We're back again with another trip to the realm of gaming nostalgia here on Balls.ie as we attempt to convince you that some of the absolute best sports games we ever played were, in fact, the best video games of all time.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 was released on October 28, 2001, and for many it was the absolute pinnacle in rebellious teenage wannabe-punk-rock gaming. MTV's Jackass was ruling the ratings on TV, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park were keeping Golden Discs in business, and teenage boys all over Ireland were making absolute fools of themselves by wearing massive hoodies and spending hours on end trying to land a kick-flip.
For those of us who never could land a trick other than a half assed pop-shove-it, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 was where we expressed ourselves, and many a weekend was lost trying to find all the secret tapes and crack that high score challenge.
Here are 12 reasons why Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 was the best video game of all time.
The Neversoft intro
What a way to start a game, eh?
The skate shop
All the major skate companies had all their best selling decks for you to browse through and pick for your created skater, and for every Irish teenage boy to look at how amazing these boards were compared to the €30 Renner deck you bought from Smyths.
Pulling off ridiculous never-ending combos
The adrenaline rush! Reverts and manuals were your best friend here, as long after the countdown clock had expired you were still hearing that unique sound every time you threw a special move into the mix. Incredible.
The impeccably designed levels
Who could forget the Foundry? Rio? Suburbia? ... Cruise Ship!? The levels in Tony Hawk's 3 were what kept you coming back. Each one had their own unique challenge to complete, a well hidden secret tape to find, and of course the S-K-A-T-E letters dotted around the map for collection. Each one was absolutely brilliant.
The secret characters
If you were good enough to earn all the gold medals for every level in the game, you were rewarded with Darth Maul, as the buzz around Star Wars: Episode I was huge at the time.
Or you could just enter a cheat code like absolutely everyone did. Lara Croft was another one, and these secret characters also had unique special tricks that were often hilarious.
Whoever put the soundtrack for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 together deserves a medal, as they perfectly summed up the vibe of the time with nu-metal and punk rock tracks that made you want to rebel against the system, just as long as you were home in time for tea.
This beaut by CKY brings a flood of memories rushing back.
Grinding on absolutely everything and anything
Grinding was key to success in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, as it could extend your combo and allow you to play beyond the allotted time. As a result, you grinded on absolutely everything at every available opportunity. Cars, stairs, shops, power-cables, trees, statues, you name it, you 50-50'd on it.
Unlockable real-life pro skater highlight videos
Although the game itself was incredibly fun to play, one of the favourite features of real skateboarding fans was the unlockable highlight reels that could be viewed after accomplishing certain tasks with skaters in the game. It was unanimously decided that Rodney Mullen's was by far the best, although they were all fantastic.
Secret areas hidden in the levels
We've been on about the fantastic design of the levels before, but all of them also had a secret area that you could unlock. Some were story related, some were tough to find, all of them were great.
Playing as Bam Margera
As we mentioned earlier, 'Jackass' was absolutely massive at the turn of the century, and Bam Margera was one of the most popular characters. His inclusion as a playable character in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 was a big draw for the game, and of course, his unlockable highlight video was fantastic. Here's that CKY song again too...
The park editor
If, for some reason, you became bored of the levels packaged on the disc of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, you could design your own. Amateur architects all over the World were spending hours crafting the skate-park of their dreams, and many didn't even bother to play the game much, so good was the park editor functionality.
So there you have it, those are our reasons why Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3 was the best game of all time. Please feel free to share with us anything that made the game special for you that we may have missed, and be sure to check out our other suggestions for best game ever.
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