Skateboarding Your Way to Family Fun

Geek Culture

With the weather turning colder and the kids still wanting to burn some energy, you can stay inside, grab some big air, and skate or snowboard your way to fame and high scores with Activision’s Tony Hawk:SHRED. We’ve had a review copy of the Wii game for a few weeks in our home. In that time, the entire family has been trying out the tricks and working to get faster times or higher scores on the different courses.

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SHRED (sold as a stand-alone game if you’ve got a skateboard controller from an earlier Tony Hawk game or a game/skateboard bundle) is available for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and the Wii. After calibrating the skateboard controller (something you have to do with each profile and whenever you change the batteries), you’re ready to go through a training run to learn the basics. We found it easier to use the Wii controller, but both the board and the Wii controller can be used to navigate the menus and set game options if you want.

The first skateboard course is set in New Orleans. As you score more points you start unlocking additional courses (like Bristol and Morocco) and new characters. Right from the start you are pushed to go big – huge jumps, fast drops and lots of places to pull impossible stunts. If you’re after speed, run your foot next to the board to make your character push for a burst of speed. If you’re after tricks, go for big air and move your hand by the sensors or move the board like a real skateboard for building up trick points.

The one setting that has made this fun for the entire family (including the GeekMom!) is the navigation. It ranges from casual (where you have a guided path that branches from time to time) – so you can focus on tricks or speed instead of navigating the course – to hardcore (where you get no help) and all the navigation is up to you. Each one of us can use a navigation setting that challenges us.

It seems in our home, that just like Wii Bowling, the youngest child is the best at the skateboarding and snowboarding. Although, full disclosure this GeekDad has schooled his son who skateboards in real-life a couple times in the video game. We’ve had the additional surprise of seeing different people unlocking new characters and levels. Our favorite character is a policeman that has enjoyed a bunch of donuts but can shred as well as Tony Hawk himself.

WIRED: fun E-rated game that the entire family can play, a good range of options to challenge everyone, the surprises of unlocking new courses, characters, and character outfits.

TIRED: calibrating the board with each battery change.

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