New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Consumer Complaints, Tony Hawk


December 29th, 2010

A Tony Hawk Christmas (Shred Game, Updated)

If Christmas Day isn’t the slowest day of the year for a law blog, then it’s darn close.  But not this year. Rather than see a spike downward, I saw a spike upward and comments started to pour in.

Because on Christmas, it seems, a lot of kids open presents. And many of those kids were unfortunate enough to receive a Wii game created by skateboarder Tony Hawk, which I reviewed a month ago: SeeTony Hawk’s Shred for Wii by Activision (Review: How Many Ways Can you Say Awful?)

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read that review and return.

Welcome back. It seems I wasn’t alone in finding problems calibrating the skateboard controller to the Wii. In fact, since that posting a month ago, a couple thousand people have stumbled in here to view it, with over a thousand using some combination of the word Hawk and calibrate, using search terms like these:

Tony hawk shred calibration
tony hawk shred calibration wii
tony hawk shred board won’t calibrate
how to calibrate tony hawk shred
can’t calibrate tony hawk shred
what do i do if the tony hawk shred calibration doesnt work?
cannot get tony hawk shred board to do initial calibration with wii

There are hundreds of these search combinations as people wasted hours on Christmas Day trying to get this computer game to work, and then had to scour the Internet for information as they tried to find some way to put a smile on a kid’s face because the gift sucked the big wazoo. A nice way to spend Christmas with the family, right? This was my favorite comment on my first posting on the subject, from “Laura”:

electrical engineer PhD husband who can fix ANYTHING could not resolve the calibration problem

But the agony of children across the land on Christmas does have its humor, if you like black humor that is. There were lots of comments and ideas on how to get the thing working, such as:

  • Try “gently used” batteries
  • Turn the lights off in the room
  • Hold the controller right next to the game system
  • Rotate the console so the “dongle” is in a different position relative to the board
  • Elevate the board to a height not recommended by the game’s maker
  • Move all furniture away from the game
  • Remove all metal in the area

Several seemed ready to hang Hawk from the nearest light post, though I may be reading between the lines. Messing with a kid’s Christmas, oddly enough, tends to bring out unhappy parents. A couple suggested class action lawsuits against Hawk for putting this lemon on the market.

Can you imagine? Some gently used athlete puts out a game where you have to possibly find gently used batteries, turn out the lights, put the game on a pedestal and adjust its dongle. Trust me, the set up instructions that came with the game don’t read that way. Maybe said athlete has spent a little too much time on his own pedestal. Perhaps Hawk has a defective dongle. Perhaps he thinks he can do no wrong. Yet wrong is exactly what he did.

I went to the Tony Hawk Shred website (coded “nofollow“) to see if there was an apology there for the thousands of screwed over customers who had wasted untold hours with sad-faced children looking on. I like to amuse myself that way sometimes, pretending that those who owe apologies are sane enough to actually issue one. You may not be surprised to learn that there were none to be seen.

The site even has a blog that I checked. It’s last entry is dated November 29, 2010. It says to “Stay tuned for weekly updates.” They seem to have missed a few weeks during the biggest sales time of the year.

Hawk, perhaps, knew that he laid an egg, though he didn’t yank the game from the market. (Or he’s completely clueless, take your pick.)  Maybe he’s now looking for just the right crisis manager to put out an artfully worded statement. Now that the money is in the door.

13 thoughts on “A Tony Hawk Christmas (Shred Game, Updated)

  1. Pingback: Tony Hawk’s Shred for Wii by Activision (Review: How Many Ways Can you Say Awful?) – New York Personal Injury Law Blog

  2. We bought the game for our kids and my husband said it is a piece!!!!! I think he(Tony) should refund us all our money and get better progamers.

  3. I think the blame is probably Activision’s. I doubt Tony Hawk had any role in the technical development or testing of the game. Activision probably just licensed his name.

  4. Pingback: U-Haul and it’s Lousy Customer Service – New York Personal Injury Law Blog

  5. so sad, we recently purchased this for our 6 yr old; Santa found it at a discount store; first red flag. Been trying all morning to get it going. reading this site has me convinced its not going to happen!

  6. I finally calibrated it I put in two old and two new batteries and put the board parallel tithe screen and with the buttons facing away from the tv. Also try to level the board out with the wii censor bar.

  7. Here’s what finally worked for me: Changed batteries (from the ones that came with game) had sensor on same level (about) as receiver And (this was what I think really made the difference) removed the USB chip from Skylander game that was still in out Wii. Yay! Works great now and kids are having blast!

  8. Hmmm… Got the game at a discount store, $20.00
    on impulse buy. Kids were in bed when I got home so I left it in the living room for them to see when they wake up for school. I figured it was a older model and for twenty bucks it should be fun.

    I did a quick search for it using Google to see if I did get a good deal or was it 20 bucks every where. Amazon was 40.00 but as I looked it has a lot of bad reviews 171 reviews and 94 were 1 star. I started reading and thought I know why it was at the discount store.

    So why the kids went to school I thought I would give it a quick try to see for myself.

    I opened it up and the first thing the damn battery holder has a screw in it. I really hate this, so after finding the right screw driver that fits the screw I put the batteries that came with it in. I turned on the TV and Wii put in the disk plugged in the USB hub that comes with the board for it to work. I pushed the button and nothing no lights on the board, the side looks kinda like the Wii controller. I got the screw driver back out and took out the batteries. I went to the battery box and no AA batteries at all. I took the batteries out of the Real Wii controllers and screwed the back on the fake skateboard. The lights came on YA! Now I can’t get the game started as the Wii remote batteries were now in the back of the fake skateboard, with no other batteries in the house I took them out of the TV remote and placed them in the Wii remote so I can flip through the menu of the game. Here is the big test got to the calibration of the board. Tony come on the screen and tells you what to do. It took about 10 min to calibrate it I did one part wrong and had to do it again, My fault. I played for about an hour. It was working and it was fun. I took it all back apart put it all back in the box. When the kids got home they opened it. I had went to the store and had new batteries in place of the ones that came with it. We played for about 2 hours and had no problems at all. We did not even have to do the calibration again when the new batteries were put in. We will see how it holds up as I’m 210 lbs and did not see a weight limit any place.

    I’m happy so far