Generally, you don’t expect anything even remotely resembling a “plot” to surface in a “sports” video game — especially one about skateboarding (and no, I will not be diving into the “Is skateboarding a sport?” argument: let’s just say it stands a better chance of being one than NASCAR). You expect to hop on your board, do some tricks, and maybe hear some of that “emo” and/or “ska” music that the kids these days seem to like.
With Shaun White Skateboarding, however, we actually get something that does in fact remotely resemble a plot. Granted, it isn’t much of one — it’s minimalistic at best — but it does tend to make things more interesting for those of us who couldn’t tell you the difference between a skateboard and a plain ol’ plank of wood with four wheels.
Shaun White Skateboarding opens with one of those grim, bleak dystopian futuristic settings. “The Ministry” (no, not the music group) has turned the city into a grey, colorless world inhabited by mindless automatons. And then there’s Shaun White: a young lad who has somehow transcended the very fabric of time and space in order to be there. He’s also figured out how to break the entire city out of its grey slump and fight the Big Brother-esque powers of The Ministry.
But after Shaun’s arrested by The Ministry for being different, he passes his power onto you. Your weapon? A skateboard. How’s it work? Simple: by riding the board and performing tricks, you can reintroduce color, fashion, and attitude back into the world. Miraculous rails and ramps appear for you to “grind” on, and extend magically into the air so that you can improve your skills.
The downside to your newfound sense of control? Well, unfortunately, the color schematics bring with them copious amounts of graffiti, making the game look like the setting is George Orwell’s Thrashin’. The magical sense of fashion is limited to baggy pants and caps turned to every side but the front. Holes in the road cause a lot of traffic congestion, and many points of architecture reach out to impede the progress of the foot traffic.
The new attitudes the inhabitants pick up from witnessing your increasing number of tricks and stunts has them saying “Whoa” and “Dude” a lot, but, best of all, your new skateboard also brings with it the power of product placement, as exemplified by how a couple of billboards and businesses turn into plugs for Wendy’s Restaurants! Yes, even in the dystopian future, merchandising is still ridin’ high.
Oh, well, it’s still better than nothing, I s’pose.
But anyway, back to the game. Well, actually, that’s about all the game really has going for it: you transform the world around you and improve your tricks. It may be a fairly simplistic game for virtual skating newbies and pros alike, but, on the whole, Shaun White Skateboarding is a good way to kill some time without killing enemies instead.
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Shaun White Skateboarding is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes and Mild Violence. This game can also be found on: Wii, Xbox 360 and PC.