I’m with the skater boy, I said see you later boy!
Absolute Entertainment were one of several companies made up of ex-Activision staff (others being Acclaim and Accolade) that choose their name purely because it would be listed ahead of their former employers alphabetically! Founded by none other than the legendary David “Pitfall!” Crane, they became one of the biggest third party publishers for both the 2600 and 7800 in the later days of the systems. Usually they released the same game for both systems with various upgrades to the 7800 version, see titles such as Pete Rose Baseball and Title Match Wrestling, but in this case the 7800 version is a totally different game. While the 2600 game Skateboardin’ (notice the missing “Super”) revolved around you doing tricks, much more akin to modern skateboarding games such as Tony Hawks and Skate, Super Skateboardin’ for the 7800 is more like a sprawling flick screen arcade adventure!
The plot of Super Skateboardin’ explains that you are the last employee left in a giant factory at the end of the day. As all your colleagues have ducked out early and left you on your own you must make your way round the building turning off all the electrical equipment. Grabbing your trusty board, to make negotiating around the maze like factory quicker, you have to figure out the best way to complete your mission. This is done by opening and closing various doors and taking short cuts through the many air ducts. Until you play the game a few times you never know where you are going to end up, so if you are a fan of making maps then Super Skateboardin’ will be right up your street. Your laborious task must be done within a strict time limit too, making it much harder than it initially sounds. You turn the equipment off by simply touching it and you are able to perform jumps to reach higher up objects like lights. Thankfully once you have been in a room the door to it stays open, letting you know you have been there before. This is especially useful as many of the rooms looks pretty much the same. It’s a good job the health and safety officer knocked off early too because he would be having a field day!
Super Skateboardin’ looks quite nice graphically with a very good use of colour that actually reminded me a lot of a Sega Master System game due to the bright and bold tones. Unusually for a 7800 game it even has in game music, which is good at the start, but soon gets very annoying. Thankfully you can turn this off with the flick of a difficulty switch and stick with the rather average sound effects instead. Super Skateboardin’ isn’t going to set your world alight and certainly isn’t the system selling exclusive you might be looking for but what’s here is actually pretty good. The gameplay is tight, the difficulty is set just right and it’s going to be a while before you finish it. Atari 7800 owners can certainly do a lot worse than hunting down Super Skateboardin’, especially if you are looking for a more NES or Master System styled game for the system. Oh, and it also comes in pretty natty over sized box too!
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
Available on: Atari 7800 (reviewed) ; Publisher: Absolute Entertainment ; Developer: Absolute Entertainment ; Players: 1 ; Released: 16/09/2016 ; ESRB: N/A ; MSRP: N/A