For as long as there have been video games based on sports, there have been games that are based on a famous athlete. From Roger Clemens MVP Baseball to the popular Madden series that still lives on today. But when it comes to skateboarding, there is only one name that graces the cover of video games. Tony Hawk.
From the mid-90s and going forward, Tony Hawk is responsible for many people developing an interest in skateboarding that may not have otherwise. In Junior High School, I experimented with skating but decided to stick to the games.
When it comes to the games, there have been so many over the last 21 years. Some were great games that are still fun to play today and some that are better left forgotten by everyone.
We are going to cover them ALL! And tell you what we think so you know which ones are worth revisiting and which ones aren’t. This is
Every Tony Hawk Game Ranked From Worst To Best
Tony Hawk’s Motion
Surprise! There is a game out there worse than Ride.
The Wii hit it big with motion controls so it’s not hard to see why any game with motion controls could work. Creat Studios decided to make a Tony Hawk game where you move your Nintendo DS around. Unfortunately, the transition from idea to execution did not go as planned.
With all the work going into motion controls, very little time was spent on all the other aspects of the game. While motion gaming can be fun with proper implementation, there needs to be more than motion controls to interest the player.
Tony Hawk’s Ride
Some people point to this game as when the Tony Hawk series started its downfall. Ride featured a skateboard peripheral to control your character on the screen instead of a normal controller. This game was another example of a good idea failing in execution.
The board looked “real” enough and early videos of people using it actually looked cool. As much slack as they got for this mess, you can’t blame them for trying. If they pulled it off it would have been revolutionary.
They did not pull it off… The game itself was not great, and just like Tony Hawk’s Motion, this game didn’t have much to offer besides the unique controls. While the skateboard controller may have been new, it didn’t work as expected.
Poor controls over top of a hollow game. No.
Tony Hawk’s American Sk8land
American Wasteland was a great game. American Sk8land, its handheld counterpart was not. American Sk8land was only available on the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS.
Tony Hawk needs help opening skate parks all over California. While there are some fun aspects like unlocking new boards and creating your graffiti, control changes made the tricks in the game easier to pull off than in earlier entries.
Already mediocre gameplay on a handheld system and this one was looked over by many. Perhaps for the greater good.
Tony Hawk’s Skate Jam
Tony Hawk had games released on many different platforms this was an attempt at mobile, available on iOS and Android only. Maple Media has been working on skateboarding games and they have taken inspiration from the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series before.
Even though the controls aren’t flawless, this game is a reminder of why everyone fell in love with the Tony Hawk series. Since this game is a mobile game, you can also play this game anywhere you want to, which is another advantage.
Tony Hawk’s Shred
Did you wish Tony Hawk’s Ride had some snowboarding levels? That, in a nutshell, was Tony Hawk’s Shred. No, the game was not all snowboarding but it used the same peripheral that Tony Hawk’s Ride used but it worked better on the snowboard levels in the game.
Unfortunately, the developers were still betting on the peripheral used in this game to be the selling point. That did not work.
Shred ended up being just as much of a failure as the other attempts to bring motion controls into the mix.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5
If you are a Tony Hawk fan, this may be the worst thing that ever happened in the skating franchise. While we can not give it the honor of the worst game, we can give it the honor of biggest disappointment.
This was the final game made by Robomodo which was the developer for the two previous games. Fans were told that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 would be like the games in the series that people loved.
This would be the final Tony Hawk game before Activision’s rights to Tony Hawk ran out at the end of the year in 2015. People were expecting a story mode and other gameplay modes which never ended up in the game.
The graphics failed to impress. The combo system and the layout of the levels look like they were developed while the developers were being told: “Time is money.”
What is worse is the only content available without the day one patch was the tutorial and park editor.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD
Three of the Tony Hawk games made by Robomodo were not good. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD was the exception. This game was a combination of current-gen graphics but it retained the gameplay of older games.
Sadly it was widely overlooked. If you have a Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 and you want a Tony Hawk game that plays like the original Tony Hawks then this is the game for you. If you could find it.
This game was only released digitally, and while I was able to find it on some platforms, it may eventually disappear for good.
Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam
Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland did not bring about the results that Activision was expecting. That’s why Tony Hawk was brought to the Wii with help from “Toys For Bob.” The game is called Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam where skateboarders are racing downhill.
Some people may think that Activision should have stuck to basics instead of trying something new but the game isn’t as bad as it sounds. The graphics are vibrant and the controls are not hard to get used to.
