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aka: Tony Hawk Pro Skater

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The Tony Hawk series was 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.

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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 was shut down after the commercial failure of Proving Ground, and promptly merged into Infinity Ward.

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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.
  • 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, hard to maintain balance 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 play 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, as the license ended on the day it came out, and both parties elected not to renew it.

Spinoffs

  • Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX (2001), Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 (2002), Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarding (2001), and Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer (2002): Other Activision published games that apply the Pro Skater formula to other extreme sports. 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 cell 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 Skate Jam (2018): The first Tony Hawk game to not be published by Activision, Skate Jam is a mobile game based on the franchise, which is the mobile game Skateboard Party with Tony Hawk added to it. It's currently on iOS, with an Android version releasing in January.


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.
  • Adaptation Decay: Whilst the "Suburbia" level was halloween themed in the PS2 version of THPS3, the PS1 version removes all of these references except for the haunted house...which is fenced off and you can't enter in this version.
  • After the End: The "Ruins" level in THAW, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a destroyed, post-apocalyptic Los Angeles.
  • 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).
  • 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 bannister. 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.
  • 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.
  • Bonus Level of Heaven: Skate Heaven from THPS2.
  • 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.
  • Call-Back: "Airport" from THPS3 (also 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 THPS 3 reuses the ability to skate on the roof of suburban houses from Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX's "La Cabra" level, and in the PS 1/n64 version (developed by Shaba Games who made Mat Hoffman) 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.
  • Crazy Homeless People: Ollie the Magic Bum (which is generally what you're required to do when he is on a map)
  • 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 Hawks 1 (also present in 2's code) was used as the basis for Construction Site from Tony Hawks 2X, with the exception of the highway itself, which was reused in Los Angeles for Tony Hawks 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 THUG 2, 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 THUG 2 Remix's Santa Cruz (the concrete steps behind buildings).
  • Dummied Out: The first game's beta featured levels called Downhill, Freeway, Classic Concrete and Suburbia which were changed or removed in the final release. Downhill was removed because of its length, in addition to resembling a level from Sega's arcade Top Skater. The last section, a large warehouse with a pool in it, was implemented into the Chicago level in the final game. Freeway was removed because it wasn't finished. Classic Concrete was a physics test with various types of terrain in it. Suburbia was an early version of the San Francisco level that was heavily changed in the final version. Freeway can be accessed via hacking in the PC version of Tony Hawk's 2 (which also features the levels from Tony Hawk's 1). In the beta of the first game, Freeway has a bus appear out of nowhere and fly off into the air. The version hidden in the PC version of Tony Hawk's 2 has the differently colored bus from that game's Philadelphia level instead. Levels called Suburbia and Downhill appear in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, but they don't bear any resemblance to the originals (although Downhill does have a skate park at the bottom of the hill, like the original).
    • The PC port of 2 also has every other level from 1 stored in the game files, not just the three normally playable. You can play these simply by swapping the names of some of the files in the executable but trying to play San Fran will crash the game.
    • Tony Hawk's 3 has the Paris level, also known as Rooftops. It was never finished, and was seen in prototype shots featured in magazines before the game came out. It can be found with many of the graphics missing via hacking in the final game. The GBA version of the game features the Paris level, however. The level Skater's Island was originally named Rhode Island before the game came out as well.
    • Tony Hawk's Underground originally had Slam City Jam as a free roaming part you could skate in and out of from the Vancouver level, but technology was not quite up to this, so they mostly closed off the exits, with the graphics for the areas visible through the doors. However, it is possible to get into a placeholder version of the level via skating in the stands of a certain entrance and glitching through the floor. The ramp visible here is textured and thus skateable, although the cars are 2 dimensional. You can skate back in as well, though not back out.
      • Tony Hawk's Underground has Dummied Out remakes of School 1, Downhill Jam from THPS and Philadelphia from THPS 2 that were near-complete and accessible via Game Shark. They were saved for THUG 2 instead.
  • 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, they were nixed from the sequels.
    • 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.
    • 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 rap, reggae, 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 song in the mix.
    • 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).
  • 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 multistorey car park very similar to the one featured in the Tony Hawk 4's College Level.
  • 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.
  • 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 tricks named after tricks that would otherwise take more effort, one example being the McTwist, which would otherwise require a full Special meter to perform.
