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Why did Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 include a UN-banned booby trap?

Getting to the bottom of the ‘pungee pit,’ just not literally

When I first played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, I was obsessed with the park editor. Well, to be more specific, I was obsessed with one aspect of the park editor: a pit full of sharpened spikes.

The “pungee pit” asset from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is displayed on a TV behind Brian David Gilbert, who is looking judgmentally into the camera.
Here’s the original “pungee pit” from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, with me looking judgmentally into the camera beside it.
Image: Neversoft/Activision via Polygon

I made so many skate parks using this trap. Every park would be covered in gaps built around jumping over these “pungee pits.” It’s a lovely memory from my childhood.

Fast-forward 20 years, and after having a conversation with my roommate, I finally connected the dots that this goofy spike trap of my youth was also used in the Vietnam War and is now banned by the United Nations.

That conversation made me realize that there’s probably an entire generation of people — myself included — who were introduced to this guerrilla warfare technique by a lighthearted skateboarding video game. So I decided to get to the bottom of why Neversoft chose to specifically name its spike trap a “pungee pit.”

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