Swedish director Ludvig Gür’s “Pretending I’m a Superman – The Tony Hawk Video Game Story” is focused on Tony Hawk, the legendary pro skater and gaming guru, who transformed both skating culture and the skater gaming genre with peerless success in this new documentary. Hawk is synonymous with skateboarding and the synergy of his love for skateboarding and video games led to a new genre of skater games and his unlikely meteoric financial success.
The documentary examines Tony’s rise in the skater lifestyle that morphed into a professional sports career and how it delivered him into the gaming world first as a consultant and eventually as an essential part of the creative process of unique skater-themed video games. His presence and experience as a skater added excitement and authenticity to the game genre. His rise in the skater world, and consequently the games, led to wide expansion of the sport and provided the foundation to popularize the skater lifestyle, turning it into to a sustainable culture that thrives beyond its meager beginnings in the 70s and beyond the hardcore skater culture to a new mass audience.
Tony and his cadre of skater friends inhabit the body of the documentary. The topics include skater tricks and how the transition from Vert vs Street skating was essential to the way things played out for those involved in the sport. Skating was and is ever evolving. This means skaters had to know how to innovate and adapt to new situations while the sport was constantly changing. Tony tells his story and then is joined by friends and fellow skaters that shared his journey through the thick and thin of it all. The expanse of the doc reaches from the early raw beginnings of skater kids working it out to adults who become successful and world-renowned skater pros. We follow their transition to icons through the mind-blowing expansion of skater games that transformed their lives during the 90s and beyond. Critical mass was achieved in 1999 with Tony Hawk’s “Pro Skater” game, which shook up the video game world when it sold 9 million copies upon release. It defined the genre and launched multiple pro careers. There are interviews with Steve Caballero, Rodney Mullen, Chad Muska, and Jamie Thomas that flesh out the journey. There is new, never-before-seen footage of Tony to add to the adventure, giving the doc some extra punch. These video games made hit records and introduced skater music and aesthetics to the whole world. It’s a culture that spanned the globe in a few short years. It was gaming that built Tony’s million-dollar track and allowed him to experience unexpected success and the ability to provide for his family while building a gaming empire. It’s an inspiring story of hard knocks, difficult times, and glorious successes. Tony used these successes to lift skater culture and transforms his friends’ lives. It’s heartwarming and inspiring. It’s a doc that the whole family can enjoy and share with friends.
“Pretending I’m a Superman – The Tony Hawk Video Game Story” becomes available on video platforms including on AppleTV on August 18th.