Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Review

It’s been thirteen years since Tony Hawk and his Birdhouse board graced my PlayStation. It’s also been thirteen years since I pulled my first Ollie, landed my first Kickflip, successfully Nosegrinded along a rail, and somehow managed to bail over a taxi in a funbox. As those thirteen years have passed the face of skateboarding games has changed from embodying the joy of skating to replicating the skill and simulation of the sport; and then, ultimately unable to be pushed any further, skating games stopped.

Now however Activision and Robomodo have brought back Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater for us all to enjoy again, except this time they’ve polished it up. By building it from the ground up in a new engine, and compiling 7 stages from across Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, it seems that Robomodo are hoping that nostalgia will lead them to loving this revamp. Quite honestly though, you can tell this is a labour of love. However it’s also a sign that nostalgia betrays your memories. You’ll never love and hate Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater as much as you have now.

You best get used to the sound of bones, flesh and blood hitting wood, steel and cold hard concrete as you’ll bail so often that more time is spent off the board than on it. With time though, you’ll get the hang of how unforgiving THPS HD is and you’ll begin to remember exactly why you loved the series. The moment I rolled down the starting slope in Warehouse, or did a death-defying grind on the massive rail in School II, memories of sitting cross-legged infront of a TV as a kid came flooding back.

Indeed, with the levels Robomodo chose to include from THPS and THPS 2 it’ll be an enjoyable journey through the Career mode – even if the two minute model feels incredibly dated – for any self-confessed fan. Personally though, it baffles me as to why Downhill Jam was included in the selection as it wasn’t in the first two games, nor is it as it’s not a very good level anyway – but putting that aside the choices are great, especially as Hanger has been included. Interestingly Robomodo have also tried to please both the old and new fans by creating a soundtrack comprised of some old favourites along with rather dull new choices. It’s a shame because the original games soundtracks were just incredible, but perhaps Robomodo couldn’t gain the rights to their licenses.

There are other, bigger, problems though – ones that go beyond the endless bailing. Firstly the game feels really rather soulless. Levels may be accurate reproductions of their original guises, but thirteen years of game development has done no favours to their design, meaning that larger levels like School II just feel bland and empty. Along with this design progression, the fact that Robomodo chose to only bring the first – and arguably worst – two of the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games together is perplexing. Sure, they’re releasing a THPS 3 DLC pack but why wasn’t it part of the compendium from the start?

Both THPS3 and THPS4 had refined the series to its highest point before it all became sullied with the idiocy of dismounting your board and climbing everywhere in Tony Hawk’s Underground, so not including them from the off seems rather silly. While THPS 3 added the incredibly useful revert feature for chaining vert tricks, it wasn’t until THPS 4 that the series hit its pinacle with spine transfers allowing you to level out if you overshot – so you didn’t automatically bail – and an un-timed career mode. These features should have been in the game right from the off, allowing it to truly be a HD compendium of Tony Hawk’s games that fans love, and still being playable enough for newcomers. Now Career mode’s timed runs feel restrictive compared to the mechanics found in more modern games, and the fact that many games dropped this model it seems silly to bring it back for the sake of nostalgia.

Despite these problems though THPS HD is one incredibly addictive game. It’s hard to put down, and you really want to keep going back in to improve your skills and mess around in those levels you love. The inclusion of some fun throwaway modes like Big Head Survival and Graffiti also adds some extra fun to things along with the inclusion of an online multiplayer – yet strangely no classic split-screen multiplayer that really made the originals.

If you haven’t guessed, this is a mixed package. For fans of the series it’s missing out it’s greatest elements – including a level creator – and for those who have never played a Tony Hawk’s game it’ll seem too unforgiving and restrictive to really please in such a modern market. Conversely though it’ll make the purists happy for its no nonsense approach to gameplay, plus it’s the only ‘new’ skateboarding game around. Hopefully with some DLC tweaks from THPS 3, and maybe a THPS 4 update, this will turn into a must have; for now though it’s only worth looking into if you’re starved for skateboarding fun.

Audio/Visual – 3/5: Levels feel dull and empty but it has been lovingly recreated. The soundtrack has a good choice of music, but again feels rather unspectacular.

Gameplay – 3/5: Made for the purists but really should have taken the mechanics of the series peak and retrofitted it to the older levels. The ragdoll physics are also hilariously bad/annoying.

