The best skateboarding games of all time

January 6, 2021 | Skateboarding
Skateboarding games: the first skate game was released in 1986 for arcades

The world's first skateboard video game was released in 1986. Since then, the gaming genre has evolved to a point where you can't tell the difference between reality and fiction.

Video games have changed a lot. In the beginning, all you had was pixelated characters and low-resolution objects and environments.

Today, modern console video games are produced in 4K and mimic body movements, structures, and weather patterns as never before.

Skateboarding games have accompanied the evolution of gaming technology, with photorealism and virtual reality becoming a standard in the industry.

In less than 30 years, the titles from riding a digital skateboard on a single-colored surface to getting airborne on a virtual indoor skatepark.

Today, you'll find several skateboarding titles for PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, PC and Mac computers, iOS and Android mobile devices.

The endless options allow us to grab a gaming controller and play a skateboard game on the couch or enjoy it on our smartphone while commuting to work.

Take a look at the best and most popular skateboarding games of all time.

720° (1986)

720° (1986)

"720°" is the world's first skateboarding game. It was initially released in 1986 for arcades by Atari Games.

The title comes from the skate trick with the same name.

The game features a main map area. The player chooses the park where he or she wants to go, but there's a certain amount of points needed to get a ticket into each one of them.

There are slalom, downhill, ramp, and jump courses, but also shops where the skater can buy gear and accessories.

The time structure requires the player to keep accumulating points to get the game going. Otherwise, you're invited to insert another coin.

Skate or Die! (1987)

Skate or Die! (1987)

Skate or Die! came out in 1987. It was first released for the ZX Spectrum and other computer systems and later ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

The player is invited to skate around town and compete in five events, sequentially or individually - ramp freestyle, high jump, downhill race, downhill jam, and pool.

The game features four characters: Rodney Recloose, Bionic Lester, Poseur Pete, and Aggro Eddie.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (1999)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (1999)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (THPS) is one of the most revolutionary skateboard games ever produced.

It was launched in 1999 for Playstation and then ported to Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, and N-Gage.

The game lets players skate around open-ended levels while performing real tricks and completing challenges.

With solid gameplay mechanics, great controls, creative level design, and iconic soundtracks, the THPS series became the most successful franchise in skateboarding game history.

The title also capitalized on the knowledge and support provided by Tony Hawk, one of the legendary stars of the sport.

The game features a total of ten famous skaters and several real-life maneuvers like ollies, flip tricks, grind and grab tricks, and Hawk's legendary aerial rotation - the 900.

Thrasher Presents Skate And Destroy (1999)

Thrasher Presents Skate And Destroy (1999)

Thrasher Presents Skate And Destroy was released in 1999 for PlayStation.

It was considered the world's first skateboarding video game simulator, with a steeper learning curve and ragdoll physics.

The player's goal is to complete the 12 levels, attract sponsors, collect gear and clothing, and land the cover of Thrasher Magazine.

Although considered technically better than THPS, the game graphics were not as good, and controls were tricky to master.

The multiplayer game has seven options: Sessions, Nickel Bag, H.O.R.S.E., Top Dog, Sick Fix, Long Grind, and Big Wallride.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (2000)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (2000)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 was released in 2000 for Playstation and aimed to capitalize on the first title's success.

The sequel used the same engine as the original game but expanded its features by adding new levels, tricks, and songs.

Players were given the opportunity to increase the customization of their skaters and a skatepark editor to create new levels from scratch.

There are also more challenges per level and a brand new progression system focused on finding and earning cash rewards and unlocking secret content.

Money allows players to enhance their skills, stats and to edit special tricks.

With THPS2, skaters can switch stance, perform manuals, and connect combos from rails to ramps.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (2001)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (2001)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 was launched for PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Color, and GameCube one year after the highly successful THPS 2.

The game featured a massive improvement in the overall graphics and animations, especially for those already playing in PlayStation 2.

THPS 3 introduced game-changing features like the revert and the lip trick balance bar, walking pedestrians, as well as the first-ever online multiplayer option.

It is one of the highest-rated PS2 games of all time.

Skateboard Park Tycoon: Back in the USA 2004 (2003)

Skateboard Park Tycoon: Back in the USA 2004 (2003)

Skateboard Park Tycoon: Back in the USA 2004 was released in 2003 for PC. The goal of the game is to manage and run a skatepark.

The player has to find creative ways of making money and increase the structure's ratings and sponsors. Once the park is set up, you can actually ride it as a skater.

The game also invites players to unlock several environments where they can build their empire.

Tony Hawk's Underground (2003)

Tony Hawk's Underground (2003)

Tony Hawk's Underground (THU) was launched in 2003 for GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Game Boy Advance.

For many critics and players, it was the best entry in the entire franchise.

The game took the best of the previous titles and expanded the number of available tricks and characters and the size of the levels.

Customization of skaters and gear was taken to the extreme. The game features a storyline that allows players to experience the ultimate skateboarder's dream from beginner to pro athlete.

The gameplay has new moves like wall plants, pressure flips, and double-tap grind tricks. With THU, players are finally able to step off the board and walk around on foot.

Tony Hawk's American Sk8land (2005)

Tony Hawk's American Sk8land (2005)

Tony Hawk's American Sk8land is a 2005 port of Tony Hawk's American Wasteland for Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS.

It resembles the original THPS but adapted to a handheld console. The engine is good and allows players to cruise around, perform a wide variety of tricks, and complete a few challenges.

There's a map that shows you where the combo letters are.

The game allows you to record sound clips that can be used and provides an online mode to play Trick Attack, Score Challenge, Combo Mambo, and The Price is Wrong.

Skate (2007)

Skate (2007)

Skate is a 2007 game released for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and mobile phones.

It was the first of three titles launched in the series and probably the most groundbreaking of them all.

The control scheme, the quality of the graphics, and the environments made it a success within the real-life skateboarding community.

It even displayed product placement and advertising.

OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood (2015)

OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood (2015)

OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood is a 2015 title developed and published for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

It's a simple yet highly addictive arcade skateboard game and a sequel to the original OlliOlli.

The creators kept the side-scrolling characteristics and added a few cool features and maneuvers, including the manual between tricks.

All levels display colorful, good-looking design, patterns, and obstacles. Timing the landing of tricks is paramount, though.

Session (2019)

Session (2019)

Session is a 2019 skateboard game developed for Xbox One and PC. With its open-ended concept and realistic visuals, the game allows you to run and jump around stunning urban settings while grabbing your board.

The goal is to explore locations and try different things at various spots. Session is a work in progress with bugs and glitches subject to continuous fixes and updates.

The graphics are beautifully presented with impressive details and high-quality object textures.

Skater XL (2020)

Skater XL (2020)

Skater XL presents itself as the most realistic skateboarding simulation game ever. It uses an innovative two-stick control system that allows you to skate in some of California's best-known spots.

Skater XL is in constant improvement, with updates released on a regular basis. Despite its complex control mechanism, the game delivers some of the most solid graphics and skate simulations ever seen.

The developers tried to recreate something that mimics real-life skateboarding with a non-arcade experience.

So, the more you practice, the better you'll skate.

The visuals are breathtaking, and the skater's body movements are almost perfect. There are official and community maps for you to explore.

Although there is not a single goal or storyline, the game provides plenty of challenges.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 (2020)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 is a 4K remake of the original titles for PlayStation 4. The graphics have been revamped and improved, and the overall physics reached an unprecedented climax.

The result is a splendorous, highly enjoyable skateboard game, full old school features and smart, brand-new additions. THPS 1+2 is probably the best game of its genre ever released for a video gaming console.

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