Mirror Mode: The Next Tony Hawk’s Game Should Just Be Him Walking Around

The only Tony Hawk’s games I haven’t played are the ones that come with a peripheral, because I play these games to pretend I’m good at skateboarding, not to be reminded that I share the same sense of balance as a stack of Jenga blocks. I adore the arcade vibe of the whole thing, the unrealistic trick combos, the endless 900 McTwists you can pull off with just a bit of momentum and a couple of button taps. I love the original Pro Skater quadrilogy, and the THUGs and the THAWs and all the other THs. I’ll never fully complete the remake, and that’s my favourite thing about it. But after following the Birdman on Twitter, I’ve decided that actually, the series would be much better if it was him just walking around.

This is the first in our new weekly column where we talk about how a popular game series would be great… if only it was the exact opposite of what it was. This all came about because I wanted to write about Tony Hawk’s Walking Simulator as a normal article, and everyone shouted at me in the work Slack. Luckily, the more you think about it, the better it gets. So now we’re going to do this each week. You’re welcome.

Tony Hawk is a contender for the coolest man alive. There’s him, Werner Herzog, Keanu Reeves, Idris Elba, and Mads Mikkelsen all competing for the gong. Except they’re not competing, because they’re much too cool for that, so they’re just sitting there, chilling. In being a skater who paved the way for skating video games as an entity and who smashed huge barriers in the sport, Tony Hawk has a built-in coolness, but if you’ve ever seen him just strolling around the city, you’ll know that it goes much deeper than just his skating ability.

Tony Hawk often heads to his local skate park and just hangs out there. He talks to the kids and their parents, he offers advice, he signs whatever you want him to sign… he makes people’s day just by existing near them, and he knows it, so he tries to exist near as many people as he possibly can. Imagine if you were playing football in the park and Cristiano Ronaldo rocked up and asked if he could join in? Or if Michael Jordan challenged you to a bit of 1-on-1 at your local court, just because. No security, no press, no campaign to shift sneakers, just… because.

Here’s where the game comes in: Tony Hawk usually goes up to some skaters, asks them to do a fairly straightforward trick, and if they land it, they get a skateboard, or headphones, or some other skating tatt that Tony Hawk just constantly has in his car. He’s so cool that cool stuff just sprouts up around him, evidently. In this game, you do the same thing. You find an enthusiastic young kid, go up to them, and ask if they can do a kickflip. They try it, and they probably fail, because you’re freakin’ Tony Hawk – it’s a bit nerve wracking to be asked to pull off a skating trick from a standing start in front of one of the greatest ever to do it. But you don’t point and laugh at them – that’s not very cool – you teach them. You give them a bit of advice on how to better by watching them, really watching them, not just standing near them until you get bored and head back to your mansion, and you figure out what they need to do. You go from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater to Tony Hawk’s Pro Teacher.

If you’re a big Tony Hawk fan, you’ll know there’s another huge aspect of his public life, aside from being a cool dude who teaches kids how to kickflip – basically no one knows who he is. His Twitter posts and several interviews down the years have seen the Hawkman recount times when absolutely nobody has recognised him. Once, when he identified himself as Tony Hawk, someone replied “Like the skater guy? Huh, wonder what he’s doing now?”

Can you imagine how cool and secure you have to be in yourself as a famous person to readily admit that nobody remembers what you look like? Can you ever imagine Jared Leto or Tom Cruise admitting to that? But since we’re making a game about Tony Hawk walking around and not getting recognised, let’s add that in too. Let’s say you’re out for a stroll, going from one skate park to the next with a bunch of Tony Hawk Funko Pops in your backpack. Some guy does a double take. He knows you from somewhere, right? He thinks he recognises you, but you used to look a lot younger… dammit, where from? Something on TV, he thinks, but not an actor. Well, all you’ve got to do is pop a quick Christ Air into a Japan and it suddenly comes to him… you’re Bob Burnquist! Ahh, close enough fella. Why don’t you take a Tony Hawk Funko Pop for the road?

Skateboarding is basically the peak of coolness that humans have discovered thus far into evolution, and Tony Hawk is somehow even cooler when he gets off the board. The next game in the series needs to let us see that side of him too.

Next: God Of War Is The Most Peaceful Game I’ve Ever Played

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Stacey Henley is an editor for TheGamer, and can often be found journeying to the edge of the Earth, but only in video games. Find her on Twitter @FiveTacey

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