"Pretending I'm Superman": the evolution of Tony Hawk's video games

July 12, 2020 | Skateboarding
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater: one of the most successful video game franchises of all time

Tony Hawk launched his first signature skateboard video game in 1999.

The first title of the "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" (THPS) series went on to sell nine million copies upon release, changing the sport's history forever.

The marketing move was made when the whole skate industry was struggling to reach a broader audience.

"I was a fading vert skater, and my income was getting cut in half every month. And so I started doing whatever I could," explains Tony Hawk.

"I played video games since their inception. Activision called me and said: 'We are working on a game. We'd like you to come see what we're doing."

"As soon as I played it and felt some of the controls, I knew that was the game."

When THPS arrived, it became clear that even video gamers, who had never skated before, could potentially become recreational sidewalk surfers.

In reality, the formula worked out for the sport.

Pretending I'm Superman: the new documentary by Ludvig Gür and Ralph D'Amato tells the story of the most popular skateboard video game of all time

2000s: A New Era in Skateboarding

With the turn of the millennium, skateboarding kept growing and gaining new participants until making it into the Olympic Games.

"Pretending I'm Superman" is a documentary directed by Swedish director Ludvig Gür and video game developer Ralph D'Amato.

The film tells the story of the riders and tech enthusiasts that helped create one of the best-selling gaming franchises of all time.

Its title was inspired by a song featured on the original game's soundtrack - "Superman" by Goldfinger.

The skateboard game series' balance sheet is impressive. All 19 titles generated a total revenue of 1.7 billion dollars so far.

But the truth is that THPS helped change action sports video games - surfing, snowboard, BMX, etc. - and contributed to introducing skateboarding to a mainstream audience.

"Pretending I'm Superman" also features interviews with skateboarding legends Rodney Mullen, Steve Caballero, Eric Koston, and Chad Muska, as well as Tony Hawk himself.

The documentary will be available on video streaming platforms on August 18, 2020, and precedes one of the most anticipated video games of the year.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2, the 4K remastered version of the iconic video games, hits Xbox One, PS4, and PC on September 4.

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