Skylanders Articles RSS Feed | Skylanders RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Gift Guide: White Elephant/Secret Santa Gifts Under $10 Wed, 16 Nov 2016 06:00:01 -0500 Kiara Halls


That's it for this list! There's certainly a lot of good -- or at least unique -- stuff out there for under $10. Get your Secret Santa something unexpected! A ritzy-looking trinket from their favorite franchise could make you their holiday hero this year.


Did anything from this list speak to you? What's the best present you've ever gotten for $10 or less? Let us know in the comments!

Skylanders Trap Master Headrush

Rating: 4.5/5 (1,206 reviews)


Price: $7.50


Buy it on: Amazon


You can find pretty much any recent, normal-sized Skylander for less than $10 these days. In fact, if it's a common one, you can even find much older Skylanders for as little as $2.

"But this one isn't normal-sized," you say? That's because depending on the rarity, you find the "special" characters (like Trap Masters and Giants) for cheap as well. Headrush here is a favorite, but go hunting! You never know who you might find hiding in the dark reaches of Amazon.


Your Secret Santa might not get the Skylander Sensei they've been eyeing for Imaginators, but oldies can still be goodies.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Vol. 1 manga

Rating: 5/5 (23 reviews)


Price: $8.75


Buy it on: Amazon


Just in case pendants are too symbolic, your Secret Santa can relive the tragedy of Roxas in real time by reading this manga.


Plenty of video games have been adapted into comic or manga form and, just as with the Pokemon plushies, if it's popular and your Secret Santa is a fan, you can probably find it for under $10.

Kingdom Hearts Sora and Roxas Pendant Set

Rating: 5/5 (1 review)


Price: $7.15


Buy it on: Amazon


Give these to your Secret Santa so they can show some love for one of the most tragic duos in gaming history. Or, you could take a necklace and make it a sort of "best friend" set that's indicative of your relationship. Or lack thereof. Just like Sora and Roxas!

Dishonored 2 Emily Funko Pop! Figure

Rating: 4./5 (3 reviews)


Price: $9.82


Buy it on: Amazon


There are a huge amount of video game Pop! figures out there. From Mega Man to Skyrim to Overwatch, you can find your Secret Santa's favorite characters from some of the most popular franchises. But chances are, they were pretty excited about Dishonored 2, so this Emily figure is a pretty good choice.

Mega Buster Keychain

Rating: Not Available


Price: $9.99


Buy it on: ThinkGeek


This Mega Buster keychain lights up! But, unfortunately, it doesn't actually shoot pellets of hyper-compressed solar energy. It doesn't come with a shape-shifting robot dog, either. But it'd still be fun to pretend that it does.

Fallout 4 Nuka Cola Pinup Poster

Rating: 5/5 (2 reviews)


Price: $4.89


Buy it on: Amazon


Posters are always a great option for Secret Santas since, even if they don't particularly like whatever it's from, they'll still have a lovely piece of art to stare at. But who doesn't love Nuka Cola? Zap that thirst!

The Legend of Zelda Spirit Stone Set

Rating: 4./5 (14 reviews)


Price: $9.99


Buy it on: Amazon


In case you don't want to be "that guy," here is an excellent choice for the Zelda enthusiast. The set features the Spirit Stones from Ocarina of Time, packaged in a small wooden chest decked out with a TriForce. It also comes with a keyring and a chain, so the charms can be made into a keychain or necklace, respectively.

Mega Charizard Y Cosplay Pikachu Plush

Price: $7.29


Rating: 4.5/5 (60 reviews)


Buy it on: Amazon


There are a metric ton of Pokemon plushies out there. The only reason that Pikachu's even in the header is because it's dressed like a Mega Charizard. Which is super cute, although you could find an actual  Mega Charizard Y plushie for nearly the same price.

If your Secret Santa has a favorite Pokemon, you can definitely find it for less than $10 somewhere on the internet.

