The controls for Tony Hawk games have always been known for their accessibility. Nobody has to stand on a real skateboard to understand the game. You should still have a keyboard for perfect control.
It was in the summer of 2000 when I first saw Tony Hawk's Pro Skater flicker on the screen of what is now an antique tube TV at a local youth club. I was immediately handcuffed. A game in which I move through the levels with a skateboard at breathtaking speed and perform the most absurd tricks, I had never seen anything like it. The only thing that was certain was that I wanted that too!
Just stupid that the game ran on a PlayStation, I didn't have that. The game was not released for the PC at the time, that would have struck me on my weekly trips to the video game department at Galeria Kaufhof. So my short skater dream came to an end again, because I couldn't have convinced my parents to buy an expensive console.
But at the end of the year my dream should come true. Christmas was just around the corner and the video game shelves were again thoroughly inspected, or rather the pyramid with the reduced games from the previous year. A few rows further, however, was the brand new Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 – for the PC! Unlike the reduced games, this cost a whopping 70 D-Marks. So I went to my mother’s diplomatic peak and a few hours later I proudly put the disc in the CD drive.
My former colleagues were also enthusiastic about Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2:
No controller? No problem!
A small problem arose during the configuration before the first game start. The game apparently assumed that I had a controller for the controls, which of course wasn't the case. After all, PC games are played with the keyboard! In fact, the desired keyboard presets were found in the options. Unlike most of the other games that I have known to date, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 did not rely on keys like CTRL, Alt, Shift or Spacebar to operate the game, but instead on 2, 4, 6 and 8 – on the Numeric keypad! Well, if the game allows for it, then it has to be right, I thought to myself.
So for the first time I took the (as I now know only true and correct) position to play Tony Hawk's Pro Skater: The right hand on the arrow keys and the left hand placed over the right arm on the numeric keypad. A few moments later the hangar level was loaded and the fun knew no bounds.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is still one of the best-rated games of all time:
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 took finger acrobatics to the next level by adding the Revert introduced. This was ergonomically correct on the 9 key of the number pad, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater has never been more accessible. (As I found out later, console gamers had to risk broken fingers by simply pressing one of the shoulder buttons on the rear side of the controller. It is a small miracle that controllers are still legal in 2020.)
Record hunting on the numeric keypad
My technique improved over the years, so that what Rodney Mullen has in his legs was in the fingers of my left hand. Valuable skills that also served me well in the upcoming series – most recently in Tony Hawk's Undergrund 2, one of the last parts in the series that still appeared on the PC.
When the demo of the remake Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 was finally playable on August 14, 2020, the knuckles were quickly cracked, the NumLock button activated and the fun started all over again. After a few tries, I got combos worth millions again. A strong achievement, I thought, until I saw the video of the YouTubers prevzzy who got a whopping 102 million points in a single combo.
So far I haven't been able to find a video of the demo that set a higher point record. On the other hand, I discovered one thing immediately: prevzzy not only played with the keyboard, but also with the proven, only true numeric keypad control. So if you want to be at the forefront of the high chore chase of the final game, you still have until September 4th, 2020 to get rid of the old consoles and buy a PC with a keyboard instead.
After all, there is only one correct way to play Tony Hawk's Pro Skater.