You may remember that I included Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure in my article about gaming trends I despise. I absolutely despise the multi-pronged marketing tactic used to sell this game because it is so goddamned brilliant.
The only thing those marketing bastards could have done to be even more devious would have been to include particular figurines exclusively with different console releases. I know they thought about it, they had to have. The 3DS version does include an exclusive “Dark Spyro” figurine and two additional that differ from the home console versions. However, the Xbox 360, Wii and PS3 all include the same 3 figures. Perhaps it is too evil even for Activision to try and force me to buy a copy of the game for each of the 3 major consoles and a handheld. Obviously it would be possible to resort to eBay and Craig’s list to obtain these exclusive figures for exorbitantly high prices, but luckily it hasn’t come to that… yet.
All of these figures are theoretically available in individual packages as well as 3 packs. There are a couple of “adventure packs” that include a Skylander figure, a couple of bonus items that can heal your Skylanders or otherwise affect gameplay with different types of modifiers such as slowing enemies or providing you with ghost swords that automatically attack enemies. These adventure packs must unlock content already in the game because there is no installation required for the levels they provide you access to, nor are you prompted to download anything.
There are 32 base figurines. I say “base” because there are alternate colors of some of the base characters which increases the number of actual different figurines significantly. There is a “Dark” version of Spyro, Toys R Us also exclusively carries a “Legendary” set of figurines – 3 alternate colored figurines which may or may not have different abilities than their original color-palette brethren. Many major retailers carry some kind of exclusive item or figurine for the Skylander world, so expect to be traipsing all over town or to many different online retailers to complete your collection. It’s a trap.
I knew it. I knew it and I still fell into the trap. I knew I would absolutely get hooked on collecting these stupid little action figures for this game and I was proven correct. Since receiving the Xbox 360 version of the game recently I have been hunting all over the state to find more figures. Apparently Skylanders was the video game boon of the holidays and the individual figurines are sold out at just about any online and brick and mortar store you can think of.
Through meticulous planning and coordination with third parties, friends and relatives, I have leveraged buying multiple copies of the game and combining and distributing as needed the figurines included in “Mega Packs” and the 3DS versus console releases to boost my own collection. Recently I have been to well over a dozen stores in 3 different nearby cities and returned mostly empty-handed.
This recent exercise in futility would have been much more disheartening if it weren’t for the fact that my 4-year old son is absolutely in love with this game. This game is very kid-friendly, especially the early levels. The first half-dozen or so levels could be completed by him on his own which thrilled him to no end. As the levels get trickier and the enemies get tougher, I have been more involved in the co-op aspect of the game. Teaching him the ways of the gamer. It has been a great bonding experience for both of us, if a bit trying for the completionist in me. At times I can’t understand why he wants to run around the main hub-world, swimming and shooting walls for minutes at a time while I am pulling my hair out wanting to beat the next level. I have to remind myself that he is so very young in his gaming life and needs time to explore the space, enjoy the freedom of unlimited trial and error in worlds we can never experience except through gaming. Then I become a little misty-eyed and sort of jealous of his new experience.