The Concealable Entertainment  Flask 

Rating: 3.5/5 (3 reviews)


Price: $9.89


Buy it on: Amazon


For the boozy Secret Santa, a drinking flask shaped like an NES cartridge. Forever clever, it comes in a variety of "games" like "Kega Man," "Drunk Hunt" and "The Legend of Drink." The only downside, though, is that it apparently doesn't hold much happy juice.

Legend of Zelda: The Complete Season

Rating: 4.5/5 (124 reviews)


Price: $5.99


Buy it on: Amazon


If you wanna' be "that guy" -- and, let's face it, you probably do -- you can burden your Secret Santa with this. They may hate you for the rest of your natural life, but it'll be worth a laugh, at least. 


As an aside, though, this cartoon is fun and cute in a dopey, '80s sort of way. It might be completely tangential to the quality and even humor of the Zelda we know today, but it's still worth something in its own right.

Portal 2 Inter-Spatial Portal Earrings

Rating: 4.5/5 (70 reviews)


Price: $5.12


Buy it on: Amazon


Clever, yet subtle, these earrings would be great for a fashionable Secret Santa. They get to revel in gamer glory without being tacky about it! In the orange, out the blue -- a reminder to think with portals, hanging right from their ears.

Yume Nikki Train Washi Tape

Rating: 5/5 (69 reviews)


Price: $8.00


Buy It on: Etsy


If your Secret Santa is the spooky type, then this decorative tape is definitely a good choice. The roll features a slew of popular (and terrifying) characters from the cult-hit RPGMaker game Yume Nikki. I would suggest giving it to them as soon as you can. I mean, it's just pictures on tape, but better safe than sorry, right?

Mega Man 10 Proto Man and Bass PVC Pin Set

Rating: Not Available


Price: $5.50


Buy it on: eStarland


Mega Man is cool, sure, but he's on everything. If your Secret Santa is a real Mega Man nut, then they'll appreciate seeing these characters get the spotlight they deserve. But, if you're not too sure about "Shield Guy" and "Fin Head" here, there's also a set -- for the same price -- featuring the man himself and an E-Tank.


The holiday season is nearly here!


It's time to gear up for your annual Secret Santa soiree, but everything is so expensive. There's no way you can get a decent gift without selling at least one organ on the black market.


Or is there?


Actually, there is a wealth of unique, inexpensive gamer gifts out there. It's shocking, I know, but you can look like a gift-giving savant without breaking the bank. So, to help you along, we've put together a list of top-notch gifts that're $10 and under. Let's get started!

The Bandicoot Is Back Wed, 02 Nov 2016 02:00:01 -0400 StrongerStrange

Skylanders, a word that will send most parents and "grown ups" hiding their wallets, and what with the current onslaught of toys to life (well apart from Disney Infinity now) who can blame them?

Now I will freely admit to being a sucker for the toys to life gimmick, I started with Spyro's Adventure mostly because I believed it to be a Spyro game and have fond memories playing most of the Crash Bandicoot games on the PlayStation (I could never find Crash Bandicoot 2).

Now it was to my surprise what I thought was going to be a terrible game, turned out there was a pretty brilliant game hidden underneath it's cutesy graphics and collect em' all mind set. That, and the random difficulty spikes (I'm looking at you final boss!)

So when I heard that a certain orange marsupial was (finally) coming to Skylanders Imaginators I couldn't wait to get my hands on him. Finally, a new Crash Bandicoot game (from a certain point of view) after so long, so that's why I'm dubbing this new Skylanders game...

Crash's Adventure

Which is all well and good, but we do need an actual Crash Bandicoot game, not a cameo in Uncharted or as an additional character. An actual game starring the Orange fuzz ball that we love, and no a HD remake doesn't count OK!

It needs to be fresh and original, and if possible still have the drop in and out co-op from Mind Over Mutant and Crash of The Titans (again both fun games despite the reviews and I recommend you check them out).