Innovation – 2/5: It feels dated to play even so soon after release, and really brings nothing new to the series.

Value – 3/5: For 1200MSP you get a fair bit of content and fun but you’ll probably tire of it fast.

Final Score: 3.5/5


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Injured Skateboarder Who Claimed Mugging May Face Charges

PHOTO: Surveillance video from a nearby office building shows Ryan Betancourt plunging face first into a concrete wall of a parking garage.

A Miami skateboarder who fractured his skull when he slammed into a garage’s concrete wall could face criminal charges for claiming a group of black men assaulted him, police said today.

Rene Betancourt, 22, told police that on July 7 he was attacked by a group of men while skateboarding in downtown Miami. According to the police report, he claimed the assault took place during an attempted robbery.

But surveillance video from a nearby office building released on Friday shows Betancourt skate boarding in the garage and plunging face first into a concrete wall of the garage.

The impact left him unconscious and lying on the ground for nearly five minutes. After waking up, Betancourt stands up in a daze and stumbles into the garage’s elevator.

Betancourt’s family found him slumped in his car, bloodied and bruised. After rushing him to a hospital, doctors determined he had a fractured skull, fractured orbital bone, with blood clots and lacerations in his head.

PHOTO: Surveillance video from a nearby office building shows Ryan Betancourt plunging face first into a concrete wall of a parking garage.

PHOTO: Surveillance video from a nearby office building shows Ryan Betancourt plunging face first into a concrete wall of a parking garage.

“All we had from the beginning was three to four black males,” says Napier Velazquez of the Miami Police Department. “As the police department, we gather info on the scene, so we assume that all the information is valuable. We don’t question where they [the victims] get their information from.”

But the video, he said, “changed the entire investigation.”

Sgt. Eunice Cooper, commander of the Miami Homicide Unit, told, “The case is still open pending further investigation.”

When asked whether Betancourt could be charged with filing a false report, Cooper said, “We have not reached a decision on that because we’re still investigating.”

Andrea Betancourt, the man’s sister, told ABC’s Miami affiliate WPLG that she and her family were relieved upon seeing the video.

“We’re just relieved that nobody was trying to hurt him or worse, kill him,” said Andrea Betancourt. She said her brother was confused and still doesn’t remember anything. She claims that doctors, police, and the victim’s father convinced her brother that, judging from his injuries, he had been assaulted.

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Jaden Smith Rapping, Skateboarding In ‘Pumped Up Kicks (Like Me)’ Video

By Julia Brokaw

It looks like Jaden Smith is all grown up. Will Smith’s youngest son dropped the music video for his catchy new song, “Pumped Up Kicks (Like Me)” this week, which samples the 2010 mega-hit by Foster the People.

The black-and-white video, directed by Mark Vargas, shows 14-year old Smith in leopard print skinny jeans and diamond stud earrings, dancing and skateboarding with his crew of friends, the MSFTS, and a bunch of cute girls at Skatelab Park in Los Angeles.

Jaden is barely recognizable as the little boy we knew from “The Karate Kid” and he alludes to his new grown-man status, rapping about “parties with hot actresses,” riding in Maybachs with his dad, and how “everybody wants chicks like me.” Smith is dropping his mixtape this September and we are sure to see lots more swag and possibly a collabo with his BFF, Justin Bieber. Looks like there is a new Fresh Prince in town.


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Crusaders recreate Jarrow March – on skateboards!

Three South Shields lads have just returned from a 12-day trek from South Tyneside to London to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

Pals Kristian Horn, Kyle Raine and Scott Bullock hopped on their skateboards for the mammoth adventure.

Using longboards – larger versions of skateboards – they followed closely the route the 1936 Jarrow marchers took as they travelled almost 300 miles.

The intrepid trio faced wind, rain, hailstones and strong sunshine after setting off from beside The Viking statue in Jarrow towards Marble Arch in London.

Retracing the footsteps of the 200 marchers proved a rewarding and, at times, emotional experience.

And when all the sponsorship money is in, they hope to have raised about £1,500 for their chosen cause.

Scott, 21, of King George Road, said: “The journey took 12 days in total, which included one rest day.

“We stayed in campsites and hotels along the way.

“We went through every weather imaginable.

“It was really tough because we had the wind against us all the way.

