T.H.U.G. Life: 20 Years of Tony Hawk’s Underground

Tony Hawk’s Underground (or T.H.U.G. for short) is a legendary piece of work in the annals of gaming history. This game took skateboarding to a whole new level, allowing players to create their own character and skate around many different areas with many different professional boarders. Let’s take a look back at what made this game so revolutionary for its time.

Play Amongst Legends

Released in 2003, the fifth installment in the Tony Hawk franchise, Tony Hawk’s Underground, was a huge success. With an already massive following from the previous four Pro Skater games, it was almost guaranteed to be a hit. The game brought fans of skateboarding and casual gamers together for rail-grinding fun. With a roster packed with iconic skaters like Tony Hawk, Chad Muska, and Bam Margera, players join the ranks of skating houses like Birdhouse or Element, and solidify their names along with some of the greats. At the end of the game, you even got to shred it up at a KISS concert. Something about doing kickflips off the stage right next to Gene Simmons just made an already amazing game that much better.

Come up from a New Jersey no name!

Customization Greatness

In 2003, there weren’t really many games with quite as much customization as T.H.U.G.. Firstly you could completely customize your own character. There was even an online feature that allowed you to upload a picture of yourself and turn the avatar into your likeness if you didn’t feel like giving it a go yourself. There were also many weird faces, clothes, and body options that helped bring a hilarious element to the game. From a face that was just a set of eyeballs, to skeleton arms, you could make some truly weird skaters in the game. On top of the character creation, you could also build your own decks with many options. Probably the coolest part of the whole game was being able to create and customize your own skatepark. With a vast array of objects, skate ramps, rails, and landscape options you could spend hours building your dream park. You could even create your own skate challenges and missions to add to the park so you have things to do. Tony Hawk’s Underground was nothing short of revolutionary in the customization department.

Become An Icon

The story of Tony Hawk’s Underground was pretty great. You start off as an absolute nobody, with a duct-taped skateboard. After showing off in front of Chad Muska himself, you end up on the road to becoming a skating icon. Though it’s not an easy task, perfecting your own skating style, and doing some pretty off-the-wall stuff in many places around the USA, makes the game’s story flawless. You get to compete against other skaters in big competitions, ride around in different vehicles, and even run from the cops. It’s basically like living a real-life skateboarder come-up story.

Live the T.H.U.G. life!

Hours Upon Hours Of Fun

The best thing about Tony Hawk’s Underground is you never run out of things to do. Whether it be trying to beat the story with a new off-the-wall character, playing some competitive co-op with friends, building the craziest skateparks imaginable, or just cruising around the different maps trying to beat your own high scores, the fun is pretty much endless. With plenty of skaters to unlock, some throwback parks from the Pro Skater days, and the awesome customization listed above, you can spend months playing this game and never get bored. I know personally, I have probably beaten this game at least 15 times since it came out in 2003, and still go back to play it from time to time. It has never gotten old, and I truly do not think it ever will.


Tony Hawk’s Underground celebrates its 20-year anniversary this October 27th, and it truly deserves a special shout-out. Even after all these years, picking up the sticks and grinding your way through this all-time classic is just as fun as it ever was. With so much to do, and some iconic characters, it’s safe to say that T.H.U.G. has cemented itself as one of the greatest games of its time. In this day and age, scoring a copy of it can prove to be a bit daunting, or expensive, but nonetheless, if you want it bad enough you can find it. I still have my original copy, and have kept it mint, and protected for all these years because of how truly outstanding the game is. Most of the Tony Hawk games are pretty legit, and all but the rushed money grab of Pro Skater 5 are majorly successful, but Tony Hawk’s Underground is by far the staple of the entire franchise. Even when compared to its sequel, nothing in the skateboarding gaming world quite compares to this legendary title.