It looked like A Pink were going to land their first No. 1 single this week with "LUV," but the adorable girl group were blocked from the top by legendary ballad singer Park Hyo Shin's new single, "Happy Together."
"LUV" settles for second place, but A Pink can be compensated in the fact that all five tracks from their new mini-album managed to debut in the top fifty.
A few spots down, EXID's "Up And Down" jumps a huge 27 places to No. 7. As Popdust previously reported, the sudden popularity of "Up And Down" is all down to a fan-recorded video of member Hani performing the song's sexy choreography that went viral in Korea a fortnight ago.
AOA's "Like a Cat" spends a third week in the top ten at No. 10, while rapper LOCO debuts at No. 19 with "You Don't Know."
Ex-KARA member Nicole continues to struggle with her solo single "MAMA," which slips down to No. 80, but it's nothing compared to T-ara's Korean remake of the Chinese novelty hit "Little Apple," which debuts at No. 91 -- the lowest position of the group's career. However, considering that it's just a one-off special collaboration single that isn't being fully promoted in Korea, you can't really hold its chart position up to T-ara's official single releases.
Check out this week's new K-pop hits below.
No. 2. A Pink - LUV
No. 7. EXID - Up And Down
No. 41. MAMAMOO - Piano Man
No. 60. MBLAQ - Spring, Summer, Fall, And... Winter
No. 91. T-ara - Little Apple
Pro Skater 2, Skate 3, these skating games defined a generation
There was a special thrill that came from watching a pixelated Steve-O ride a mechanical bull through the streets of Barcelona.
From Nigel Beaverhausen to Bigfoot and Shrek, Steve-O was only one of the many crude unlockable characters available in Tony Hawk's Underground 2. Nailing trick combos as ludicrous as "Yee Haw + Acid Drop + grind + bull air," Tony Hawk's Underground 2 was not a game for those who couldn't suspend their disbelief, but that was always the anthology's charm. Kids who followed the series from its birth in 1999 were drawn to the game for its abundance in stupidity; exploring Area 51 in Pro Skater 1 or watching Spider-Man shred across audacious ramps in Pro Skater 2. In Underground 2, we'd send our avatars to the brink of death for no reason other than that it was fun to hear their bones crack.
Skating video games have a special place in the heart of '90s babies, mostly because the last few years have spawned no skater games that truly exemplify the genre's excellence. Pro Skater 5 was one of the most disappointing releases of all time, and 2018's Skate Jam is merely a hollow phone game with awkward controls.
However, hope was recently restored, as EA finally announced Skate 4 back in June. But thanks to COVID, it will be a long time before the project sees the light of day. As skate-enthusiasts continue to wait ever so patiently for Skate 4, let's revisit some of the best skating games that defined countless childhoods.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
While Pro Skater 1 is a certified classic, the nuanced details its sequel added made it one of the greatest video games ever to exist. The graphics were lush for a Playstation game, each of the massive sandbox levels containing minute details like graffiti and hidden areas, and the newly-unveiled create-a-character and skate-park editor modes provided players with an overabundance of customizable features that would go on to define the rest of the series. Playing alongside your friends in your own curated skate park was fantastic, ripping across them in the hopes they'd topple over mid-trick.
The soundtrack, which included a fantastic roster of Rage Against the Machine, Anthrax, and Bad Religion, was pure adrenaline. As a majority of game developers turned their attention to the imminent PS2 release, Pro Skater 2 was one of the last great games to honor its predecessor.
Just to clarify, Skate 1 and 2 were fantastic games, the latter just featured a lot of unnecessary bloat, such as the impossible "S.K.A.T.E." mimicry challenges and crap A.I., that distracted from the project's highlights. But for EA's (seemingly) final installation in the series, Skate 3 ditched the excess in favor of what it was known for: fluid, realistic skating mechanics, slick visuals, endless tricks, and fantastic creation tools.