Now of course since finishing the recent Skylanders I have invested my remaining free time into LEGO Dimensions, again for my love of LEGO -- and the fact that with the set you get actual mini builds/figures to create. Also there is a LEGO Sonic Adventure pack coming out, so that's on my Christmas list!

...of course that said if Sonic was to be a Skylander in the next installment of the game I would happily buy that as well, no questions asked. As for Crash, I can't wait to finally get my hands on him again after so long.

Latest Crash Bandicoot rumor may not be what you'd expect Thu, 09 Jun 2016 12:12:34 -0400 Anthony Pelone

There's been no shortage of rumors and teases regarding a Crash Bandicoot reboot, which has left fans of the classic PlayStation titles hungry for an actual confirmation. However, a recent development may put a damper on such hopes. A Singapore retailer, Qisahn, has listed an exclusive deal for the PlayStation 4 version of Skylanders Imaginators: a Crash Pack. The page description is terse, simply stating the pack will be announced "later."

Furthermore, another Singapore retailer by the name of ABXY posted on their Facebook about preordering the game, also mentioning this mysterious pack.

While this specific retailer isn't tied to any previous leaks, it's worth noting that a Game Informer article regarding Skylanders Imaginators was edited to remove details of an upcoming "guest star" for this new iteration. Could Crash Bandicoot be this upcoming cameo?

As a reminder: both Crash Bandicoot and Skylanders are both owned by Activision, and fellow PlayStation star Spyro the Dragon helped jumpstart the franchise. 

Would you want Crash Bandicoot to appear in Skylanders? Let us know in the comments below!

Skylanders Imaginators brings Imagination to Life Thu, 02 Jun 2016 04:10:26 -0400 Bran Rahl

In the newest edition of the Skylanders series, anyone can create and bring forth their own unique Skylander into the game. Known as Imaginators, the new Skylanders can be created by the players themselves with access to various body parts, abilities, and classes.

Ever since the first Skylanders game was released, the company Toys for Bob has received countless requests asking for one thing, "Please bring my Skylander to life", and now, for the first time, Portal Masters can summon their own Skylanders.

As it is a collectible game, the new Imaginators will bring forth new toys to supplement the game. In order to create an Imaginator, a player must have access to a "Creation Crystal". Each Creation Crystal is elementally-alligned, with the first crystal containing the Fire-element which allows the creation of a Fire-type Skylander. The crystal also acts as the figure for each player's unique Imaginator allowing the player to move the character from game to game.

Don't forget this is still a Skylanders game, and what's a Skylanders without some new Skylanders? The new game also introduces the "Skylander Senseis", new powerful heroes and reformed villains who represent the classes available to the Imaginators, but that's not all they do. They are literally a sensei (Japanese for teacher) as they teach the players' characters Secret Techniques for their representing classes while also allowing access to new areas and unlocking Imaginator weapons.

Coming out in October 2016, fans can pre-order the starter pack, which contains a Creation Crystal, two Skylander Senseis, a Portal of Power, a collectible poster and sticker sheet, and most importantly, a copy of the Skylanders Imaginators game. It is available for Xbox 360 and Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and 4, and the Wii U.

Skylanders: SuperChargers review Sat, 03 Oct 2015 12:02:10 -0400 Addison Blu

After binge-playing Skylanders: SuperChargers with my family, I have to admit that the game is full of interesting content for kids and parents alike.

For those of you that don't know, the Skylanders franchise is built on the idea that you buy real-life Skylander toys that communicate with the video game system. They each have their own traits, and each figurine itself saves your progress and choices over time.

The concept is actually so cool that I'm a little upset it wasn't around when I was a kid. It's like collecting Pokémon, and the characters carry over from game to game.

In the end, Skylanders is a game for entertaining children, and I judge it with that in mind.

Skylanders Superchargers Dragon

The Good Things About Skylanders: SuperChargers

The game is story-driven.

No single piece of the story is dragged out through repetitive fights or boring maps. There are new plot points, characters, scenes, and enemies every hour of gameplay, and it all fits together somehow. The story is also surprisingly long, so you have time to get involved.

