The Wildest Gaming Party of the 2000's

John Argirovski,

August 11, 2023 9:36 AM

My favorite story from the year 2000 is a lesser known tale. I'm talking about the $10,000 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 Big Score Competition...

First and foremost, BIG thanks to FLY for sharing this story with me. I thought it was way too cool not to share...


All of us gamers dream about being in an official gaming competition, don’t we? I always wanted to be in a massive tournament like something out of the 1989 gaming movie classic, “The Wizard”.

I dreamt about playing in a gaming competition after watching 'The Wizard'
[Image Source: Wikipedia]

That dream became a reality for Hector “Fly” Rodriguez (@FlyHec) back in August, 2000.

Fly’s life was put onto a new trajectory in the year 2000, after he received the July edition of PlayStation Magazine. The magazine came with the usual playable demo disc, however, the demo included in this specific edition of PlayStation Magazine was extra special, because it was essentially a “tryout” for something BIG.

As the magazine stated, “Make sure you practice, cause you can play the demo and win $10,000”. The game? Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.

                                      July (2000) Edition of PlayStation Magazine

The competition was looking for the top-12 THPS2 players in the world, eight from the US and four international players. The top-12 contestants would be flown into San Francisco to compete for the $10,000 prize; all expenses paid, along with passes to the X-Games!

After reading about the competition, a fire was lit, and Fly got to work.

How Were The Contestants’ Scores Validated?

The THPS2 demo disc would generate a unique ‘passcode’ upon completion of a two minute session.

This ‘passcode’ would essentially validate if the manually inputted score (entered onto the Activision website) was authentic, however, this didn’t stop some contestants from attempting to input fake scores.

               Passcode from the Demo
     [Image Source: Tony Hawk’s Games Wiki]

“When the dust settled and the fake scores were removed from the leaderboard, my score was 8th in the USA! I made the cut!”

-Hector “Fly” Rodriguez

The Congratulatory Memo


At the Hotel

On August 17, 2000, Fly arrived in San Francisco and checked into the hotel. This is where he met the other contestants prior to the competition. He recalled the intense moment that occurred. “We all knew that Sean and Ben were the top dogs. Everybody was friendly with each other but we all felt the tension in the room. I was hoping to be the dark horse and quietly take the top spot”.

The Top 12 (August 17, 2000)

Arriving at the Club - The Ruby Sky

Once Fly arrived at the club, The Ruby Sky, his eyes lit up. It was like a scene out of a movie. There were hundreds of people in attendance. They had an open-bar and a buffet table that would make any foodie jealous.

“They told us there was going to be FULL entertainment” recalled Fly, “and full entertainment it was!” It was like a scene out of the movie Animal House. As Fly described it, it was a “200% party atmosphere”.

The event had celebrities there as well. The late great, Macho Man Randy Savage was in attendance. Perry Farrell, front man of Jane’s Addiction and Lollapalooza creator, acted as the DJ for most of the night! Of course, Tony Hawk, Steve Cabellero, and other pro skaters were in attendance and the celebs even mingled with the contestants throughout the event.

“They were all really down to earth” said Fly. “I was a bit star struck, especially when I met Perry Farrell, since I’m a huge fan of his work”.

The Competition Begins

Fly and the other contestants quickly noticed something different about the unreleased version of THPS2 in comparison to the demo version they received in the July edition of PlayStation Magazine. The stats were different. As any THPS fan would know, each skater has a set of 10 different stats for categories such as Air, Hang Time, and Ollie.

                                                  The 10 Stats 

“The demo had some decent stats when it came to speed, air, and manual” recalled Fly. “Those increased stats really helped us all get the scores we needed to qualify for the event. When we all tried the game for the first time at the BIG Score competition, we noticed that the stats were not boosted. It was sluggish”.

This was a game changer since all the players had preplanned their runs on the demo version. “We couldn’t reach rails and spots we learned to hit on the demo without those boosted stats.

FLY rejigging his point pressing strategy in real-time in order to compensate. Fly ended up finishing in 8th place and won $500!


"If I could go into a time machine and back to the event, I would have told myself to learn to trigger DAO with lamp stomps” 

The DAO glitch allows a player to rotate a trick after touching the ground or grinding.

Not all was lost. This experience turned Fly into a bona fide gaming competitor. He now holds hundreds of world records in games such as Track & Field, Uni Racers, and Excite Bike just to name a few.

Although Fly didn’t get the result he was hoping for at the Big Score Competition, he managed to be a part of something unforgettable, and was lucky enough to experience something that most of us gamers could only dream of.


If you would like to read the FULL article, you can check it out at "RetroGamingTings"


You need to be logged in to post a comment.

Join us