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4B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 21, 2004
The Michigan Dail
'Tony Hawk 2' improves, keeps 1
SHOW 'EM WHAT THEY CAN KISS
DETROIT S NEW RADICALS BUILD BASE AMID POVERTY
By Steve Cotner
Daily Arts Writer
Lee is nervous. "Of course I'm nervous,"
she says, "I haven't worn a skirt this short
since eighth grade." She is rail thin, pale,
with straggly brown hair and a small, tobac-
co-tooth smile that still manages to charm.
She is one of Detroit's only Radical Cheer-
leaders. Her body hides awkwardly under
fishnet stockings, a clingy shirt, a spiked
belt and the dreaded skirt, a strip of black
fabric that never manages to cover her lower
thighs. Last night she made pom-poms.
I'm looking at the zines for sale at the Idle
Kids Info-shop on Detroit's Cass Avenue
when she comes up to me. These are self-
published works by local writers who are
nostalgic for the Xerox cut-and-pasterevolu-
tion. There are dozens of them on the racks
with names like "Frolic," "Golden Kitsch,"
"White Crow: a literary scavenger," "The
Copy Cafe," "Xerography Debt,"'and "Con-
crete: Think like a mountain." Lee points
out one and says I should buy it. The price
is 50 cents for a girl's private thoughts and
rainbow-themed doodles. Lee defends her
taste by saying, "I'm a little scatterbrained."
She is going to perform a cheer later on,
after the anarchists, socialists, anti-authori-
tarians, punks and poets have their say. The
sun is setting outside over churches and
parking lots as these people circle up for a
The new home of these radicals sits on
a very old road in Detroit. It was a farm
boundary line named for Lewis Cass,
the man who became Michigan's territo-
rial governor in 1813 and helped create the
state's first regularly published newspaper,
the Detroit Gazette, which sold for $4 a year
to city subscribers. Cass might have become
some sort of inspiration to us if he had won
his 1848 bid for U.S. president. But today,
his name is synonymous with the Cass Cor-
ridor, the area of Detroit that in the 1960s
became home to the most concentrated
poverty in the state of Michigan, and one of
the most impoverished areas in the nation.
On the ground, one would never know
the place had such a distinct history; it is
mostly a sprawl of tired-looking buildings
and vacant lots. Revitalization projects have
reclaimed a few houses, and further down
along Cass Avenue there are some grand
old apartments for the Wayne State Uni-
versity community. But at 3535 Cass Ave.,
the Idle Kids Info-shop is hidden in plain
daylight. The only things saving the brick
building from oblivion are the sign near the
door and the windows that are spray painted
to read "CDs, Records, Skateboards."
The irony is that the street of a national
leader and friend of the press is now home
to radicals who fear the mainstream press
and seek to overthrow the state. But Cass
himself is ancient history these days. The
starting point for comprehending the Cor-
dor should be the 1960s, when poverty and
political activism set it on its present course.
In 1965, the Detroit Artists Workshop
founders John Sinclair and Robin Eichele
wrote of the need for a counter-community,
since "Detroit, despite all its pretensions,
has been artistically 'dead' for longer than
By Adam Rottenberg
Daily Arts Editor
With "Tony Hawk's Underground
2," it is impossible to ignore the old
adage, "the more things change;
the more they stay the same." And
therein lies the crux of the problem
sixth installment Tony Hawk's
in the venerable Underground 2
all of the glossy Gamecbe
updates and slick
new moves, the
While the gross-out humor tends
to turn the game more into "Bam
Margera's Pro Skater," the lev-
els and challenges remind players
of the older games in the "Tony
Hawk" series. Moreover, in a nod
to traditionalist fans out there,
"THUG 2" features a "Classic"
gameplay mode. Classic strips the
game down to its two-minute-chal-
lenge roots, but uses the new levels
and abilities. Don't worry, if the
player wants the full effect of nos-
talgia, then he can return the game
to its original moveset, removing
moves like manuals or reverts.
The greatest strength of "THUG
2," and the "Tony Hawk" series in
general, lies in its tight controls.
"THUG 2" sticks with the tried-
and-true formula, but still finds
room to make a few additions.
While neither the sticker slap, nor
the Nayas spin revolutionize the
gameplay like "THUG's" caveman,
they do offer slight alterations. Of
those two moves, the sticker slap
most easily fits into the combos
that make "Tony Hawk" games so
Aesthetically, the visuals are on
par with "THUG," but don't really
appear that much changed. Yet, the
soundtrack is upgraded signifi-
cantly, featuring nearly 60 licensed
songs as diverse as Johnny Cash,
Frank Sinatra and Rancid. What-
ever the player's musical prefer-
ence, the songs in the game should
Though the series is showing its
age and limitations, "THUG 2" is
incredibly fun and addictive. Hard-
core "Hawk" fans will be hard-
pressed to not spend hours finding
every gap and hitting every line.
However, "THUG 2" will not bring
in new players who didn't appreci-
ate other entries in the series.
Get off your ass, put on your Vans
and get outside, lazy.
Courtesy of Activision
has remained virtually unchanged
since the original - which isn't
necessarily a bad thing.
So, what is new in "THUG 2?"
Basically, the developers changed
the story mode. It now centers
on a competition between Tony
Hawk's team against skateboarder
Bam Margera's team in an effort
to cause as much chaos as possible
around the globe - think a stan-
dard episode of MTV's "Viva La
Bam." Whereas last.year's edition
focused on the meteoric rise of a
user-created skater, this game pan-
ders to the "Jackass" crowd.
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