Earlier this year, gamers of a certain age got the nostalgia trip of a lifetime when a remake of the first two Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games were released. Featuring all the classic songs, skaters and levels as the originals, the remake brought unbridled joy to gamers worldwide as they activated their muscle memory and relived their youth of twenty years ago.
However, the world has changed since then, and the game has kept up in more ways than one. New music has been included, as well as new skaters, including Tony’s son Riley Hawk and non-binary skater Leo Baker (not that being LGBTQ+ is new or anything, but representation in a video game like this certainly is more of a mark of today’s world).
Of course, the most prominent difference to the world the original games came out in is the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, and in a surprising but thoughtful gesture, the developers at Vicarious Visions have made sure it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Specifically, in certain levels of the game, various messages and ads have been put in place, either simply referencing the pandemic or reminding the player to stay safe.
For example, when skating around in Venice Beach, a plane will occasionally fly overhead with the message “Masks save lives” trailing behind it. The original School level from THPS1 has various messages on a screen, including a reference to learning from home, and in New York, a huge screen displays an ad about wearing masks and social distancing.
It’s easy not to notice these things as you’re skating around at 50mph and trying to nail 1,000,000 point combos, but their inclusion acts as both a fun easter egg and as useful messages to the player. It’s clear that the people at Vicarious Visions not only care about remaking games faithfully but also about their fans and player-base as well. This is one of those things where no-one would have batted an eyelid had they not done it, but they went the extra mile that could potentially save someone’s life. It deserves to be commended, so props to everyone there for doing this.
The earlier examples are just the three we spotted whilst playing the game. See if you can find any more yourself!
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.
Words by Benjamin Hobson
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