‘It inspired a generation’: Tony Hawk on how the Pro Skater video games changed lives

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater appeared on PlayStation 20 years ago this week – and transformed sports sims for ever. Hawk and the game’s developers assess the impact of the 100m-selling series

When Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was released 20 years ago this week, initial projections for the game were modest. Although Sega’s Top Skater had been a hit in the arcades two years before, and there had been a couple of early hits such as 720 and Skate or Die, the idea of an in-depth skating sim was untested. Activision aimed to ship 250,000 copies and developer Neversoft just hoped there would be an opportunity to make a sequel. The game went on to sell more than 5m copies across PlayStation, Dreamcast and Nintendo 64 and its success spawned one of the most popular franchises in video game history, generating more than $1.4bn in sales.

Within days of release, it was clear players were forming a deeper relationship with the sim than either the developer or publisher had ever expected. People who’d never skated before were sharing button combinations for their favourite moves, discussing routes and arguing over which professional skateboarders were the best. Each freestyle area was designed to allow easy exploration and experimentation, and players could discover moves simply by hitting and combining buttons and seeing what happened.

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Read more: theguardian.com

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