First Impressions of Tony Hawk RIDE’s Board Controller

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After seeing Tony Hawk himself pull out the long-awaited board controller for RIDE at Microsoft’s Monday press conference, I couldn’t wait to hop aboard myself. And today I got a chance.

Though Activision reps will gladly explain how intuitive and natural it feels for a skateboarding game, not much really feels right about standing on a plastic plank in front of a TV. Even so, it does feel well built for what’s still a prototype. No worries about snapping this thing.

I can’t claim to be the most coordinated person on the planet, but everything from simple rocking back and forth to steer to tilting the board back to ollie had a steep learning curve, and it wasn’t until about five times through a basic intro course that I could even complete all the basics (jump over a flaming barrel, etc.) with any degree of competence. And to be honest: Even then, I sucked.

It might have all come together eventually, but in the end, the board seems to move classic Tony Hawk button mashing to board spinning and swirling. None of the moves I executed on the board even seemed to perform the same trick, which is exactly what you might suspect the issue with this setup would be.  Just do a bunch of crazy stuff and it does tricks. Not so different from the old games, in truth, but not really much a leap forward either. It wouldn’t be fair to judge it all based on one five-minute ride, but my skepticism that a bunch of IR sensors and accelerometers can ever translate a bunch of clumsy maneuvers on carpet into a McTwist remains in place.

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