“We went down some stupid roads with no pavements, and we ended up taking some detours along country roads.

“Along the way we felt safe.

“We had our high visibility vests on and we had no problems with the cars on the road.

“I wore my Newcastle United top on much of the route and people did stop us and gave us money and congratulated us for what we were doing.

“The best welcome was at the Premier Inn at Loughborough. They had a welcome poster out for us, which was really nice.

“When we reached Marble Arch, we put on our suits on in honour of the original marchers. It was quite emotional, we felt a connection to them.”

Scott said the worst part of the whole experience was the bus home, adding: “I didn’t get a wink’s sleep. It was awful.”

Now the trio are planning another skateboarding trek from Amsterdam to Berlin next year.

To find out more, check out


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SK84N8 remembers local skater Nate Soules

This Sunday, skateboarders of all ages will hit the Town Park skate park to throw down their highest ollies, best tricks and best cradle line in memory of fellow skateboarder Nate Soules.

SK84N8 is skater lingo for Skate for Nate and will be a celebration of Soules and his passion for skateboarding. The event takes place Sunday from 1-4 p.m. at the Town Park skate park.

Soules, an avid skateboarder and snowboarder, was killed in a Lower Bear Creek avalanche in February. The 38-year-old Telluride husband and father was also an instructor for the Telluride Skate Camp. Skating at Town Park was how skate camp director Craig Wasserman came to know Soules.

“He was the best instructor my skate camp has ever seen,” Wasserman said. “He was good at building relationships with young kids. He was completely passionate about life, and the kids learned a ton from him.”

Soules gave up skateboarding when he was 16 and began driving, but rediscovered his inner skater in his 30s, Wasserman said.

“It’s a difficult sport to get into in your 30s,” he said. “Within two-and-a-half years, he became a very good skater.”

Sunday’s contest will have three different divisions: 12 and under, teen and an open category for those 20 and older. Participants will compete in street and bowl categories, best trick, highest ollie and upside downest cradle line. There is a $10 entry fee, and Wasserman said nearly everyone will walk away with a prize from Never Summer, A-Frame Surf, Telluride Sports, Gravity Works, Alternative Edge or Patagonia. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Telluride Skate Camp Scholarship Fund.

Dogs of Liberty will provide the afternoon tunes and there will be a barbecue, potluck and SK84N8 stickers.

Although Wasserman said organizers will talk a little bit about Soules’ positive spirit, memorials and remembrances will not dominate the day. Instead, the event will be a celebration of skating in the box canyon.

“It was important to Nate and a lot of us down at the skate park to keep a positive theme and welcome beginners,” Wasserman said. “It’s not like that everywhere. We are really proud of the fact that that’s how it is down there and Nate was a big part of that.”

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Heard on the Hill: KU Hospital, KC Chiefs announce partnership; KU student …

Subscribe to the Heard on the Hill email edition

Subscribe to the email edition of Heard on the Hill and we’ll deliver you the latest KU news and notes every weekday at noon.

Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• KU Hospital will be providing health care for yet another sports team in the Kansas City area.

The hospital announced a new partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs in which it will provide comprehensive health care for the football team. The hospital will additionally open a sports medicine clinic on the site of the Chiefs Training Facility (which will be renamed the KU Hospital Training Complex).

That clinic will be open to the public in summer 2013. It will serve Chiefs players and “athletes of all ages,” according to an announcement of the new deal.

More details on that will be announced later, the parties said.

KU Hospital has quite a few of these arrangements, as it also provides health care for the NASCAR track in Kansas City, Kan., the Kansas City Royals and the Sprint Center.

• KU has a new national champion, and it’s Garrett Rathbone, who became the national college skateboarding champ, according to the McPherson Sentinel (the link to the original article is no longer working, sadly).

The newspaper reported that Rathbone, a KU senior from McPherson, competed this past weekend at the Alt Games National College Skateboarding Championships, featuring the Top 25 skateboarders in the country.

Highlights of the event will be shown on CBS Sports Spectacular at noon Sunday and the whole thing will air at 8 p.m. Aug. 15 on the CBS College Channel, the paper reported.

It also mentioned that for being the best college skateboarder in all the land, Rathbone won $1,000, a trophy and assorted skateboarding merchandise.

