Nov 17, 2009 Product Review
Last month Activision flew me and my kids out to California for an amazing weekend. We visited Tony Hawk’s skateboarding facility in San Diego, where we got to watch him and some friends skate and bike, which was worth the cross-country trip all by itself.
Then we got to hang out with him and play his new video game, Tony Hawk: Ride. That’s right, we got to try Tony Hawk’s new game with Tony Hawk. It was amazing! My son Jake, who is eight and a skateboarder, was over the moon.
And of course, we got to see Tony Hawk show off his moves on his own game:
Then we had dinner with Tony Hawk. I felt like the luckiest mom in the world. And the best part about it was, Tony Hawk was totally into it. He didn’t act like he wanted to be somewhere else, he really seemed to enjoy watching our kids play the game. He was involved in creating the game start to finish, so it must have been pretty cool for him, after years of development, to watch real kids play RIDE.
When I was a kid, video games were something you played when you didn’t want to be active. I sat my ass in front of video games for as long as my parents could stand it. But now, it seems like the most exciting video games get you off of the couch and moving around. Tony Hawk: RIDE comes with a motion-sensitive skateboard (sans wheels, of course) that you “ride.” There are different levels, so whether you’ve never been on a skateboard (me) or you’re great at real life skating, the game is easy to get started on. There are great tutorials in the game that teach you how to do different maneuvers. As you get better, you can make things more challenging for yourself.
Activision was nice enough to send us the game a little early so that we could have some kids come over and try it. It was a good mix of kids, girls and boys around my son’s age. Some had skateboarding experience, some didn’t. I was a little worried about having so many kids sharing one game, but my son somehow knew about a “party mode” on the game (I swear, he learns this stuff in his sleep) which was absolutely perfect: each kid got a number from one to eight, and they took turns. Brilliant.
The kids were at our house for more than three hours, and most of them never left the game for more time than it took to run to the food table and back. We had back-up plans for other games they could move on to, but we never even came close to needing them. My daughter, who is five, and another girl her age were the only ones who had no interest in the game (Fiona didn’t want to try the game in California either) and they went upstairs to play with dolls. So for kids who prefer purses and nail polish to video games and sports, this might not be the game for them. But of the rest of the kids, most stayed glued to the game for the entire party.
Now that this video-game skateboard exists, I can see it expanding to other board-based games. Snowboarding and surfing are a couple of things that come to mind. If Activision needs any help developing games, I’m sure I’ll be their first call. :-) Until then, start with this game. Buy it now before the Christmas rush, because I really think that Tony Hawk: RIDE is going to be a super-hot in demand game this Christmas.
The luckiest kids in the skateboarding world:
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