My son and I share a number of character traits. Not least of these is our tendency to become rather obsessed about collecting things.
To be fair collecting stuff isn’t exactly unusual in males – especially geeky males like us. Some men end up growing out of it, while others… well some others don’t.
This mild form of mania in little boys has been mined by toy manufacturers for decades. But now it seems that computer game companies are getting in on the action too.
Skylanders is a multi platform game published by Activision which ingeniously incorporates a range of collectable figures sold in separate booster sets. When you place one of these figures on “The portal of power” it magically turns up in your game as a playable character, with it’s own special abilities and powers naturally.
I’d really like to get all indignant about how this is a cunning ploy to harness the force of pester power and get poor beleaguered parents to part with their cash. And, lets face it – that’s pretty much the truth. But dammit the game just too good. It’s compelling, addictive, amusing, and enjoyable. Like Lego Batman before it it’s enabled a good deal of exceptionally fun father/son bonding time for us both. Even a month after we completed the game he still tells strangers in the street how I’m one of the only two people in the world to ever have beaten the evil Kaos in the final battle (I’ve not had the heart to shatter his hero worship as yet, I’m saving that for his 21st birthday)
If I’m honest we’ve probably spent far more than is sensible on Skylanders figures. But I don’t really begrudge it. I suspect we’re not alone in that either – in the first quarter of 2012 Skylanders was the third most profitable game in North America and Europe. Over Thirty million Skylanders toys have been sold worldwide. That’s a hell of a lot of obsessed kids.
As I mentioned previously, on Friday we were lucky enough to be invited by Activision to visit them at the Lollibop festival and get a sneak preview of their sequel to Skylanders – Skylanders: Giants which is due for release in October this year.
To say this was a dream come true for my son is an understatement. And to be fair I was pretty excited myself. The new giant figures look great, and he took ecstatic delight in stomping round the landscape as Tree Rex smashing all the enemies scurrying around him with his giant fists. My daughter enjoyed herself too, and since our return from Lollibops has been making her way steadily through the game herself.
The most impressive thing for me about Skylanders: Giants however is that you can still use all the original figures from the first game to play it. There’s obviously going to be some new figures to buy (and lets face it, we’ll be getting some because I’m a weak, weak man). But the stuff you’ve got already isn’t going to be made obsolete.
Bravo Activision, Bravo.