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Best Alternative Sports Game in 2020: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2

game of the year 2020

Best Alternative Sports Game in 2020: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2

The staff voting for Best Alternative Sports Game in 2020 came down to two of my favorite video games of the year: Retro Bowl and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. New Star Games’ stab at an American football video game changed how we played mobile games and brought back the Tecmo Super Bowl nostalgia we grew fond of over the years. It was near perfect. But in the end, it was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 and its seamless transition that took home this year’s award.

When we first got wind of a remastered THPS, I was stoked. I mean, who wouldn’t be? I vividly remember playing the original demo from Pizza Hut, spending countless hours shredding around The Hangar with no real objective in sight. At that moment, I knew I wanted to become a skateboarder, which wasn’t uncommon. The Tony Hawk video game franchise helped kickstart a skateboarding movement. This says all you need to know about how great a video game the original skateboarding classics were.

best alternative sports game in 2020

I don’t know where to start with my love for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. Maybe it’s the perfect transition from the past to the present. I mean, very rarely do we see a game not only pay homage to a classic but enhance it. And as you would expect, that starts with the updated graphics, levels, and skaters — to name a few. This game plays and looks as good as ever. If you never played the original Tony Hawk games on console, you wouldn’t even know this was remastered. It sounds and plays as good as ever.

This is not a knock against Retro Bowl, whose debut in 2020 took the sports gaming world by storm. If anything, it shows you how special Retro Bowl truly is to be in the conversation. For a mobile game to be in the discussion for any big award against a competitor that’s been around much longer is impressive — but not unexpected.

What makes Retro Bowl special, besides the throwback look and feel of the game, is the controls. Going through your progressions before trying to place the ball effortlessly into your playmakers’ hands with the right touch and accuracy, is priceless. And let’s not forget Retro Bowl‘s franchise mode, one of the more in-depth career modes established in a mobile game.
retro_bowl

That being said, Retro Bowl‘s franchise mode isn’t necessarily dull, but you can hit a wall after a few years of building. In comparison, there’s a lot more you can do in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. Each level has objectives that can be done on various difficulties and could take up hours of your time as you try to link together the perfect set of tricks. Then there’s also my personal favorite of just cruising around, trying to re-create old-school skate videos. Add in the ever-evolving roster and customization options, and it’s easy to see why this is the unanimous winner.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is a masterpiece and should set the standard for “remastered” or “remade” sports games moving forward. Rarely does a remastered/remade game capture the same type of brilliance as this one. What Vicarious Visions accomplished here was truly amazing. On top of that, in the year of the “skateboarding game revival” that occurred, it’s good to see a skateboarding game take home an award.
But how did the community feel about this year’s alternative sports game of the year?

Community Vote – Best Alternative Sports Game In 2020

  1. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
  2. Super Mega Baseball 3
  3. Retro Bowl

super-mega-baseball-3-p3

Admittedly, I’m not a huge baseball guy, but I’ve played enough of Super Mega Baseball 3 to understand the appeal. The game brings an arcade and over-the-top style to America’s greatest pastime. Mixing realistic gameplay with exaggerated character models and over-the-top animations, SMB has become a fan favorite, and rightfully so. No one does indie sports games better than Metalhead, and that remains true here.

And, for me, the thing I like most is how detailed SMB 3 is. Over the years, we all watched as the popular baseball video game franchise continued to grow, developing more and more layers, and this past year was no different. The New EGO system gives users more control and, in return, makes the game more challenging. This new feature, coupled with the in-depth customization options and revamped franchise mode adds a whole new dynamic to Super Mega Baseball. Moreover, like Retro Bowl and THPS, Super Mega Baseball 3 is nearly flawless. A true three-sided coin flip!

In the end, you can make an argument for both Super Mega Baseball 3 and Retro Bowl as this year’s runner up. But ultimately, none of that matters because the community and staff have spoken. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2‘s transition to a newer generation was a smash hit and, as we mentioned earlier, could be the start of something extraordinary.
21 years have passed since the debut of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and as we showcased throughout this article, the first kick, push is every bit as good as the last.
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  1. As someone who owned Tony 1 and 2 for both the PS1 and Dreamcast (and most of the other mainline titles), I was a little skeptical from the abysmal Tony HD remake by Robomodo and that I had played these games to death, what was there to revisit?
    Thankfully, Vicarious Visions know a thing or two about classic Tony in their history, and to my second pondering, the answer was "everything else in there"? This was almost as radical a remake as FFVIIR; the original stage goals I have burned to memory and had no real interest in repeating these days were an afterthought to the insane amount of new challenges offered, while the post-THPS2 moveset opened up lines I could only dream up before. The graphics were stunning, the additional music on top of all the old favorites were fantastic aside from one or two duds to toggle off (Machine Gun Kelly? yech.), online plays has been a blast, and learning the new skaters has got me looking up their videos and history (Lizzie Armento is from my hometown!)
    They didnt cop out with just rezzing-up the originals and called it a day, but basically created the game as if it was the first-ever THPS game released in 2020, and once again had me blistering my thumbs to the wee mornings, still needing one more run. If someone was new to THPS, this is a primer in why we loved it. If you were an old fan, it was a reminder why you loved it.
    Cheers to that.
    This is also a reminder that skateboarding games rule, and it's so weird that we hit such a lull of them for basically a whole generation.
    Session isn't yet a full game by any means, but I am very stoked in its control mechanics and by how its Kickstarter sparked Skater XL, and has shown EA that there is still a craving for a Skate 4 to be made. I'm sure this THPS 1+2 Remaster could be attributed to that as well.

I like video games and the miami dolphins.

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