• My always-on radar for people interviewing for positions elsewhere is pinging again.

This time, it’s a staff member at the Kansas Board of Regents who will interview for the job of chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system.

Blake Flanders currently works as vice president of workforce development for the Kansas Board of Regents office. He is one of eight people who will interview for the job, according to the (Fort Wayne, Ind.) News-Sentinel.

He is joined by Michael Wartell, the former chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne; John Schmidt, senior vice chancellor of advancement at Troy University; Gregory Gray, chancellor of the Riverside Community College District in California; Daniel Howard, executive vice president and provost of Arkansas State University; Bruce Murphy, vice president for academic affairs at Air University in Montgomery; Mark Heinrich, president of Shelton State Community College; and Kandis Steele, director of academic programs for Alabama’s post-secondary program.

• The national championship competition for Best Tip for Heard on the Hill begins right now, so you’d better hurry up and make your submission to

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Lawrence Journal-World.

All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
We strive to uphold our values for every story published.

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Skateboarding Goat Sets Guinness Book Of World Record in Fort Myers

FORT MYERS, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – If you want a pet that is loyal and can do cool tricks, you can always get a goat.

That is exactly what 18-year-old Melody Cooke got. Her pet goat Happie just set the Guinness Book of World Record for the furthest distance skateboarding by a goat.

“She figured out how to get on and then I was just like, ‘Whoa, this is amazing,’” Cooke told KSEE-TV.

According to First Coast News, Cooke and her parents sent the video to Guinness and a few months later the goat was a world-record holder.

The video shows the skateboarding lasting for 25 seconds until Happie hit a parking barrier.

“She could have gone even further but she ran into the parking barrier,” David Cooke told First Coast News.

Before heading off to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Cooke plans to make more videos with Happie.

“I plan on making more fun and creative videos and see how far we can go with this,” she told KSEE.

 Skateboarding Goat Sets Guinness Book Of World Record in Fort Myers

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30/30: Another Skate Shop Keeps It Core

A nice collection of boards and accessories.

Nestled amongst the high rise condos and beach shacks on the strand of Carolina Beach, NC, Another Skate Shop has been providing for skateboarders since 2009.  Originally only a small section of Island Kite Surf, Another came about as a separate entity during the remodeling of their building.  The new store features a three-foot mini ramp, shoe wall, and a wide variety of skateboards and accessories.  Shop manager, team manager, buyer, and all-around skateboarding hype man Dan Cunningham sat down to answer our questions while Griffin Faulkner and Alec Chambers provided a video tour of the shop.

YouTube Preview Image

How and when did Another Skate Shop come about?

We got established in 09 after adding separate stores onto the old building.  The skate shop used to be a little glass booth in the Island Kite Surf shop.  The additions on the building allowed us to separate shops.  We did a team overhaul, built a mini ramp, got some shop decks, and filled the store with 100% skate gear.  I wasn’t too stoked on selling wax and flip flops to the masses and The Port City (Wilmington, NC) needed a 100% skater owned and operated shop.  We wanted to provide that.  [The mini ramp] was something different we wanted to add to the shop.  It gives our team and traveling ams/pros a place to stay and skate.

What videos have been playing in the shop recently?

The Cinematographer Project, duh! We’re waiting on Pretty Sweet to drop.

What is in the future for Another Skate Shop?

We were thinking about maybe opening ANOTHER SHOP, ANOTHER SKATE PARK, ANOTHER COOL HIP SKATER BAR, and ANOTHER COFFEE SHOP,etc..  [laughs]  just joking… Let’s just say were going to hang on in this tough time.  Keep on keeping on!

Best selling items:

Shoes, shop decks, and cheap eyewear.

Most popular brands:

Vans, Nike, and Lakai in the shoe game.  DLXSF gear in just about everything else.

Shout outs:

I want to thank the owners Mike and Jenny Malion for believing in skateboarding and giving the kids a place to call home. A BIG THANKS to the team guys: Wells Shaw, John Finucan, Gary Bolos, Alec Chambers, Ryan Ford, Matt Miller, Ryan Rullman, Josh Sapp, Devan Rice, Adam Meyer, Will Smith(not the fresh prince), Vakos, and Rich Holt.