  • 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 PS 1 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).
  • Fun with Acronyms: Tony Hawk's Underground (THUG) and Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (except, in the latter case, the acronym doesn't really apply anywhere).
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • There's a sign in the Hawaii level in Underground that says "Yummy Weiners" and has a boy with a peculiar-looking hot dog in his mouth.
    • There's a porn movie theater in the Los Angeles level of the third game (recreated in Underground 2). Some of the gaps that involve it outright refer to the place as an "XXX".
    • One gap in the Marseille level of the second game is called Knucklin' Futs.
  • 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).
    • 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.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Hitting all of the humorously-named gaps.
  • Guest Skater: A lot. From Activision (the Neversoft eyeball, Doomguy, a random soldier from Call of Duty, Guitar Hero characters), licensed by Activision (Spider-Man, Wolverine, Shrek) or just for fun (Darth Maul, Benjamin Franklin, Iron Man, Jason Lee, etc.).
    • Jason Lee is a double bonus guest since he used to be a pro skateboarder before Hollywood.
    • Bam Margera also appears, 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.
    • THPS5 features Graham and Lil Wayne, as well as Tyler, the Creator and the IDW 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.
  • Hollywood Atlas: Many of the levels outside the USA have traits riffed from it (thankfully without ditching the general urban setting):
    • Britain is Only London: London in THPS4.
    • Canada, Eh?: Canada in THPS3 (Great North Woods variety) THUG has a stage in Vancouver, but it's not really under the effect of the trope (unless you count the hockey rink).
    • Glorious Mother Russia: Moscow in THUG.
    • Land Down Under: Australia in THUG2 (specifically, Bondi Beach in Sydney).
    • Oktoberfest: Berlin in THUG2.
    • Spexico: The Bullring in THPS2 is stated to be in Mexico.
    • Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo: Tokyo in THPS3, which looks a lot like an Amazing Technicolor Battlefield (with the added flavor of the game having "Pulse", by Japanese noise-rock band Mad Capsule Markets, in the soundtrack). Subverted with Kyoto in THUG2 Remix/THAW because it favors the urban look instead of the traditional side of the city (but then again, THUG2 Remix does have an Franchise/Ultraman ripoff fighting a generic Kaiju...).
    • Toros y Flamenco: Barcelona in THUG2.
  • 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 staring 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.
  • Macro Zone: The special stage in the PS1 version of THPS4, Little Big World, is a gigantic cupboard.
  • Market-Based Title: The original game is 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.
  • 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).
  • 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. Plus all levels in HD.
    • 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.
    • Besides the THPS2 levels you can unlock via finding icons in 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.
  • Obvious Beta: Sadly, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 is widely seen as this rather than the return to form it was supposed to be. Lots of problems with collision and physics lead to a very frustrating experience (the new "stomp" feature is also wonky when compared to previous games).
  • Out of Order: The PS 1/n64 version of "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3" switches the positions of Canada (level 2) and Los Angeles (level 7) compared to all other versions. This is likely due to the fact that Canada was substantially redesigned and has harder goals, whereas Los Angeles is roughly the same.
  • 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.
  • Promoted to Playable: Mike Valley from Underground onwards. He appeared as a secret character in 4.
  • Recurring Location: The Warehouse from the first game reappears a lot throughout the series. THUG2 even adds an extra area to it.
  • 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.
  • 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 is just icing.
    • 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: Trope Maker.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Elissa Steamer, the lone female pro skater up until Underground, not counting created characters (and even then, 2 cannot create female characters, although 2X can). Averted by unlocking certain characters (Private Carrera in the first three games, replaced by Trixie on Dreamcast version of 2 and 2X, Demoness in 3, and Daisy in 4). Underground has no 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.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Since this is not a swimming game, falling in any body of water deep enough results in an automatic wipeout.
  • 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 time 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.
    • 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 the versions of American Wasteland).
    • Underground 2 was ported to the PlayStation Portable as Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix and includes four extra stages. These four stages would reappear in American Wasteland as well (although Atlanta is only available to players playing the "Collector's Edition" of the game, which was a US PS2 exclusive).
  • Version Exclusive Content:
    • Tony Hawks 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" (a level from Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2). The game additionally includes all the levels from the first game, although the PC version did this too.
    • 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 PS 1 version). In addition, it has an exclusive Micro Machines-esque hidden level "Little Big World" instead of "Zoo" and "Carnival" featured in other versions.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Besides knocking down pedestrians, you can throw projectiles at them, (THUG2), or hit them with your board (THAW).
  • 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 decided 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 NPC from Tony Hawk Underground 2, indulges in this.
  • Where It All Began: The final objective of Underground.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: 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.

Alternative Title(s): Tony Hawk Pro Skater

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