The Tony Hawk Pro Skater franchise is one of the most iconic game franchises of all time. The Verge’s piece on the game’s impact on modern culture highlights how the game not only turned Tony Hawk into a household name but redefined skateboarding altogether.
It’s hard to pinpoint why the game became so popular in the first place, as many factors could have led to its success. Whether it be its wacky approach to skateboarding or its highly intuitive game mechanics that let people live out their fantasies of becoming a pro skater sans the risk of head trauma, there are truly a lot of things to love about this franchise.
While the reasons for the franchise’s success are still up for debate, at least one thing is clear: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater Series has one of the best video game soundtracks in the history of gaming. If you find this contentious or if you want to know what makes the soundtrack so great, then this article is for you. Read on for a list of reasons why Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater Series‘ soundtrack is one of the best of all time.
Redefined Gaming Soundtracks
Music and games pretty much go hand in hand. However, game soundtracks prior to Tony Hawk Pro Skater were (for the most part) lyric-less tunes and beats that were used to set the mood for the gameplay or narrative. Role-playing games were the main culprit for this, as most of their droney and synthy soundtracks sound like they came straight out of a Yamaha DX7. One look at Digital Trends’ list of best game soundtracks and you’ll understand what we mean by this, as most of the games on their list feature ambient tunes that are mostly relegated to the background. However, this isn’t’ the case with the soundtrack for Tony Hawk Pro Skater. The game is a skating simulator in every sense of the word. The soundtrack reflects skating culture and is part of the game’s “story” and setting just as much as the actual skating.
Made Skater Culture Accessible
Bringing skater culture into homes is another significant factor for the game and the soundtrack’s success. Now, this didn’t happen through sheer luck as the team behind the game put in hours upon hours of work to make this happen. The developers of the first game made sure that the game was a good representation of skater culture through every minute detail.
This not only meant getting the trick animations right but also making sure that the soundtrack was reflective of the culture. “Bring the Noise” is a great example of this, as it takes cues from both rap and rock music. Indeed, Anthrax’s roaring punchy riffs and lead guitarist Scott Ian’s very own MXR Custom Audio Electronics Boost/Overdrive alongside Public Enemy’s rapping pretty much captured the high octane thrills and free spirit of the skating community. It is aspects like this that contribute to the game’s overall popularity and success. Many players of the original game likely have memories of nailing a big trick for the first time as “Bring the Noise” echoed in the background.
Lastly, nostalgia plays a pretty big role when it comes to the soundtrack’s legendary status. In fact, the soundtrack’s success has even spilled over to the bands and artists featured in the game as well. Loudwire reported that Goldfinger enjoyed quite a boost in their career because their song “Superman” became iconic thanks to it being featured in the first game of the franchise. And this is pretty much how everyone feels about the soundtrack as a whole.
At the end of the day, the songs featured on the soundtrack are more than just songs. They remind players of childhood memories when they got to enjoy the game for the very first time.
If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also be interested in our piece on the resurgence of old games via remakes wherein we discuss the new Tony Hawk game along with many others!
Header image credit: Stig Nygaard under CC BY 2.0