Skate or Die!

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This article is about 1988 videogame. For the 2008 French film, see Skate or Die (film). For the Law & Order episode, see Skate or Die (Law & Order).
Skate or Die!
Skate or Die! cover.jpg
Cover art
Developer(s) Electronic Arts
Konami (NES)
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Ultra Games (NES)
Producer(s) Don Traeger
Designer(s) Michael Kosaka
Stephen Landrum
David Bunch
Programmer(s) David Bunch
Stephen Landrum
Artist(s) Michael Kosaka
Nancy Fong
Composer(s) Rob Hubbard
Kouji Murata (NES)
Platform(s) Apple IIGS, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, C64, NES, MS-DOS, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, Virtual Console (EU and AUS only)
Release date(s) Computers
1988
NES
1988
Virtual Console
  • PAL December 21, 2007
Genre(s) Skateboarding
Mode(s) 1 - 8 players

Skate or Die! is a skateboarding game released by Electronic Arts in 1988 for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Atari ST, Apple IIGS, Amstrad CPC, and IBM Compatibles running MS-DOS. It was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) by Konami, and published by Ultra Games. In 2007, the NES version was re-released for Nintendo's Virtual Console service in Europe (excluding France) and Australia. The Atari ST conversion was contracted to Codemasters, who contracted Kinetic Designs to do the work.

Gameplay[edit]

In the style of the Epyx "Games" series, players can compete in five different skateboarding events, either individually or sequentially. When the events are challenged sequentially, up to eight players could sign up to participate. The original Commodore 64 version was created by Michael Kosaka, Stephen Landrum and David Bunch. This group of programmers had previously been at Epyx and worked on the early "Games" titles. The idea for the game came from Producer Don Traeger, who had been inspired by a coin-operated skateboarding game from Atari called 720°.

The game featured two ramp events - the freestyle ramp and the high jump, two downhill events - the downhill race (in a park setting) and the downhill jam (in a street setting), and the pool joust. The pool joust, downhill jam, and the downhill race (in two player mode only) were all head to head, while the ramp events were single player. Except for the joust, which was a hand-to-hand knockout competition (literally and figuratively), all of the event winners were decided by a point system.

Title screenshot to Skate or Die for the NES.

Two characters were featured in Skate or Die!: Rodney Recloose, a wild man with a purple mohawk and a Marine Corps tattoo (and a facial resemblance to comedian Rodney Dangerfield) who runs a skateshop in the game, and his son Bionic Lester, an even wilder kid with a green flattop, who you were able to take on in the joust and the downhill jam. In the joust, Lester and his two cronies await the skater. Poseur Pete challenges beginners and Aggro Eddie takes on intermediate players, leaving Lester with the advanced pros.

Reception[edit]

The game was well liked with players on both the computer and console sides,[1] and inspired a winterized sequel in Ski or Die in 1989 for the C64, Amiga, Atari ST, PC and NES, and a true sequel, Skate or Die 2 in 1990, a NES-only game. Ski or Die retained the multi-event format while Skate or Die 2 veered into "adventure" territory; both games featured Rodney and Lester as key players.

The C64 version of Skate or Die! was also well liked for its introductory music, a catchy rock-flavored tune with digital samples that took full advantage of the SID chip's capabilities. Composed by Rob Hubbard, one of the world's foremost game music composers, it has become a popular tune among modern fans of SID music and remixers of such tunes. For the NES port, Konami produced an arranged version of the tune for the NES's Ricoh 2A03 sound chip.

The game was reviewed in 1988 in Dragon #132 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 2 out of 5 stars.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Choi, Yung Min (April 1988). "Sidewalk Surfin' Safari". Computer Gaming World. p. 34. 
  2. ^ Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (April 1988). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (132): 80–85. 

External links[edit]