It may be arbitrary and silly, but it's still a story.

Each level ends with a cool boss fight.

Being centered around the story, the boss fights bring a satisfying, unique sense of completion in every act. While sprawling open-world games are cool, they lack the type of fulfillment you get from taking down a main character that just trash-talked you for the last half hour.

It's an action game and a racing game combined.

Neither part of the game gets overwhelmed by the other. The driving part is fun, and the walking part is fun. I applaud any game that can break up monotony while still making each distraction excellent.

Skylanders Superchargers Spitfire Car

Oh, and did I mention that both the cars and the characters can be upgraded just like a role-playing game? You basically get to have it all in terms of genre.

Despite the terrible dialogue writing at some points, the voice acting is great overall.

You can hear everything that any character says to you, because how close you are to the character doesn't matter. The real key to the dialogue: my kids understood what the conflict was.

There's even a smooth-talking villain voiceover at one point that makes a scandalous joke that I can't believe the producers squeezed in, but I'm glad they did. So parents get a little something too.

The Bad Things About Skylanders: SuperChargers

There were quite a few bugs.

I ran into a couple of bugs where the voiceovers disappeared or the missions could not progress without resetting the level. Hopefully later patches of the game fix that stuff. It was frustrating, but not a deal-breaker.

The real bummer: you can't play some levels without certain figurines. 

Most gamers hesitate about a game you pay for up front, but some of content requires extra purchases. You wouldn't buy a movie ticket, then pay extra to watch some of the less-important scenes.

Skylanders Superchargers Starter Set










The truth is, there's more than enough content to enjoy with just the Skylanders: SuperChargers Starter Set. If you want to go deeper, the option is always there to buy more of the toys. It's only a disadvantage in the game if your children demand to have all the toys.

Some Other Things To Note About Skylanders: SuperChargers

It might be too difficult for kids under 6 years old. 

Even though there's an incredibly easy difficulty setting, and hardly any reading is required, the game is still too complex for my son to finish without my help, and he's 5 years old. He loves the action figures, but he can't drive a video-game car.

The musical score isn't very remarkable.

Having played other games with my kids, they often have a fun, memorable group of songs playing in the background. This game was very light and generic on the music, which might be a positive or negative thing depending on how you spin it.

My kids chose all the car and character skins based on looks, not function.

The car's best wheels were the boring, stony, armored ones, but my son wanted the tires that left flame streaks as we drove by. He wanted the character to shoot fire tornadoes and I wanted him to just move faster. I was surprised that looks were directly tied to what each modification does.   

Skylanders Superchargers Stealth Elf

There's a lot of replay value, but a lot of it is tied to getting more figurines.

I can't say how unique every car or character is, but you can play a huge chunk of the content over again with new heroes, and it will feel different. If anything, you can play it just for the sake of exploring the different characters; that is, if you're ready to buy them. 
Final thoughts

Essentially, parents can enjoy playing through the hard parts of the adventure while the kids punch, shoot, and drive across the exotic game locales. Despite any misgivings I had before, my kids and I played for many hours of goofy fun. 

Unboxing the MaxLander: Skylander data-saving NFC device Sun, 27 Sep 2015 05:33:09 -0400 Courtney Gamache

Being a hardware and gadget person, I got my hands on the MaxLander data saving device and decided to do an unboxing so people can see what the hype is all about.

For those of you who don't know MaxLander, it's made for all Skylanders games on various softwares. It can be used to either download items or characters directly from the internet and use them, or you can save them as a backup if you're traveling and don't want to take them all.

Tons of components for the gadget

The MaxLander comes with a ton of parts that work together to save and download Skylander data. Major parts consist of the cable, token chips, and MaxLander device. Each token has up to a 99 character and item saving capacity. Along with the two tokens, there are two sheets with different types of elements, and two cases for the tokens. 

