No matter how uncoordinated you are in real life, spending any amount of time playing one of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games will have you assessing real-life locations for skateboarding suitability. You’ll be on the bus, imagining chained grinds and flips along the rim of shop frontages.
Watching Abandoned is similar, except Rick McCrank’s actually good at skating in real life so he gets to live the dreams of us armchair athletes. Here are five places we’d love to make proper use of:
The abandoned ghost mall is begging for it
Look, it’s going to be difficult to top one of the all-time classic levels – the mall from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 - but Rolling Acres Mall in Ohio adds a layer of grungy cool with overgrown plants, debris and other obstacles designed to ruin your longest-ever manual. Definitely some points to be picked up on that escalator, especially if you build up enough juice in your Special Bar to travel up as well as down.
North Wilkesboro Speedway is nothing but transfer opportunities
Picture this: a vast stadium, where you can defy the laws of physics by rattling along the backs of empty chairs, pausing once in a while to move to a lower row while maintaining perfect balance, before making a complete circuit of the barrier between non-existent crowd and unused track. We might have to add a ghostly hot dog vendor and a jalopy that runs you over for extra flavour.
Old nuclear facilities are totally THPS style
There’s always been a twisted sense of humour to the Tony Hawk series, whether it’s a Halloweenish mood change or making Wolverine an unlockable character. What better way to laugh at the idea of total annihilation than gliding around the interior of an abandoned nuclear facility in the Pacific Northwest? It’s the perfect ramp, even if it would be really difficult to dismount from without bailing, losing all your accumulated points and hurling the controller across the room.
School’s in, especially if it replaces the worst level ever
No matter which platform it’s on, the school playground level is always the worst. It’s infuriating, especially when you’re finally moments away from collecting the E in S-K-A-T-E and the timer runs out. This overgrown St Louis campus looks like a great replacement, especially if you can somehow get up on that ruined roof.
Detroit offers opportunities beyond a new soundtrack
Another thing these games are famous for is awesome music - and Detroit’s native musos are plentiful: The White Stripes, Electric Six, Aretha Franklin... There’s also some social commentary to be made in the ruins of Motor City, especially since skateboards don’t use petrol and... OK, fine, forget that. Check out all those sick surfaces waiting for your grindage!
This abandoned amusement park needs no explanation
Look at the remains of Six Flags New Orleans. If you’re not itching to digitally ride those rails, you had no business reading this far, Officer Dick.
Watch Abandoned on Tuesdays at 10:15pm on SBS VICELAND. You can stream previous episodes of Abandoned on SBS On Demand: