You have to forgive me a diversion into the topic of skateboarding for a moment. You see, this is the first autumn since 2000 that I haven't been assigned to work on a strategy guide for the latest installment in the long-running Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series of games. And the reason for that is simple: Neversoft is taking the year off. Presumably to retool the franchise in response to the surprise success of EA's SKATE. Or maybe because they just needed a year off. Or because Guitar Hero: World Tour required all hands on deck. I don't know, but I hope it's really because they're actually working on the sequel to Gun. But I doubt it.
Regardless, even though I don't skate (I used to) and was starting to tire a bit from the annual updates, I do feel like a part of me is missing this year. It's not an exaggeration to say that I actually owe the foundation of my career as a guidebook writer to that franchise. The Pro Skater games -- and their various spin-offs featuring Mat Hoffman, Kelly Slater, and Shaun Palmer -- were my bread and butter when I started out. The writing sample I submitted to BradyGames way back in the summer of 2000 was for the "The Mall" level in the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. My good fortune came calling shortly after when the author writing the guidebook for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 summoned all of his games-journalism professionalism and included such helpful tips as "If you can't do this, then you must suck" in the manuscript. Ummm, yeah. That was the last book he ever wrote for BradyGames and the next summer I was not only assigned THPS3, but also THPS2X and the aforementioned Palmer and Hoffman games. And then more of the same every year thereafter.
Right time. Right place.
So anyway, you can understand why I naturally begin to think about skateboarding this time of year. Every year. I came across this video tonight while browsing the web and I have to say that is one of the most graceful and brilliant pieces of action sports filmography I've ever seen. It's the intro for the video Fully Flared and it is absolutely mesmerizing.