Extreme sports have been around for a long time. There's high risk, intense physical activity and no teammates to rely on. It's not just sport; it's lifestyle. Just like gaming, society's view on the alternative activities has changed a lot over the years. Here are some of the games that helped make it happen.

All Terrain Vehicles are often overlooked when it comes to action sports. The riders take just as big of risks as the motocross riders, and they get hurt just as bad. Riding on four wheels can be a lot of fun, as shown with this game. It was successful enough to have numerous sequels made, and it offered a nice alternative to traditional racing games.

Following in the footsteps of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, this game was kind of overlooked by many gamers. It wasn't quite as good as Activision's hit a year earlier, but it was fun and polished enough to get a spot on my list. It also had one of the most bizarre unlockable characters, which unfortunately was the beginning of unnecessary advertising in games.

When some people think of extreme sports, the film Rollerball comes to mind. Deathrow is the Rollerball of video games. Set in the distant future, the sport is called Blitz and players do whatever is necessary to win. Competitors vary from convicts to the military, to drugged up, genetically modified super humans. A sport like Blitz is about as extreme as it gets.

Finally, a game for the inline skater. After playing numerous skateboarding and BMX games, rollerbladers finally got a game of their own. With familiar controls and a popular soundtrack, fans of rollerblading quickly got hooked. What really set Aggressive Inline apart from its competitors were the unique levels and goals in the game. Not every game lets you destroy civic centers and museums, or skitch rollercoasters and airplanes. I chose the Xbox version because I liked skating to my own music as well as the game's soundtrack.

One of the first games I ever got for the Nintendo 64 is still one of my favorites. Although the game itself is kind of short, it had some cool unlockables. It was humorous to ride as a panda, or have a penguin as a board. This game also had impressive graphics. The snowfall was the best I saw in any game at the time.

If you were one of the few lucky kids who got a PS2 for the Holidays in 2000, this was a great game to get. The snowboarding was stylish, and had everything you needed in a launch title. The game play was fun and the graphics and sounds were excellent. The snow-covered slopes went together perfectly with the weather outside. Why can't other console launch titles be as good as this?

Jet Grind Radio was the closest thing to a rollerblading game before Aggressive Inline came out. However, Sega didn't just try to cash in on the success of other extreme sports games. Jet Grind Radio was a futuristic, cel-shaded, action sports game that had a much deeper story. It combined inline skating, graffiti, and underground music to make it stand out from the competitors. With games like this, I still wonder why the Dreamcast was so short-lived.

This is a classic arcade game. Drop in a few quarters if you can find one nowadays. Although the circular joystick took some time to get used to, it worked well. The realistic and ridiculous obstacles could be enjoyed by both skaters and non-riders alike. 720º sported some very impressive graphics for its time. It was a pioneer for skateboarding games and 3-D gaming itself.

One of the first extreme sports games ever created, Excitebike paved a path for future games in the genre. It was a fun racing game that can still be enjoyed on many of Nintendo's more recent consoles or handheld systems. This game also had a pretty cool track editor. Wii owners should definitely look into getting this on Virtual Console.

It is the father of modern extreme sports games. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater expanded upon the cultural phenomenon of skateboarding. Numerous games have been made in the same style as this, but none have been as successful. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater inspired many kids to go out and try something new. Some people such as me have stuck with it. The franchise has changed a lot over the years, but still holds true to its original roots.

There you have it, the top 10 extreme sports games. It was difficult choosing the order because they all brought something new to the table. There were also many other games I considered that I couldn't include. There were no sequels on the list because sequels are rarely as ground-breaking as the original game.

List by BalisongMaster (07/20/2007)

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