While the game was criticized by some for not bringing anything fresh and new to the table, Skate 3 remains one of the most well-balanced games in the series. It caters to both newcomers and devotees alike. Gone are the security guards who would frustratingly chase you away from government buildings in Skate 2; and instead, as a decorative "pro skater" at the beginning of the game, the world is your oyster. Everywhere is free to explore, which may hinder a certain feeling of progress, but Skate 3 makes up for it with its surprising variety of challenges, sexy visuals, and massive trick catalog–and let us not forget the "Hall of Meat."
Tony Hawk's Underground 2
One can barely call THU 2 a skating game. The single-player campaign opens with your curated avatar being kidnapped by two people in hockey masks. He is brought to a dark room alongside other pro skaters like Bob Burnquist and Eric Sparrow. Bam Margera and Tony Hawk are revealed to be the captors and explain their plan for a "sick-as-hell" around-the-world "World Destruction Tour."
The objective is simple: to travel around the world to pillage and destroy and become a sweet ripper in the process. It's absurd, and the game is often panned by skating buffs for its insanely unrealistic game mechanics.
But for those who don't take themselves too seriously, THU 2 was a rip-roaring good time. It had varietal game modes, copious character creation options, and watching your character snap their board in half after activating the post-trick-fail "freak out" function was a hoot. The game leaned fully into its ridiculousness, and the payoff was rich for those who needed the lighthearted escape.
Praised for being the most authentic skater game ever made, Session is an indie PC gem that shouldn't be played for those looking just to rip around. It follows a similar flick-stick mechanic to the Skate series but is much more difficult. It matches a foot to each stick so that to land a simple kickflip, you have to make sure both sticks do the right flicks.
It's a simple mechanical tweak that makes for a frustrating few hours of gameplay, but for those patient enough to learn a few tricks, the system can make even the simplest manual feel satisfying as hell. Speed, angle, stance, timing, and rotation need to be accounted for if you want to land some tricks, but for those willing to traverse Session's beautiful landscapes, the game is one of the most absorbing skate games in recent memory, and could potentially be as impactful to kids today as Skate was for us.
Despite a handful of glossy new K-pop hits dropping over the last fortnight, it's the ballads that are winning big on the charts right now.
This week's No. 1 single belongs to Toy, the one-man project band of You Hee-yeol (who many people will know from his Sketchbook TV series). He tops the chart with "Three Of Us," while most of the tracks from his new album, Da Capo, have all debuted within the top twenty somewhere.
BIGBANG's latest subunit, GD X TAEYANG, arrive at No. 5 with their debut single, "Good Boy," which is lower than what one would expect from the popular pair. Their YG Entertainment labelmates, Hi Suhyun, were able to reach No. 1 just last week with their own unit single, while Taeyang currently has the second-highest-selling hit of the year with "Eyes, Nose Lips." Perhaps the electro-hop style of "Good Boy" just isn't what Koreans are into right now?
A few spots down, AOA's "Like a Cat" slips 5-7 in its second week, while GOT7 debut at No. 25 with "Stop Stop It"--their lowest-charting single yet. On a positive note, the boy band's first studio album, Identity, managed to top the albums chart.
The biggest mover and shaker this week has to be girl group EXID, whose three-month-old single, "Up & Down," rockets to No. 34 after initially not cracking the top 100 back when it was first released. The song's sleeper hit status is all thanks to a fancam of one of the members performing the song's sexy choreography, which has become a viral sensation in Korea and turned "Up & Down" into an overnight smash. You can expect the song to climb even higher next week, possibly even making the top ten.
Further down at No. 69 is ex-KARA member Nicole, who tanks with her first solo single, "MAMA." The Sweetune-produced song has been a flop so far, but it's still hanging around in the mid-sixties on the real-time digital charts, so it probably won't leave the Gaon chart for at least another week or two.
However, Nicole still managed to perform better than girl group MAMAMOO, who arrive at No. 87 with their new single, "Piano Man." This is the quartet's lowest-charting single to date, even when including their pre-releases and OSTs.
Check out this week's new K-pop hits below!
No. 5. GD X TAEYANG - Good Boy
No. 25. GOT7 - Stop Stop It
No. 34. EXID - Up & Down
No. 69. Nicole - MAMA