I Can Show You My Latest… Obession

*name the above quotation for bonus points


Hi, my name is Nifer and I am a Skylander-aholic.

I saw this interesting game in Walmart in the fall. It involved character figurines which somehow related to a video game playable on several console platforms.  Thinking my 4 year old might like it, I asked around, did some research, and wound up buying the newest iteration, Skylanders Swap Force, for him for Christmas.  The starter pack comes with the game disk, a portal of power, and 3 figures. I arranged for him to receive a few extra figures as well.

He loves it!

So do I. And so does my partner. And so does the baby. (She likes to throw and chew on the toys.)

(We also love the Wii U we bought to play Skylanders on.)

Let me tell you how it works.

When you place a figure on the portal of power, the character appears in the game as the hero under your control. Each character is unique and has its own powers. Each character is affiliated with one of 8 elements. In Skylanders Swap Force there are 16 swappable characters which, in addition to having an element, also have one of 8 special movement styles. These swappable figures come in two pieces, a top half and a bottom half, and can literally swap halves with one another for a total of 256 possible combinations.

The game is cute and cartoony, very straight-forward, but with plenty of challenges. It has several difficulty levels, lots of side quests and optional content, puzzles, collections, achievements, etc. In short it is suitable for all ages from kindergarten up.

But here’s the kicker –

While it is totally possible to beat the game with only the figures that come with the starter pack, or even with just one figure, there are many, many figures available. And some game content is locked unless you have a figure with the right element or movement.  Swap Force has 16 swappable figures, 16 new Skylanders, 16 Skylanders returning from previous games, and 8 lightcore Skylanders, which are light-up versions of already existing characters. Additionally, there are special variants. Some figures are released with different paint jobs than usual. For example – Legendaries – black and gold versions of existing Skylanders.

And then there are the other games in the series.

The original Skylanders game is called Spyro’s Adventure (yes, that’s Spyro the dragon). There are 32 Skylander figures for this game, plus variants. The second game is called Giants.  There are 8 giants, 8 new Skylanders, 24 returning Skylanders (with new poses and paint jobs), and 8 lightcores. Plus variants. All together there are now 80 basic figures, plus 26 re-released as series 2, plus 10 re-released as series 3, plus 16 lightcore, 14 legendary, 26 magic items, and 86 variants so far. That’s 258 collectable figures.

But it gets better.

Some figures are store exclusive – like the legendary Skylanders only available at Toys R Us.  Some are given away in special promotions – like the Frito-Lay sidekick figures.  Some are given only to employees of Activision or are exclusively available at trade shows like E3. Some are called “chase variants” and are randomly included in random shipments to random stores worldwide.

So, yeah, obsession.

I currently own a half a zillion Skylanders. I buy them constantly. I have bought them from ebay and Amazon, sometimes paying a bit more than retail for out-of-circulation figures. But I have also bought extras of exclusive or hard-to-find figures at retail or below to resell on ebay at a profit.

Eventually I MUST own them all.  Even if it means coughing up $200+ for “Snowderdash”, the 2013 employee exclusive only available on ebay from people who value cash above their own exclusivity.

Its worse than Pokemon when the urge to “catch’em all” includes packing your unwilling children into the car to drive many hours to Cleveland or Detroit to hit the Pokemon mall tour for exclusive downloads of otherwise impossible-to-get legendaries like Mew.

Yeah, that was me too.



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