Saturday, February 9, 2013

ToyFair 2013: Skylanders SWAP Force Mixes Customization & Collecting!

Skylanders has been doing things right for a while now.

First there was the multi-platform Activision video game that required toy figures to play as specific characters. This was marketing gold, but also a lot of fun. Instead of an in-game purchase, it was an in-store purchase. Players would buy physical object that looked cool on their toy shelf but also doubled as a part of their game. You could technically play the game without the characters, but they were divided into a bunch of factions (wind/fire, etc). Areas within the game required characters from certain factions, and with each character having unique attacks, movement and abilities... having a variety of characters was very helpful. This may sound annoying, but it was quite the opposite. Have you ever heard of a positive experience in spending money? A few games have tried to do this, but Skylanders did it best. Proof: The first Christmas of its release you couldn't find a single figure on the store shelves.

Then they took things to the next level in Skylanders Giants with massive oversized figures that could do a lot more damage on screen (and to your wallet). But it was still cool. Nothing groundbreaking, but bigger usually means better. Especially with kids.

Now, for the third version of the game, Activision is intruding Skylanders SWAP Force. 16 new customizable figures that continue to blur the lines between the physical objects and their digital representations. Each figure has a mid-point that allows the player to make their own brand new character on the spot. The character will visually change, but their in-game effects also change. Depending on where you are in the game, you can modify your character to have two varying attacks, which can be very helpful. Customization makes everything better in video games, and adding this to the physical product tops that. The design of the characters may suffer a bit as everyone needs a common center shape, but having more control over your character is exactly where Skylanders needs to go.

Check it out:

More ToyFair 2013:

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