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Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day!
Few game series have as rabid a fanbase as the Skate games. Whether it’s because of the fall of the Tony Hawk franchise or just the strong desire for a more realistic skating sim, the series has always had its adherents and has only grown since the series went on hiatus over a decade ago. With the announcement of a new Skate game on the horizon, I believe it’s time to tackle this popular franchise for the first time on this show. Today’s game is Skate, developed by EA Black Box and released on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 in 2007.
While the Tony Hawk games always wanted to capture the feeling of being a professional skater through arcade style actions, Skate was more interested in being a realistic simulator of skateboarding. To manage this feel on a controller, Skate has a unique control system using the two analog sticks on a controller to simulate performing actual skating tricks. It’s complicated to describe and complicated to learn but to put it simply, flicking the joysticks in specific patterns will make the skater perform tricks. For example, holding the joystick down and then quickly flicking it up will cause the character to ollie, which imitates the motion of actually ollieing on a board. This means that watching Skate may not be as impressive to a bystander as Tony Hawk but the stunts take far more player skill than in any other skating game of the time, by far.
Skate’s primary game mode is the career mode, which has you creating a character and completing missions to rise up the ranks in the skating world. The city you’re in, San Vanelona, is a fictional Californian city filled with many of the traditional skating spots the sport seeks out. A shopping district, a school, as well as an abandoned factory area all make appearances.
Skate also contains online multiplayer which allows for free skating as well as various game modes similar to those in the Tony Hawk games. Skate is a variation on the game Horse where you must copy the leader’s tricks or gain a letter. First player to spell Skate loses. Races allow players to race through various areas, racking up points along the way. Own the spot plays like king of the hill but players must get a high scoring trick off of a certain area in order to claim it for themselves.
Skate received generally positive critical reviews, with critics praising the unique control system and the high skill ceiling for the game, but criticising the somewhat glitchy online mode and the product placement throughout the game. The game sold moderately well, enough for EA to justify a sequel but the niche fanbase for the game remained small. Skateboarding games were in decline by 2007 and the game wasn’t nearly as accessible to newcomers as other skating games on offer. Still, the fans the game did receive were passionate and gameplay clips were popular at the time, an impressive feat considering the relative difficulty in sharing gameplay clips in 2007. While Skate has not been re-released on modern consoles, the game is playable via Xbox One’s backwards compatibility.
Thank you so much for listening! Some news for you all, I am going to be streaming on Twitch this Monday at 4 PM pacific time. I’ll be on twitch.tv/katosepe, Katosepe is K a t o s e p e. Again, that’s twitch.tv/katosepe and we’ll be live at 4 PM pacific. Not sure yet what we’ll be playing but it’ll be a good time. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram @vg_oftheday for updates on our streaming schedule. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day!