Seemingly for kids

When looking at the device and using it, I could see this product being specifically used by my three year old nephew - where collecting the physical figures might become a problem. Since the software for the figures and items could be downloaded digitally, he could play all he likes without needing to spend his parent's money for his game.

I would suggest this product for anyone who would like to save money on recreational activities like video games and still get the same enjoyment. All that is really necessary for MaxLander to work is a PC, the Skylanders game disk, and of course, the portal pad. 

It is a bit surprising in the long run that Skylanders hasn't shut down this device and company on a copyright infringement, but only time can tell how they'll respond. 

MaxLander allows you to get data for every Skylander figurine for cheap Tue, 01 Sep 2015 12:06:55 -0400 Courtney Gamache

A new NFC reader called MaxLander is changing the way gamers will play Skylanders. Using technology to save Skylander data, a gamer can now access over 300 Skylanders items and characters for free using a simple NFC reader and downloading them onto it. 

The idea behind developing the MaxLander is similar to the developers behind the amiiqo for Nintendo: gamers can access characters without paying for them and also save their data for their own characters. With compact devices, it's a no brainer how useful they can be.

Features of the MaxLander

One of the awesome features of MaxLander is that it supports every version of Skylanders. While the amiiqo works with Android devices, MaxLander is used through a computer on either Windows 7 or Windows 8, and spans across many of the Skylanders gaming platforms: Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, and PS4.

The basic package of MaxLander is a hefty price of $80, but comes with the all the attachments that are required for downloading and uploading Skylanders, including the limited edition and rare figures. Included in the basic box is:

  • MaxLander data device
  • USB connecting cable
  • Two tokens
  • Two token protection holders
  • Element papers for Skylanders

This could be a great device for a kid who is absolutely crazy about Skylanders since the figures and packs can be very expensive to buy.

The big question for the developers, however: is a copyright infringement on  the Skylanders game and company? We've reached out the Skylanders team and we will be looking for official answers about this device.

review and unboxing along the way

In a few days, I'll personally have my hands on the MaxLander device and plan to write an unboxing article and review on how it works and some of the features they've listed. Look for my upcoming articles about MaxLander and amiiqo that are in progress.

What do you think of the MaxLander device? Do you think this is a cruel infringement on Skylander's products? Could it affect their sales? Share your comments below on this new, possibly IP-infringing NFC device. 

Target's Black Friday Sales Include An Assassin's Creed Bundle Deal Mon, 10 Nov 2014 16:47:05 -0500 KieraB

Mark your calendars for November 28, because Target's got a number of deals and bundles ready for Black Friday.

The store's main website posted a small preview of the deals to become available for sale - including one that might be of particular interest to Assassin's Creed fans.

Starting on the last Friday of this month, Target will be offering their Assassin's Creed Unity bundle for $329.99. This includes a 500GB Xbox One system at their "lowest price ever": $329.99, including a free $50 gift card, when players purchase Assassin's Creed Unity and the fourth installment, Black Flag, as digital downloads. 

Normally, the two games separately purchased would amount to $119.98 value in Target; the Xbox One itself would normally cost $399.99. At the end of the day, people who take advantage of the deal would save $70.

Other deals and bundles up for grabs will include Yoshi's New Island Nintendo 2DS bundles for $99.99 each, Disney Infinity 2.0 and Skylanders: Trap Team starter packs for $39.99 each, as well as The Evil Within and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor for $25 each.

In addition to these particular sales, Target will feature a multitude of buy 2, get 1 free deals for over 100 featured games prior to the frenzy that Black Friday brings.

For the highly-anticipated Unity bundle, the codes needed to download the two games will be included in the box packaging, and the extra $50 sounds none too shabby of a deal, either. 

Godspeed, to those of you looking to make the journey to your local Targets for the deals!

Nintendo Has Big Plans For E3 Thu, 08 May 2014 09:48:30 -0400 Landon Sommer

Nintendo has previewed a few of their ideas for E3 this year and they are interesting. Most of them seem to center on not letting the Wii U die just yet.

