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How a 2D skating game is harder and more “real” than the Tony Hawk series

By on January 23, 2014 0

Roll7 co-founder John Ribbins has been thinking about a 2D skating game since he was a kid.

“I used to draw all the tricks as pixel animations, but I didn’t have the skills to make it into a game,” he told Gameserver. The Tony Hawk series came and went, and skateboarding culture made its way into mainstream audiences, but there was still a hole when it came to board games. This is the niche that the Vita game OlliOlli hope to fill.

The problem, and few games address this basic fact, is that skating is a very difficult thing to do.

You gotta bleed before you sing

Thrasher: skate and destroy, for me it was the seminal skating game, ”said Ribbins. “Because it was really hard. If you were playing it in hardcore mode, you had to press square to land, and that was the coolest mechanic. You had to do your trick. “

The idea of ​​”hitting” the trick, the skill to put it all together at the end, was carried over to OlliOlli. Players must press the X button just before the on-screen skater hits the ground. Failure to do so leads to a stumbling end to your combo and a much lower score.

It’s all about timing, finishing a long set of tricks with the push of a perfectly timed button. It may seem simple on the page, but in practice it can be difficult to remember to press this button, and even more difficult to master the timing needed to complete the turn after also learning how to chain turns in combos. .

The game is easy to pick up and try out, but it will take an investment on the player’s part to master learning and then landing combos, and even more hours will be spent trying to make your way through. rankings.

It’s the rare modern game that requires you to grit your teeth in failure after failure before you taste success. “You will fail so, so many. You will fail dozens of times after forgetting to land your towers,” the Polygon reviewer said.

“You’ll explode your 100-trick combo just inches from the finish line. You’ll jump cleanly over the rails you were trying to correct and land in a dumpster instead.” It’s always easy to restart your run, so the cost of these failures is low, but you’ll watch yourself eat the sidewalk for a long time before you have a blast.

It was also by design, and Ribbins explained that you can often get a bad impression of how easy these tricks are to achieve while watching Youtube videos. “You see the guy who nailed that huge 50-step staircase, he didn’t just go up and nail the first time, he slammed 50 times trying to nail it,” he said. “Skating is often a matter of persistence, of saying ‘you can do this, you can do this.’ You don’t really get that in skating games. “

The street is harder than it looks

I spoke with Gary Collins, who owns Instrument Skateboards and the Galaxy Skateshop in Cincinnati Ohio, and he agreed: Skating is a lot harder than it looks in games.

“Obviously it’s 1,000 times harder to really do it. I know that Mocker game that came out was more realistic, but it was still a video game, ”he told GamesServer. “Real skating is going to be a lot harder than that. It was at this time that I realized Mocker had more credibility in the skating world than I had assumed growing up; the game appeared several times in the conversation while researching this story.

The illusion of ease and the possibilities of what can be done on a board has also been expanded by the ease of finding skate videos.

“If you’ve started today, you’re more aware of what’s possible because there are so many skateboard racks available at the click of a button,” Collins said. “Back then, people had to get DVDs and watch a video, and we actually had to buy VHS. “

This is another area where OlliOlli stands out from other skating games; the focus is on street skateboarding, grinds and kickflips. There is very little green skating in the game, and this is in stark contrast to the Tony Hawk series, which often features monstrous ramps and exaggerated airtime.

“What’s strange, isn’t it?” Said Ribbins. “Talk to any kid on the street on a skateboard, and they don’t skate in green. It’s a weird thing, if you’re a kid who skates and you play a video game. skating it might be different in USA but in UK there are not a lot of parks. If you play a skate video game and your hero is a green skateboarder and you really like it. green, there are very few places you could go to get Christ air. not so many green ramps. “

“Back then, people had to get DVDs and watch a video, and in fact, we had to have VHS. “

On the other hand, a flat ground is enough to practice a kickflip. It is not difficult to find rails in your neighborhood. OlliOlli It might seem like a simple 2D version of skating, but it offers a version of the sport accessible to most players no matter where they live. The game also hints at the repetition and muscle memory required to perform these tricks with a real board. “The hard part maybe isn’t getting the board to do the thing, but getting it to land afterwards,” said Ribbins.

That’s why that last push of the button to land each round is so beautiful. It creates a sense of rhythm and adds punctuation to the game. If each combo is a phrase, the last button press is the point. You’ll forget all the times you’ve scratched your face on the stairs once you land that perfect combo, and suddenly the whole practice seems worth it.

Graphics can be two-dimensional and visuals can be relatively simple, but OlliOlli gives you a taste of the sport that is, in many ways, more “real” than the Tony Hawk series.


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