Parental Video Gaming: The Skylanders Phenomenon!

The Skylanders Phenomenon!

Ok so Skylanders is my sons main thing! He has been down since day one. and when the first game Spyro’s Adventure was being advertised on TV, he was hooked and that was all he wanted for that Christmas. He was only 4 years old at the time and that was it, Activision had him hooked big time! I want to add that Activision from a marketing point of view did such an amazing job of making sure that the first Skylanders game (well here in the UK) was advertised on every single kids TV channel and multiple times per day. They also had different commercials that would showcase the different characters. I am sure my son was not the only one whose mind was blown by these commercials.


The hook of Skylanders of course was that you got a toy that you could bring to life in the game. The idea is pretty cool and I can see why kids (and collectors with OCD… like myself) got hooked. The figures to be fair are well designed, have a lot of charm and are well made. We have a ton of Skylanders (as you can see from the pics) and we have never had a broken Skylander or any kind of issue with the figures.


The Christmas before Spyros Adventure was released was actually very easy to go into any store and pick up some Skylanders. My son had a few characters that he really liked so I made sure to get them, but I did a little research and learned that to see everything in the game you needed to have at least one Skylander for each of the eight elements. So I made sure he had one of each, but in a moment of madness (which I was lucky I had) on December 21st 2011 I was in town and made quick decision to buy a further six Skylanders and the level packs as well! This would prove to be a good move as clearly on Christmas day of 2011, tons of kids in the UK (and rest of the world) got Skylanders Spyros Adventure and were sucked right in, and the starter pack came with three figures. It’s fair to say most kids who got the game on Christmas day were looking to spend any money they got on Skylanders on the 26th! It was so hard to find the figures for the first game in the months that followed! Skylander hunting was a lot of fun and something my son and I actually liked to do.


With the 2nd game Skylanders Giants, I think it’s fair to say that Skylander Mania had taken over many kids. Now people were like rabid piranhas waiting for screen shots and videos for the new game. Activision knew they had a money maker on their hands and made sure that Skylanders Giants had more figures and even more “special” store exclusive figures which were a royal pain in the ass to track down! I knew that Skylanders Giants was going to be huge, so while my son was not getting it until Christmas I made sure to be there at midnight when the game launched, and I just loaded up on everything that they had as I knew it was going to be even harder to track down the figures this time around! My son was even more hooked and was so desperate to track them all down. There was this one character called Molten Hot Dog who was exclusive to a store in the UK called Asda. Now this was only a £8 figure, but I hate to think of how much money we spent on petrol driving round what must have been at least seven different Asda stores until we tracked him down.


For my son and from my observations perhaps other kids as well, Skylanders Giants was the peak of the whole Skylander Mania. As when the third game, Skylanders Swap Force, which if you ask me is the most fun game in the series was released.  It was so much easier to track down the figures. Activision had flooded the market this time with the figures and it was so easy to just go and find whoever you wanted. I also think that some parents (with more sense than me) had decided that enough was enough and that their kids had enough Skylanders. The last game that was released was Skylanders Trap Team and now as well as figures they have introduced two new elements and over 40 traps that you can buy! Interestingly with Skylanders Trap Team, my son had a lot of fun with the game, but he is not interested in tracking down all the figures or all the traps for which my wallet and sanity are very thankful.


I will say that the Skylanders games are actually a lot of fun. I have enjoyed playing through them all with my son. They have some fun RPG style elements where you level up and need to collect treasure to upgrade your abilities and the story is actually pretty amusing as well. To be fair to Activision while I think there are far too many characters in this series, every Skylanders game has been backwards compatible with the older figures. Which is smart as if you have invested say a few hundred bucks on Skylanders, when a new game rolls out at the very least you might as well buy the starter pack as you already have a ton of figures that can be used.


Now this is just my opinion, but I think Activision have perhaps two more games in the Skylanders series before they are going to have to really change things up and do something special. As I know that my son and some of his friends still enjoy the series, but that rabid excitement has certainly warn off. For parents who are thinking of getting into Skylanders I have a piece of advice for you… Don’t! Save you self before it is too late!

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About JDelacey

Jason, who was raised in Scotland, but currently lives in merry old England, has been gaming for around 25 of his 33 years of life. Started off by the Atari 2600 and the classic ZX Spectrum, Jason has never once lost love for gaming. Jason is a huge wrestling video game fan and wrote a long running history of wrestling video games series. Jason now is responsible for passing on his addiction of video games to his son Logan. Favourite Systems: Super Nintendo, Sega Mega Drive (sorry Genesis for my American friends) Playstation, Nintendo 64, Xbox 360. Favourite Games: Super Mario World, Star Wars Arcade, Ninja Turles 4, Streets of Rage 2, Sensible Soccer, WWF No Mercy, Wrestlemania The Arcade Game, Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy 10, Link To The Past, and Resident Evil 4.