Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Absolute Ent. Skate Boardin’ -Atari 2600
Retro Gaming Review

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewAbsolute Entertainment Skate Boardin' for Atari 2600 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: Skate Boardin’
Manufacturer: Absolute Entertainment
Platform: Atari 2600
Release Date: 1987
Part #: AG-042
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Absolute Entertainment Skate Boardin' Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
Absolute Entertainment Skate Boardin' Screenshot:
Absolute Entertainment Skate Boardin' for Atari 2600 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Skate Boardin' was distributed by Activision and had all the marketing hallmarks of skateboarding in the late 80s. The box cover nails it- wild patterns, bright clashing colors and a shit-ton of fun on a 10" wide skate deck! Hell yeah! It is hailed as one of the first skateboard games to hit home consoles, despite not quite living up to the radical skate scene of it's time.

Having seen Tony Hawk nearly monopolize the gaming world of skateboarding, you have to give credit to Absolute Entertainment for attempting such a feat with the limited capability of the Atari 2600 long before anyone had really conceived of a skateboarding game.

This is certainly a game that needs to be examined in the context of it's release date. This was 1987 and skateboarding was laden with style from clothing and music to groundbreaking moves and tricks. Shit was blowing up, folks! In light of all this, Skate Boardin' didn't really have the same flare. But how could it? The 2600 didn't have the horsepower to keep up with skating's hellions. It had good sound, responsive play, but it would be impossible to live up to the energy of late 80's skate scene.

Minding that disclaimer... We fucking love this game. We couldn't in good conscience give it the "4 Ships" we really wanted to award it, but it's a fun game with good intention. Just add beer!

Skate Boardin' Story Arc

Jump on that board and get psyched for a totally intense cruise!

Holy shit! Check this out...
Skate Boardin' was created by former Activision programmer David Crane who created Pitfall!. It's probably the first skateboarding based video game long before Tony Hawk put his name on video gaming's top sk8 franchise.
Despite failing to be a successful skateboard-based game, a sequel was released in 1988 for the Atari 7800 called Super Skate Boardin'. Skate Boardin' was re-released in 2002, as part of the Activision Anthology collection.

You're late for school and your skateboard is the best means of getting there on time. Racing against the clock you have to maneuver around and grind 30 obstacles in 5 minutes, making sure you get to the front steps of the school before time runs out. You start on the steps of your house and have to get to the school yard and the school's steps. Radical! (Yeah, they use the word radical a few too many times in the manual).

The number of obstacles you conquer in five minutes determines your rating - which ranges from "Spaz" to "Totally Awesome". You don't have to conquer all the obstacles, but the clock keeps running until you get to the school's steps or it zeros-out. Getting to school on time doesn't seem like a truly worthy goal - shouldn't it be about ditching school? I guess there were some morals to deal with in development. We can only hope that getting to school on time gets you a seat next to the class hottie.

Skate Boardin' Game Play

With 5 minutes on the clock, slap the reset button to get things started. You've got 30 obstacles to tackle from the time you leave the steps of your house to the time you get to school. Your time remaining and number of obstacles remaining display at the top of the screen. Tubes and ramps count toward conquered obstacles, the rest just slow you down (but feel free to grind anything on your journey).

You are essentially exploring a maze that allows you to move off screen and reappear on the next screen in the same relative place. You can traverse the grassy areas, but they slow you down. If you were actually out skating, you'd push a few times (not Mongo, mind you) and get back up to speed. Skate Boardin' doesn't afford this obvious luxury. Once you've slowed down, your choices are hitting an obstacle to de-board and start up by jumping back on your board or let the grass slow you to a stop. Otherwise your race against time seems to slide by in super slow-motion. Ugh!

Hit the ramps at the lower edge to get some air and hold down the fire button to crouch as you pass through the tubes. Each obstacle only needs to be conquered successfully once - added attempts won't alter your score. You can try to boost your score by familiarizing yourself with the maze and seeking shortcuts. See! There's a little bit of Pitfall! in the strategy. Does borrowing = steeling when its the same developer?

If you think this game isn't "sk8" enough for ya... try skitching. That's right the old "Hang onto a passing car for a speed boost" trick can be achieved if you latch onto the truck that passes by the Stop sign. Now that's fucking cool!

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Final Judgement:

Absolute Entertainment Skate Boardin'

may be simple and a tad rough around the edges, but if you look at it from an 80s perspective, there's plenty of fun to be had. From taking big air (you can get some impressive lift) to skitching, getting to school on time is hella fun. Don't compare it to Tony Hawk's franchise of today. Enjoy Skate Boardin' for it's late 80s creativity.

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