Whilst snowboarding and skateboarding games are still as popular as ever with the likes of the Electronic Arts SSX (Snowboard Supercross) series and the huge range of Tony Hawk skate games continuing to dominate the market, the art of in-game surfing seems to have suffered a wipe out. In fact the nearest we’ve had in recent years is the very obscure kids game SpongeBob’s Surf & Skate Roadtrip along with Surf Safari video poker that you can get with the Royal Vegas app on your mobile. Whilst others sit patiently wondering when their next virtual surfing experience will be unveiled let us enjoy some of the classic surfing games of yesteryear.
Many old-school gamers will be very familiar with the classic Epyx sports game California Games. It was available on a number of popular platforms at the time back during its release in 1987 that included the NES, Amiga, Sega Mega Drive and ZX Spectrum. It was a hugely successful video game release and featured a whole host of California-based games to play that included skateboarding, Frisbee, freestyle footbag, roller skating, and BMX racing. The collection of games also included one of the first surfing video game experiences where players would aim to build up points by riding, jumping and successfully landing on and off the waves.
TOWN & COUNTRY SURF DESIGNS: WOOD & WATER RAGE
Back in 1988 when the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was at the height of its success the classic skateboard and surfing video game Town & Country Surf Designs: Wood & Water Rage was released. The game was sponsored by the famous Hawaii-based surfboard manufacturer T&C and the in-game characters you could play with, Joe Cool, Tiki Man, Kool Kat and Thrilla Gorilla, were based around the companies popular cartoon mascots. There were a few game alternatives which let you play against a friend alternating between the two of you and allowing you to tackle the streets with slick skateboarding action and hitting the waves in the various surf-based modes.
KELLY SLATER’S PRO SURFER
As gaming evolved so did the quality and interactivity involved in the gameplay and it was Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer that really pushed the envelope of surf-based gaming on its release back in 2002. Endorsed by world champion surfer Kelly Slater the game provided hi-res 3D models of the surfers as opposed to the pixelated 2D layouts we had been more used to up that point. The game provided the player with much more surfing authenticity and control and allowed the gamer to execute plenty more moves and jumps as you hit the waves.