Nintendo will be targeting "emerging markets."

The console company wishes to release gaming devices to "emerging markets." Without Nintendo's details, there is only speculation which markets are targets and what the mysterious "devices" will be capable of. One new device will likely be a product to follow the Xbox into China, now that they have lifted their ban on foreign gaming consoles. Another concern for gamers is how significant the variations between their consoles and the new limited devices will be. Gamers outside China and other target markets could be looking to get their hands on these "exclusive" devices. 

Do you like Skylanders? Nintendo hopes you do, too. 

Nintendo hopes to take the Skylanders style to a new level. Using figures that store information, you will be able to build your characters on one console and use them on another. It is possible that Mario and other Nintendo favorites will be able to level up in one game and be used on another console or a different game entirely. Sounds like a powerful addition to the Pokémon franchise, if it isn't done yet. Super Smash Brothers could reach a whole new level of gameplay allowing more characters into the mix this way. The Wii U will also have connectivity to these figures. Will this be able to revive the Wii U or lengthen its life span?

Mobile games get some attention.

Microsoft and Sony already provide mobile apps to work with their consoles, and now Nintendo feels it's time as well. Mario Kart 8 will be making its way to mobile devices soon enough. Nintendo has also promised an app that can compare player rankings and more ways to stalk your friends by telling you what games they are playing.

Nintendo doesn't plan to bring old games to your mobile device, but man, my phone sure is about the same shape and size as an NES controller.

From Wikipedias Nintendo article

My Phone, Nintendo. I promise.

Even has the cord.

E3 is coming soon...
Innovations That Are Changing the Face of Game Design Thu, 30 Jan 2014 19:23:56 -0500 Amanda Wallace


While not as technologically innovative as some of the others on this list, Twine certainly brings a great deal to the field. With this tech, it's not what it can do it's what people are doing with it. 


Twine is a low-tech game creation engine that allows amateurs and veteran game designers alike to experiment in ways that other engines just don't allow. It is an technology that has creations as diverse as Cry$tal Warrior Ke$ha and Crumbchin's Quest.


Why is that changing the face of game design? In a sense, it's a democratization of the medium. Anyone with a computer can run Twine, and the engine and most of the games made for it are free. Minority opinions flourish on Twine, and it's an engine that is only growing in scope and community.


What technologies are redefining game design for you? 


The Oculus Rift and related virtual reality technology have been getting a lot of press lately for their ability to help create a truly immersive experience. Most recently Valve VR has been getting positive press after the Witness developer Jonathan Blow gave his support for the burgeoning tech


While the technology is still rough in some respects  (personally, it gives me motion sickness), it still has a lot of great potential. Exploration games like Gone Home where you can actually explore? Alongside peripherals like the Omni Treadmill, you could turn the world of Skyrim into your own personal running course: 



Devices like the Oculus Rift are demonstrating that VR is not just a fad, and can go past the level of gimmick. 


Earlier today Richard Welchel wrote an article about Google Glasses demonstrated abilities for gaming, and while they are fairly rudimentary now there's a real possibility for innovation with Google Glass and gaming. 


Augmented reality games, where the gameplay takes place superimposed on the world or extensions of games like Project Niantic are definitely promising opportunities for game designers. 


What, you might be asking yourself, is an NFC chip? 


An acronym for the term Near Field Communicator, NFC's are devices that can transfer data to each other while in close proximity. If you have to scan a card to get into a place at work, chances are that is an NFC chip. They're being utilized for a variety of business applications, from coupon codes to Google Wallet, to the above pictured Moo business card.


Oh, and it's also in Skylanders, the insanely popular game that preteen children are obsessed with.


What could this technology do for the future? There are a couple of obvious applications, from a more adult Skylanders/Disney Infinity style game, to a large scale ARG (something like I Love Bees), but there's no telling what designers will be able to develop now that the technology is relatively inexpensive. 


