Tony Hawk: Ride was released on November 17, 2009 for multiple platforms. Since EA's Skate appearence on the scene, a massive shift in the skateboard game segment had taken place. Tony Hawk had pigeon-holed itself into being an arcade combo-fest, and Skate approached the genre with a more of a simulation approach. Activision took this opportunity to go back to the drawing board. Rather than give the reigns once again to the traditional Tony Hawk series developer Neversoft, the task of revitalizing the franchise was given to Robomodo. Rumors of a "skateboard" controller first circulated around December of 2008 and later proved to be true.
The skateboard peripheral is a motion sensing balance board designed in the shape of a skateboard. By tilting and twirling the board and moving hands or feet in front of the board's motion sensors, the player could in theory control the action on screen using actions meant to mimic the actual act of skateboarding. Assuming that the technology worked correctly, the player could shift weight to turn and balance grinds, kick back on the tail to ollie, and lean into airs to pull off huge spins.
Promotional hype for the game in the months leading up to its release was quiet to almost non-existent; an unusual move given the Tony Hawk franchise's history and the full-on nature of the reboot. Unfortunately, despite the work put in to revitalize the series, the game was met with a harsh critical reception.
Upon release, Ride was generally maligned by critics. While some touted the new peripheral and series direction as innovative and refreshing, most called the experience frustrating and disappointing. The skateboard peripheral drew the most ire from critics of the game, with many calling it unresponsive and that it made the game a cumbersome experience. The game itself was criticized as stripped-down and a shadow of what the series used to be. Negative reviews of the game gave it credit for trying something new and different, but said that heartily failed in execution. The price tag of $120 did nothing to help, as the skateboard peripheral that made up half of the price tag was largely considered a hardware design failure.
The game was later followed by Tony Hawk: Shred; a title also by Robomodo that uses the same peripheral and includes snowboarding challenges in addition to skateboarding. It did not fair much better among critics and tanked at retail; it sold only three thousand copies in its first week on shelves.
Tony Hawk: Ride involves the player standing on the skateboard peripheral as one would stand on an actual skateboard, tilting and spinning it around in front of the television to do different tricks. Velcro is included to attach the bottom of the board when used on a non-carpeted surface. The game requires players to have good balance, and there could be safety issues trying to preform tricks. It is recommended that players stay next to something they can hold on to, or to stop and get off the board if they feel they are about to fall. The board is designed for use by people under 300lbs.
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