The feeling is different from what you would expect from a Tony Hawk game. Also, it seems Tony Hawk was competing with snowboarding games with this title which was a different direction from the originals.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2X
This game includes the first two Tony Hawk games but they have graphics you would expect on the Xbox. As a bonus, there were additional levels included that didn’t appear in the original games.
Definitely not the most memorable entry in the franchise.
The objectives you have to complete in the are not as challenging as they originally were but that should not deter anyone from trying out this game if they have an original Xbox.
Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground
This was the final Tony Hawk game created by Neversoft and they claimed that it had the largest levels in a Tony Hawk game. The career mode has you choose what type of skater you are with each type focusing on different skills.
In this game, the levels are spread out and even includes levels that were from some previous titles. It’s a game worth checking out if you enjoyed other games in the series.
Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland
Every sequel is supposed to add something to the previous games but Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland didn’t have anything you couldn’t get in Tony Hawk’s Underground 2.
The only addition was that you could ride bikes in this game, which is cool, but who buys Tony Hawk game to ride bikes?
Tony Hawk’s Project 8
Tony Hawk’s Project 8 came out about a year before Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground. This game was rebuilt from the ground up which helped give new life to the Tony Hawk franchise.
One new addition to the game was when you had to move the analog sticks to complete a trick in the air.
By this point, Tony Hawk fans had been disappointed one too many times and they weren’t willing to take a chance with this one even though it’s not a bad game.
Tony Hawk’s Underground 2
With the huge success of the first Tony Hawk Underground, the inevitable sequel was a no-brainer. The plan was to include more ideas and fix what little didn’t work. One new addition was being able to do tricks in slow motion if your special meter was full to make tricks much easier to pull off.
The story of the game is that you and other famous skateboarders have been taken to participate in the World Destruction Tour. Tony Hawk and Bam Margera are making teams and you end up on team Hawk. From there, the objective was to get the highest score possible in each level.
While feels a bit more thrown together than the original, THUG 2 was a solid entry in the skating franchise.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
The very first game of the franchise. This was not the first skateboarding game on video game consoles but no other skateboarding game had the effect that THPS did.
The game had you collect tapes or letters and try to reach high scores by doing skateboarding tricks.
People loved the first game. It had a formula for fun with each following game building upon the groundwork it laid. It is one of those games that can be enjoyed regardless of what decade you grew up in.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4
Most Tony Hawk games before 4 gave you a time limit and you tried to complete as many of the objectives as you could in the time limit.
THPS 4 would let you talk to people to start missions which would then trigger a specific objective.
Another introduction to the series that started in this game was freestyle tricks. You could add flips or other moves to tricks you were performing to help increase your score.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
The second game proved that Tony Hawk’s first game was not a one-hit-wonder. Professional Reviewers have only given one game higher scores than Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. That was the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on Nintendo 64.
In this game, you can unlock a ton of skaters including Spider-Man.
This game also added new ways to link combos, making it possible to go from one end of a level to another on a single combo to get many points.
Tony Hawk’s Underground
The story of this game is that you are trying to become a professional skateboarder. It has a stronger focus on the story and the story is fun. This is the first game that lets you get off your skateboard and run around, even incorporating it into tricks.
Performing tricks have another benefit besides increasing your score. When you do tricks a certain number of times, your abilities will increase. This is better than purchasing abilities with points or finding ability upgrades around the levels.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
After two successful games, Tony Hawk moved on to next-gen systems (next-gen at the time). The first two games would end your combo when you landed on the ground.
This game would allow the player to continue their combo with a revert move that was not present in the previous games.
Many people could argue that THPS2 should be higher than 3. But part 3 continued to innovate and build on everything of the first 2 games
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
These are the first two Tony Hawk games remade and care was shown with these remakes. If there was something you loved from the early days of Tony Hawk then it can be found here and amplified.
There is something about playing it that just feels right. The tight mechanics, thoughtful map design, familiar characters, tons of boards, new customizations, and addictive soundtrack. This is everything Tony Hawk was meant to be.
It doesn’t matter if you play this game at home or on the go (with a Switch) because the presentation of the game is still top-notch either way.
It was a welcome surprise to fans of the serious after the failed THPS5. And hopefully lays the process for the future generation of the game.
And if you are a real fan you can even get it with the limited edition Tony Hawk Deck.
With so many games in the Tony Hawk franchise, it is interesting to see that they have just as many failures as they do successes, yet still manage to plow on. I had just as much difficulty picking the worst as I did the best. Was your list the same as mine? What is your favorite Tony Hawk game of all time?