Game design is an emergent field, where new technology is almost always defining the next generation of games. What we play is as important as how we play, and game designers are looking towards future innovations to create new experiences for players. 


So what tech could be redefining the games you play? 

Table Top Game Review: Skylanders Island Quest The Adventure Game Wed, 25 Dec 2013 10:09:30 -0500 Federico Senence

What would Christmas be for a gamer without a new game? Well, I don't have to worry about that, because my son picked up the Skylanders Island Quest The Adventure Game.

To the table top

Skylanders is normally known as the highly successful video game that's played on all consoles and even the DS gaming system. This game, however, takes things to the table in board game fashion, thanks to Pressman games.


The set comes with 32 Skylander cards that you can choose from, with each card representing a familiar Skylander character. From there, you have six island board pieces to travel around by hopping spaces on the board, depending on the roll of the dice. On the islands you will find “Challenges” that you have to overcome. These challenges could be an enemy to beat or a gate to open. Depending on your Skylander and your current level, you have to roll a die to try to beat the enemy. Successfully doing so allows you to try to pull an element token.



The first player (2 to 4 player game) to collect all eight elements becomes the winner! You start with two elements, so technically you only have to collect six elements during your journey. The player is only allowed to use a Skylander for the elements you have collected.



Is it worth the trip?

I give this game 7 of 10 stars, but my son thought I should give it 10 of 10. I like it because it falls into the realm of casual games for me (roughly 30 min. game time). It takes a very small amount of time to set up and get started, so you can play a quick game for fun or multiple games for a night of entertainment. The rules are straight forward and easy, and my 7-year-old had no difficulties following them.


For the price, it is right in line with most board games of this type (I think I paid around $25), so not bad. If you want to try to lure someone (your kiddos) from the video game world to a more reality-based game that requires you to sit at a table with one or more people, this might be a good way of crossing over.

We bought this at good old Wally World (WalMart), but I think any of the big box stores might carry it or, better yet, ask your local gaming store to order it. Add it to your collection if you have Skylander fans in the household.

Why Are Gamers Driven To Collect? GS Roundtable #15 Sun, 22 Sep 2013 23:44:39 -0400 GSRoundTable

With Pokémon X & Y only a few weeks away from launch, we here at the GameSkinny Roundtable started to think:

Why do we want all the things?

In this week's episode Ernesto, Gary, Lui, Stephanie and Ryan discuss what it is that makes us gamers so obsessed with collecting.

What do we mean by "collecting"?

Almost every single game these days involves some sort of collection/collecting, whether its your need to collect each individual Pokémon or all the downloadable outfits for your favorite character, a quest/mission to gather items, or your desire to boost your gamerscore/trophies.

There are even things you can collect that are directly tied to games themselves but are actually outside the game, such as Steam Trading Cards or trading card games. It would be quite a challenge to find a game in today's market where there is no form of collecting at all.

But why do we collect all of this stuff?

Well, the first, most obvious reason is that we have to in order to progress further in the game (i.e. quests or missions). But it also appeals to the completionist/perfectionist inside each of us and with each new game that comes out we are further encouraged to do so.

There are even new games such as Skylanders and Disney Infinity which directly affect the gameplay based on which figurines you physically possess. In Disney Infinity, in order to play as a certain character and have access to a certain area/part of the story you need to have the actual corresponding figurine (i.e. Jack Sparrow to play in the Pirates of the Carribean part of the game).

Do we really need to do so much collecting?

Well if it's what you like to do, then by all means go ahead!

In terms of game design, quests where you have to go to one area to collect a certain rare item from a certain monster just seem like a bit of laziness on the developers' part. Those types of quests are designed to make the game experience last longer and act as a sort of buffer in between the main game content.

These types of "fetch quests" are a standard feature of all MMORPGs and can also be found in other games outside of the genre in one way or another. Will cutting these types of quests out of all future games improve the quality of games overall? Maybe, or maybe it'd just make a shorter game. 

