Nearly 20 years after their original releases, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 are kick-flipping their way onto today's consoles, and early 20s me cannot wait to play them again.

Truth be told, skateboarding and skateboarding culture were never my thing when both starting becoming popular in the late 80s / early 90s. I was in middle school at the time and was someone who made fun of the long-hair and baggy clothes that defined the those were. Why? I don't know. Maybe it was because none of my friends were into it either, so I joined in on the insults to be cool. Or maybe it was because I couldn't ride a skateboard to save my life (and still can't now in my 40s), and deep inside I was jealous. Whatever the reason, I was impressed by those who could. Especially those who had the ability to do tricks with them.

The only option I had to get that experience of being able to fly through the air, do a flip, and stick the landing without breaking my neck was through video games, like Skate or Die, or California Games. Then 1999 came around and the world of skateboarding games was changed forever.

Even if you don't watch sports, or remotely care about sports, when you hear names like Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, or Derek Jeter, you know what sport they play. That's what Tony Hawk is to skateboarding. Through his incredible talent and abilities, he took a sport most associated with troublemakers, graffiti, punk rock, and a general anti-establishment attitude, and turned it into something even the most buttoned-up rule follower wanted to watch. So it only made sense to give him his own video game as his stock, and the interest in "extreme sports" were starting to rise.

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 was released on August 31st, 1999. The game featured a number of different levels including a full-blown skate park, a warehouse, a school yard, and more where you could live out your skateboarding dreams by performing tricks on practically anything on the level. The controls weren't overly complicated, trying to perform tricks was as easy as a button tap or two, and if you didn't stick the landing, the only hurt was your pride.

Just over a year later, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 was released, and upped the ante with what may be the best soundtrack ever for a video game. Bands like Goldfinger, Papa Roach, and Rage Against the Machine brought the driving rhythms of punk rock, rap-rock, and ska that just meshed perfectly with big air jumps and crazy tricks you tried to pull off.

At the time, our hangout was the basement of one of my friend's parent's house. I kid you not, we would be there almost nightly, drinking beer (we were 21+ by this time), and playing for hours on end trying to beat each other's scores, not caring that it may be 3:00 a.m. on a Wednesday, and we had to be at our jobs at 8:00. It was so much fun.

Every once in a while over the years, I'd check the Playstation Store on my PS4 to see if it was available to download, but no such luck, so when I saw the notification from my Bleacher Report app revealing the exciting news, I blurted out, "No <blanking> way!" At that moment all those memories of 20 years ago came rushing back.

Nostalgia certainly plays a part in my excitement, and I guess there's a chance the games aren't as good as I remember, but I don't care. I've already told my wife that I'll be spending $60 on September 4th, and I have a feeling it will be the best $60 I spend in a long time.

[Source: Bleacher Report]

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