With the recent remaster of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, there has never been more hype revived around skating in videogames. Whether you’re in it for the nostalgia or because you simply want to be the best, now is certainly also the time where you can prove your caliber, with the Ultimate Jam tournament in Australia right now taking submissions to filter out the most creative, skilled and entertaining runs on the circuit in the legendary Pro Skater series. Expanding the scale of the competition, world skateboard champion Renton Millar has been announced as the host for the tournament’s broadcast on 7plus and Fuel TV, using his experience as a World Cup Vert Points Champion to judge the best of the best. Before submissions close at the end of the month, we grabbed some time off Renton to talk about the future of skating in videogames, grabbing some cheeky winner’s tips along the way.
Your skate comp hosting skills are known all throughout the land. What excites you the most about hosting the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 Ultimate Jam tournament?
I’ve hosted a lot of events, but this one is pushing the boundaries between skating on and offline. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is a game close to my heart. I spent a lot of time on it when I was younger and it brings back a lot of nostalgic feelings, and it’s still just as relevant today. What’s great about this tournament is that it’s open to newbies and hardcore gamers alike and skaters who enjoy the sport in whatever form, and it’s got great coverage (being broadcast on a mainstream on-demand channel in 7plus). This project also gives me an excuse to play the game in the name of research – so it’s a win, win!
We’d love to know about your experience with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. What comes to mind when you think of playing it back in the day?
The first thing that comes to mind was playing the first promo version. I was in Germany in 1999, staying at a mate’s house who worked at a skate mag. I think he got it free even before the game was released to the public. We played it as soon as we could and the days quickly became about skating all day, and then playing the video game when we were too tired to skate. That happened for a long time. The game never got old and the new version is just as rad.
Submissions are open to people of all skill levels, what advice do you have for anyone who may be only dropping in – how do we get them to commit to competing?
We’ve got some mad prizes! We have Tony Hawk-signed Birdhouse decks plus other prizes, it should be a lot of fun. It’s also going to be really cool to have your submission broadcast on 7plus. You can head to order.army/THPS/ for your submissions before the midnight June 29 deadline.
For those who are yet to make their submission, what are you looking for? What’s going to grab your attention?
For me, it’s about the tricks and obstacles, the ones I can relate to. It’s the tricks that I could imagine doing in reality or at least are somewhat close to reality. We’re looking for super high scores, and looking forward to seeing how they use the skate parks.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 Ultimate Jam has some insane partners including ORDER, Activision, Fuel TV and 7plus. If you could look into a crystal ball, what impacts do you think the collaboration of esports and skateboarding will have on the skate scene?
It would be rad to see some competitive skate gaming. When I was a kid I played video games heaps and it was a great way to connect with others who also loved to skate. I knew kids that played it non-stop and it would be rad to be able to get paid for it.
This is a very nostalgic release, but what in your mind does the future of gaming and skating look like?
The future of skateboarding looks like a video game. The moves are so insane, and the skaters are so good. I think the future of gaming is great game development, more gamers and gender diversity, and like skateboarding, more skill with the kids that are doing it.
What could all of us do to continue supporting the industry and sport of skateboarding?
I think the best thing you can ever do for skateboarding is just to love skating, and go and skate. You don’t have to do it every day, you don’t have to do it every month. If you like skateboarding, just pick up the board and do it! It’s good for your health, your mind, your social setting, and it’s all gotta be good for the skateboarding industry and as a movement. I can’t stop, I love it, and it’s only getting better.