It also begs the question: if you don't finish a game to 100% completion, does it dampen the gameplay experience overall? Do you really need to get the perfect ending or are you okay with just finishing with the "good" ending and never playing again?

What are your thoughts? Can your Pokémon collection make Lui jealous? Do you have all the Steam Summer Sale Trading Cards? Let us know in the comments below!

As always, thanks for watching and be sure to tune in next week!

This week's article is brought to you by Ryan and the letter C.

It's a Kids' Game Revolution - Get Them Started Early! Tue, 13 Aug 2013 08:39:56 -0400 PencilPusha

Some parents believe that video games are an abomination in the hands of their children. Others believe that it's a great way to get their kids out of their hair.

Me? I have a 15-month-old son. He loves PlayStation 3 controllers and the console even more. He knows that if he presses one of the pretty little buttons on the console, either a disc will come out or the system will stop making noise. I love that he has such great interest in video games, but sometimes I'd like to be able to save my game before he turns it off.

So what do you think of when you hear "kids' games" or "children's games" or "rated E for everyone"? I think of Super Mario Bros.Spyro The DragonCrash BandicootCroc, and similar games that I grew up on.

Now there's cool games that integrate toy figurines, like Skylanders and Disney Infinity. Simply place the toy on a cool little platform connected wirelessly -that's right, no wires!- to the console and voilà! Your toy is now your character in the game! Talk about a great way to keep kids playing with their toys!

Why didn't they have that when was growing up?!

What I find more exciting is that my son gets to enjoy the fruits of ever-evolving modern technology. For example, he has a plush toy in his crib that I can connect to the internet and change the songs it sings, the things it says... It even spells out my son's name.

Thinking back, the most exciting toys I had when I was a kid were the Mega Mic, a Furby and a Tamagotchi or Giga Pet. They were all electronic! If my son has a toy that connects to the internet now, just think of what kind of toys will be available in the next five or ten years!

If you've never played Skylanders or Skylanders Giants, I'd recommend trying it at least once. It's cool, makes a great family game since it only contains a little cartoon violence (most kids watch cartoons anyway!), it's simple to understand and sometimes can be quite challenging since the lives of your one figurine can run out quickly if you're not too careful! And in case you didn't know, Skylanders is the new Spyro game. That's right - 15 years after the release of his debut game, Spyro The Dragon, Spyro is still going strong in the gaming world.

And he brought some friends.

Did I mention that Skylanders is available on every gaming platform, including mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone? Seems appropriate, right? It should be - it's a kids' game!

What Game Changed Your Life for the Better? Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:01:59 -0400 Kelvin Maynard Jr.

Being a gamer for pretty much my entire life, I have run into so many people from all over the video gaming community. One how the question that comes up almost all the time is "What is your favorite game of all time?"

I always get stuck on this question because I find it slightly offensive for someone to ask me this. How am I suppose narrow down to my favorite game of all time, when I have played almost every video game genre known to man (except for card based games, if I did that I would have to take a long hot shower to wash of the shame).

Any gamer worth their controller are the same as me exploring all avenues of gaming. How can we be expected to be pigeonhole to selecting just one game?

As I said before, I always become stuck on this G.O.A.T. question. Well this weekend I sat and thought about it and came up with an answer:


Now, I know what you’re thinking, "how did I come up with that answer?" Well I been sharing my love of gaming with 2 of my older children, my son Ellis 7 and my daughter Gabby 5. One day they both ran into my room and begged me to buy them Skylanders: Giants. After a few days of “Daddy can we have it?" I finally broke down and brought home for them one weekend. I didn't expect much, thought they would play with it once or twice then it would gather dust or I would have to play it myself to get some value out of it.

To my surprise, the game was actually fun and my kids were actually good at it. My daughter seems to have a knack for solving the puzzles in the game fairly quickly. From then on it became a family project to beat the game, get the characters and level them up. I had more fun watching my kids playing then I ever had playing any game before. This is the game that changed my life for the better and is in my book the greatest of all time.