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September 2013 Retro Gaming Article

September 27, 2013 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Skylanders Giants dress up Eye-Brawl for Halloween but did not change his in-game appearance

I was pretty stoked to discover Skylanders Eye-Brawl would be released as a special Halloween edition. I found a surprisingly large stash of Pumpkin-head Eye_Brawl figures at my local Toys R Us! Halloween is a fun time of year with a lot of spooky adornments to things we love... like Skylanders. So, finding a special edition of Eye-Brawl was pretty cool.

Skylanders Giants dress up Eye-Brawl for Halloween Keep in mind that all the available figures are all pre-configured at the time each Skylanders game is released. As you purchase figures at the store, placing them on the portal allows them to be playable based on the info already on your game disc. This means that even a new "just released" character was likely held back from the retail channel, but the code to play the character was already on the game disc you bought.

Lets look at Pumpkin Eye_Brawl as an example. I bought Skylanders Giants in the Fall of 2012 when it was released. At that time I bought all the Giants figures I could find - Eye-Brawl was nowhere to be found. Later I discovered him and bought him. Gotta like that detachable eye upgrade! Then a year later we find a new variant of Eye-Brawl for Halloween.

I rarely use the in-store Skylanders Giants demo station, but I plopped this special edition Eye-Brawl right on the demo unit at Toys R Us. And there he was - identical to the one I had already bought. Interestingly, he is still identified as "Eye Brawl" on the Toys R Us Demo Station. His pumpkin head glows which is hella cool, but his in-game appearance is identical to the original Eye Brawl character.

When I got home I was eager to drop him on my portal with an actual retail game disc (not the TRU Demo version). He still has the original character's appearance, but he's identified on the intro screen as "Special Eye Brawl" which leads me to believe that all the Skylanders figures are coded to recognize a "special" variant. This way, Activision can release alternates and allow the game to differentiate two seemingly identical characters.

Seeing that his appearance is identical in-game was disappointing, but expected. However, GameStop was taking pre-orders on him and Toys R Us had a large stockpile of the figures, so this release doesn't seem geared toward rarity. Hence, the Swap Force game may be programmed to display his pumpkin appearance within the Swap Force game.

Many things like this in the Sony and Microsoft game world are resolved via an update or some sort of download. The Wii and Wii U are certainly capable this, so this makes me wonder why they release a character that is NOT the same between the figure and in-game display.

Of course this means I will be very suspicious if I see a Christmas Tree Rex :)

No in-game pumpkin head for Halloween themed Eye-Brawl Skylanders Giants figure

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