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Lil Wayne Hits The Decks With The Deweezy Videos

weezyfboardy.jpgLast night at recently reopened Greenhouse, Lil Wayne the rapper welcomed Lil Wayne the skater to the world via the premiere of DeWeezy. Maybe it’s because he started rapping professionally at an age when most kids where still learning their multiplication tables, but Wayne has always seemed to have one foot out of the rap game and the other in something new, or at least different. He tried the University of Houston in 2005 for a spell; then he tried to play guitar.

Wayne has of late been learning to skate, and he’s been incorporating skate lingo into his verses and videos. Taking it a step further?like when he was just carrying around an electric guitar instead of actually learning how to play it?Weezy F Baby has built a ramp at his house. He’s being taught the ins and outs hands-on, and he even got nine stitches over his left eye from a skateboarding accident last year.

Such mishaps have not deterred the Young Money honcho from falling deck-over-wheels for the pastime, though, and he’s teamed up with Mountain Dew to put his own spin on the skateboarding video.

Though the video was more snippet tape than sampler, there were some gems within. Wayne unsteadily attempts a trick on the board and fails, but the camera cuts before you can see the big spill. The frame after, Wayne lands the trick and the crowd cheers. The man does work hard; that much is undeniable.”You can always catch me on set, in the studio, or on stage,” he says. “The three Ss. I try to always be on one of those three, or on my way to them.”

Another highlight came when a narrator (who sounded a lot like Hot 97’s Angie Martinez) told the viewers about Mountain Dew’s efforts to build a skate park in New Orleans not too far from where the levee broke, and about Wayne and Mountain Dew giving away 700 skateboards to less fortunate children. The clips, though, were over before you could say “Ollie of the curb,” and for the rest of the night the guests were treated to the sounds of Marley Marl taking it back to the LQ.

If we’re judging the videos on “skate doc” merits, I’d have to say the highlight came when Paul Rodriguez got to show off (and actually land) some neat tricks?a wise inclusion, as Wayne is still a novice at best. But each episode was pretty short; none of them featured anything dynamic enough to make them not run into one another. And the clips might fuel the critiques of Wayne as someone who got into skateboarding due to its trendiness. (Usually the audience imitates artists, not the other way around.)

The charity work is the project’s saving grace, conveying that its purpose is about more than showing Wayne learning to skate. That says, even if he never gets the hang of skating, who is going to tell Wayne he shouldn’t be trying out tricks for the first time so late in life?


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Dew Tour lineup released, but no Shaun White

OCEAN CITY — For the second straight summer, the Dew Tour Pantech Beach Championship will return to the Boardwalk of Ocean City from Aug. 16-19. Some of the best skateboarders, BMXers, and surfers in the world will be in town for the three-day event, showing off their special set of skills.

“We are very excited,” said Donna Abbott, tourism director for the town of Ocean City. “We are just thrilled; this is such a huge event and we are very pleased to be hosting it again this summer.”

The initial list of athletes scheduled to appear during the Dew Tour’s stop in Ocean City is highlighted by Baltimore native Bucky Lasek. Lasek is one of the most recognizable names and performers in skateboarding and said in a news release that he is excited to compete in Ocean City for a second straight summer.

“I’m really looking forward to coming back to my hometown to compete in the Pantech Beach Championships,” Lasek said. “The Dew Tour’s concrete bowl is second to none, and with all the great events for fans and beach atmosphere, it’s sure to be a fun time for everyone.”

Shaun White, arguably the biggest skateboarding star in the world, was scheduled to compete in Ocean City as well but recently announced on Twitter that he had to pull out of the event after having knee surgery.

While White won’t be on his board, several other notable skaters will be in town to fly through the air in both the concrete skate bowl and in the Mega 2.0 ramp competitions, including Pierre-Luc Gagnon, Bob Burnquist and Andy Macdonald.

Chad Kagy and Steve McCann are the early headliners in the BMX competition along with Kyle Baldock and 2011 Dew Cup winner Scotty Cranmer.

Abbott said the town is excited and prepared for the action sports community to descend on the resort.

“Last year it was a terrific draw for us, not only the draw that it brings people to the town but also the exposure that we got from the televised portion,” Abbott said. “Last year, we got over 900 million impressions from the coverage of the Dew Tour across the planet. So this is certainly great publicity for us to be showcased in this event. It’s a family friendly event with some very exciting athletes who come to participate.”

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