 3 features the "Paris" level which was intended for all versions but otherwise never completed.
    • In the PS1 version of "Tony Hawk's 4", the last main level is the exclusive "Sewers", whereas in the other versions, it is "Chicago" (which does not appear on the PS1 version - especially considering it was ripped wholesale from Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2). In addition, it has an exclusive Micro Machines-esque hidden level "Little Big World" instead of "Zoo" and "Carnival" featured in other versions.
    • THUG 2 Remix for the PSP features four new levels that aren't present in the other versions of Underground 2, those levels being Santa Cruz, Atlanta, Kyoto, and Las Vegas. All of these levels are included in all versions of American Wasteland (sans Atlanta which is exclusive to the NTSC PS2 Collector's Edition of the game).
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Besides knocking down pedestrians, you can throw projectiles at them, (THUG2), or hit them with your board (THAW).
    • Exclusive to Proving Ground, you can use the Skate Check ability to send pedestrians flying across the screen.
  • Wall Jump: Called Wall Plants in the series, but the mechanic is the same.
    • From Tony Hawk's Underground 2 onwards, you are able to sticker slap, which involves bouncing off a wall. If two walls stand opposite each other with a rail standing between them, it is possible to keep a combo going for infinitely. This is easily the best move the game ever introduced, but understandably annoyed some gamers who felt it made the game too easy.
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • Pretty much every game in the series chews you out in one of many ways whenever you leave the playing area, from saying that you suck, to calling you a loser, to accusing you of doing drugs.
    • Since the third game, if you ever run into other people too much or even once, they'll push you down and make you wipe out.
    • The general rule is not to ram security guards or attractive women, or they'll knock you on your ass.
  • Wheelchair Antics: Paulie 'Wheels of Fury' Ryan, an wheelchair-bound NPC from Tony Hawk's Underground 2, indulges in this.
  • Where It All Began: The final level of Underground has the player returning to their hometown in New Jersey.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: A rather egregious example occurs in American Wasteland. You could grind on telephone poles as much as you pleased, but you still had to talk to an NPC before you were allowed to manual.
  • Your Head A-Splode: What happens if you fail Big Head Mode in HD and 5. Your head keeps growing and the only way to shrink it is by making combos.

"...pretending I'm a Superman."

Alternative Title(s): Tony Hawk Pro Skater