The game begins with the player controlling a skateboarder skating around a middle-class neighborhood using common objects as ramps for jumps.
The player begins with a number of “tickets,” each of which grants admission to one of four skate parks, or “events,” in Skate City, the “hub” between the parks.
When a park is entered, one ticket is expended. The player gains additional tickets from earning points.
Whenever the player isn’t in an event, a bar counts down the time remaining until the arrival of a swarm of killer bees accompanied by the caption of “SKATE OR DIE!”.
Once the bees arrive, the player still has a small amount of time in which to get to a park, but the longer the player delays, this the faster the bees become, until they are unavoidable.
Getting caught by the bees ends the game, though on default settings the player may elect to continue by inserting more money. Reaching a park with a ticket gives the player the chance to earn points, medals and money with which to upgrade equipment, and resets the timer.
The player constantly races to perform stunts, both in the events and in the park itself, in order to earn the points needed to acquire tickets.
Thus, the player’s score is directly tied to the amount of time available to play the game.
In order to win, the player must complete a total of sixteen events through four hubs, a difficult task.