Pretending I’m Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story

I am or never have been either a skater or a video game player. Still I understand the lure of both. When you combine via the most famous skateboarder of all time then you have a winning combo.

That is easy to say, but it isn’t a guarantee that when a top athlete or other famous person lends their name to a product that you are going to end up with something good. Lightning in a bottle happened in the 1990s when the Tony Hawk video games came out. The game was so good it earned the stamp of approval of both hardcore skateboarders and video game enthusiasts. As a result millions of copies were sold of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game. This changed skateboarding in many ways and permanently.

Here in great depth we follow the idea for, development of and ultimately the success of that video game. Interviews with Tony Hawk, video game developers and other famous skaters like Steve Caballero, Rodney Mullen, Chad Muska, and Eric Koston give us the whole picture of the phenomenon it became.

We see how skateboarding had a jump in popularity in the 70s then died out only to experience a rebirth (though some had never stopped skating) in the early 2000s. This came about due to the X-Games and the Tony Hawk video game. Released in 1999, Tony Hawk Pro Skater sold over 9 million copies.

Swedish director Ludvig Gür, using classic snippets of film as well as stuff from today, helms this documentary. He makes sure that the whole story or picture is captured. Story of the game, but also of Tony Hawk himself. His rise was rather meteoric and two decades later is still the biggest name in skateboarding. An interesting part for fans of music, especially punk, is the look at the music that went into the game. Music by bands like Goldfinger, Primus, and Bad Religion is featured here. All this renders the film enjoyable whether you are a fan of video games or Hawk or not. It really shows us a slice of pop culture.

This film, which is out on VOD and digital platforms today, serves as a warm up for a reboot of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game series which is coming out in the fall. Stay tuned for that!

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