Skate Or Die!

Graphics: 5
Sound: 5
Control: 4
Depth: 4
Overall: 5

Skate Or Die!

By: Michael Kosaka, Stephen Landrum &
David Bunch
Published By: Electronic Arts
Released: 1987

Skate or Die! is, without a doubt, heavily influenced by 720°, going so far as to take its name from the arcade game's "impending game over" warning. Yet it tones down the arcade, skate park feel of its inspiration for a more Summer Games style, series-of-events approach.

Said featured events include: two halfpipes (freestyle and high jump), two downhills (a park course and a street course) and pool joust. A small hub screen allows you to go between events and hit the skate shop to change your board color, get some hints or just talk the owner of the shop–who looks suspiciously like Rodney Dangerfield's more buff cousin with a purple mohawk.

I spent most of my time on the freestyle halfpipe and the park downhill courses, and enjoyed getting better with practice and a bit of luck. Finally landing a 720 on the downhill course was particularly satisfying.

While not exactly realistic (I don't remember jousting in empty swimming pools ever becoming a thing, let alone a sport), it captured the general vibe of skateboarding better than anything, until Tony Hawk came around over 20 years later. Probably the definitive C64 game on the sport, Skate or Die! is still fun today.

-Ben Langberg