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June 2015 Retro Gaming Article


June 6, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Skylanders Superchargers looks cool, but ushers in another Fall season of toys-to-life spending

Only recently did I hear the term "Toys-to-Life". I read the term in an article and understood it's connotation to imply the Near Field Communication (NFC) games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity. It struck me as an overly wide descriptor, but I suppose it's more user-friendly than Near Field Communication. None the less - nothing is being brought to life and video games are NOT toys.

Skylanders Superchargers logo Video Games have been a retail category for a long time now. Long gone are the days when a billion dollar industry is described as toy-makers. Toys are wonderful and engage kids in many ways, but "toys" is often used in a negative fashion regarding gaming. When was the last time you heard G.I Joe referred to as a doll?

The Skylanders Dilema

I was getting a bit weary of buying a new Skylanders game with a portal and myriad of figures each Fall. My primary complaint is the lack of game play. Giants was the only game that didn't require a new portal to be played. It added new characters, but was more of an extension to the original game. The Giants were big and lumbering meaning there were areas in the game where a small fast character (from the Spyro game) was helpful. Aside from raw compatibility, the older characters have little value in the latter Skylanders games.

Skylanders games are much too short to justify all the available characters. I've enjoyed the franchise, but financially, I feel the customer is getting short changed, even though the characters work in later releases employing new features.

I've always felt that they should have released more games to support each technology. There are far too many characters to buy that become largely ignored when the next game arrives. Does anyone really want to play as Spyro when you can be Enigma? And are you really stoked to put Spyro in a Supercharger vehicle?

Trap Team re-inspired me about the Skylanders franchise. Although it required yet another starter-pack with a new portal, it added a lot of interesting additions. With Skylanders Superchargers on the horizon, it seems we are again at the precipice of buying more figures... and now vehicles. I will admit that both the vehicles and characters look awesome!

Skylanders Superchargers I'll likely buy Skylanders Superchargers, but I'm going to be far more selective about which characters and vehicles I purchase. Both my son and I have our favorite characters to play which means we tend to ignore many of the other figures... that we paid for. :)

My biggest gripe is the lack of games for each technology/portal. For all the combos afforded by the Swap Force figures, there could easily have been another game designed for that series. We're setting up a model where we buy an expensive starter-pack, play the game and then shelve it when the next game arrives.

As a retro gamer, I'm accustomed to playing games over long spans of time. I recently introduced my son to Missile Command on my Atari 2600. He loved it! At nearly 35 years old, Missile Command has provided more game play for me than most modern games. Naturally, this is a factor of time and the rapid pace of development as tech improves. Still, it brings up some interesting points when looking at the playable longevity of today's games. I feel that longevity is being shortened by the game cycle itself and gamer's acceptance of this shorter cycle. If a game is boring after 6 months... was it ever a good game?

Skylanders Superchargers Skylanders Superchargers

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