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Tony Hawk Gets Taken For A Ride

As much as I enjoy my Nintendo Wii, it does have a drawback -- gimmick gameplay. It's a trend that has to be killed off as quickly as possible as people incorporate motion controls and other bullshit instead of making games that are actually fun to play (yes, I'm looking at you, Data Designs).

Tony Hawk -- Pro Skater has been MIA for a long time now. The first games were fantastic and fun, even if you didn't like skateboarding. But eventually, things got more outlandish in setting and less inventive and the series stalled out. It wasn't helped by frequent release schedules which Activision tried to stretch out. But they figured the time was right to bring Hawk back. Neversoft, who created the original Hawk games, is currently busy with Guitar Hero, so duties were handed off to Buzz Monkey. The only previous credit I can find for them is Tomb Raider: Legends on the PSP. There was plenty of buzz about the new game hitting November 17.

That is, until the game actually hit the stores. Clocking in at a massive $120, it comes with a board players stand on and it is supposed to sense your movements. Please notice the "supposed" part of that sentence. The detection is really spotty, making Helix look like the most precise motion sensing game in history. You know, when Neversoft got the brief to make the first Hawk game, they were so determined to capture the fun and excitement of skateboarding that they actually built a halfpipe in the parking lot and everyone on the dev staff, including the music director, was required to learn to skate it. That's how determined they were to make a great game. Buzz Monkey got behind a poor peripheral. Despite Hawk himself talking sequels and defending the game from critics who blasted the price and controls, it has to date sold under 114,000 copies, which is below even the most pessimistic expectations.

This might be the end of the skating trend. Had a crew that really knew what it was doing gotten involved, and had they just stuck with regular controls instead of a gimmick controller about as accurate as the Power Glove, it could have been a hit. Instead, everyone put so much faith in a gimmick, they forgot to make it good. Activision is really hurting this holiday, with Guitar Hero World Tour, DJ Hero, and Hawk Ride underperforming, and retailers angry because the games with gear require extra shelf space that could be going to product that actually sells.

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