So, I blame e.
I am absolutely convinced that if anyone I know really passionately talks about anything…I mean ANYTHING…I will shortly find myself in possession of said things. Or at the very least digging into it. This is why I own a safety razor and a badger hair lather brush. (Thanks, @drewbenz!)
Anyway, when it comes to games, the threshold that needs to be surpassed is even smaller than any other category of stuff. And, of course, the vast majority of my friends are avid, rabid gamers, many of whom work in the gaming industry.
So e (@thevowel) started talking about Skylanders on Twitter and during the podcast he does with Team Dysfunction over at Xbox. He’s got a post about it on his blog. (I definitely encourage you to check out his blog…the post, if you’re interested. At the very least, you should follow him on Twitter. You know, if you can, you know, tolerate a stream of videogames, general geekery, gadgets, and the Oregon Ducks.)
The main thrust of his recent blog post is about which Skylanders he owns. See, the game itself is what I’d call a 3D Platformer…MAYBE a 3D Action game. Got some RPG elements to it, and it’s definitely got a kid-friendly spin going on there. But the truly demonic part of this game is that there are actual 3D figurines that you can purchase/collect separately…and once you HAVE a figurine, you can place it on a peripheral that’s attached to your game system (THE PORTAL OF POWER!), and then PLAY that character in game. Now, you don’t NEED all the different figurines (there are 32 at last count, not including limited editions, palette swaps, and other minor things there…) but there are benefits to having at least a few of each of the eight types. And there are bonuses (of course…) if you have more than one within a type.
Each of the figures has its own way of attacking and moving. Some move fast, others slow. Some are ranged attackers, and some are melee in nature. Some have area effect. There’s no WRONG way to get through the game…and any character or two can do just fine to finish the story. But of course, demonocity! They’ve placed gates in the levels that can only be opened by a Skylander of the right type. So if you’re a completionist (and who isn’t…?) you’ll NEED at least a few more of the figurines if you want to find ALL THE THINGS.
Naturally, the figurines are all sold separately…but, again FIE!…some are exclusive to certain retailers. Some are rarer than others. Some haven’t come out yet. Some are… you get the point. e talks about going to six stores to find Hex. I did the same thing…and at the sixth store, I didn’t just find the last Hex, but also Wrecking Ball…who is very, very funny.
There are also a few “adventure packs” which are effectively expansions – new levels that you can explore by placing the representative figure (like a mausoleum or a pirate ship) onto the Portal of Power (the peripheral mentioned earlier.)
Anyway, people are starting to get interested. Some have been, and are just waiting for that tiny little nudge to get them to purchase. Naturally, as people get involved, one of the questions you hear a lot is “Which ones do you have?” and “So which one should I get after the starter pack?” Of course, I leapt into the abyss with nary a thought, spending a day bouncing around the Seattle metropolitan area going from Target to Walmart, Best Buy to GameStop.
Magic: Spyro, Dark Spyro (3DS Starter), Wrecking Ball, Voodood
Earth: Bash, Prism Break, Terrafin (From the Pirate Expansion)
Water: Zap, Gill Grunt
Fire: Ignitor, Flameslinger, Eruptor
Tech: Boomer, Drill Sergeant (Walmart/Sam’s Club), Drobot, Trigger Happy
Undead: Hex, Chop Chop, Ghost Roaster (From the Mausoleum expansion)
Air: Whirlwind (Target), Sonic Boom
Life: Stump Smash, Stealth Elf
So anyway, if you were looking to get involved, Amazon’s having a sale on the starter, and Toys R Us is having a 2 for $10 sale in-store on the figures.
I’m a big fan of Trigger Happy. He’s armed with a pair of gold pistols that shoot coins. He throws a safe as his alternate attack. His special unlockable attack is that a pintle-mounted heavy machine gun springs up from the ground and lets you hose down the entire area with little gold bullets of doom. And of course, he’s completely insane, shrieking “MINE! MINE!” whenever he picks up any loot.
So if anyone finds a Slam Bam, Cynder, or Camo, go ahead and pick it up…I’ll pay you back.
Yeah. I can stop at any time. Besides…there’s only 32 of them, right?