Thursday, September 13, 2012

Reach for the Sky(lander)

I rose early the other morning, just in time to grab a cab and head to the airport.
I was Sydney-bound, and for a Very Important Event too.
At least it was Very Important according to my kids.
“Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes,” they chanted, when I first mused aloud as to whether I should travel all the way from Brisbane to Sydney to play a game.
Followed quickly by: “Can we come too?” (Hah! Nice try…)
For I had been invited, dear reader, to one of the kiddie events of the year: A sneak peek at the sequel to the hugely successful Skylanders games and toys: Skylanders Giants!
If you haven’t heard about Skylanders you either don’t know anyone with kids, live on another planet, or are one of those Terribly Sensible parents who don’t let their kids watch computers, play electronic games, or collect toys. (Not that there is anything wrong with that).
In fact, and I have to ‘fess up here, my poor neglected children don’t even get to play Skylanders at home. Let's face it, I’m too much of a tight-arse to spring for a console. And I do try to be one of those Terribly Sensible parents who encourages her children to climb trees, pick berries, drink lashings of ginger beer, and solve mysteries. (I may have stolen that last part from Enid Blyton.)
Fear not, because the kids do get to play at their Dad’s house and with various friends and family. And they spend their pocket money collecting toys and other bits of expensive tatt that is apparently de rigeur in the playground these days.
So being included in a group of bloggers to try out the new Skylanders Giants before anyone else in Australia, had given me serious Kid Cred.
When I got home, they deluged me with questions. What were the new characters like? Was it true they lit up in real life too? Which ones did I like best? (Great, yes, Tree-Rex and Whirlwind)
Here are the facts:

  •        Skylanders Spryo’s Adventures was the number one selling toy of the year worldwide in 2011, as well as K-Zone’s Toy of the Year, which is voted for by kids. So I’m guessing I know what is going to be on the Christmas list for Santa this year!
  •         More toys have been sold globally than the population of Australia.
  •         LTD Australia has sold more toys than the population of Adelaide.
  •        If all toys that they have sold were lined up they would stretch from Sydney to Brisbane.
  •         Skylanders Spyro's Adventure figures outsold all action-figure lines, including Star Wars and Transformers, for the first six months of 2012.
  •         The Air Skylander, Lighting Rod, is modeled after Zeus, King of the Olympians. Zeus’s most well-known symbol of power was his lightning bolt, given to him by the Cyclops.
  •         If Wham-shell, a Water Skylander, were life sized then his iron mace would measure over 2 ½ feet across and weigh over 1.905kg.
  •  Whirlwind is a winged unicorn (a Unipeg) in the game of Skylanders. Unipegs are also seen in She-Ra: Princess of Power, Sailor Moon, My Little Pony, and Digimon. (I always like to see female characters in games and other media, and in fact, Miss 9 is possibly a bigger Skylanders fan than her big brother.

As a parent, I loved that Skylanders Giants adds value to the money you’ve already invested into the original Spyro’s Adventures.

This one can be played across all consoles (wii, x-box, Nintendo etc), and even online.
So if your kids have friends and family visiting they can play each other no matter what console the other one owns. Or they can take their games/characters/consoles over to their mates and verse each other. Easy.

You can keep and play with the characters you already have, and add them into the Giants series as well. And the light-up figures are powered wirelessly, so there are no need for batteries.

All you'll need to access the Giants game is a Skylanders Giants starter pack, which comes with three characters, so you're good to go. It's out next month - yes, just in time for those Santa wish-lists.

Here are a few more facts my kids found interesting:
  • ·         Skylanders Giants once again merges physical world of toys with virtual world of games and brings the toys to life
  • ·        Giants features 16 new characters including eight Giants and eight LightCore (which light up in game and in real life). These consist of 4 new characters and 4 favourites from last year’s game. So there are 48 characters in total.
  • ·         The fan-favourite characters from 2011 are back as ‘series 2’ with new ‘wow pow’ upgrade powers as well as upgrade paths. (I don't know what 'wow pow' means either, but the attractive and clever young PR peeps used the terms so I'm trying to sound trendy by using them too...)
  • ·         All characters from last year’s game are compatible with Giants with their upgrades/abilities intact.
  • ·          Characters can now be levelled up to 15, instead of only 10 as in last year’s game.
  • ·         The environments are larger and more robust, with features such as interiors and enhanced elemental zones that were not present in Spyro’s Adventure.
Sound cool? My kids think so, and I have to say it looked really impressive.
The kids who were lucky to attend – living in or around Sydney so a day off school was not required – thought so too.
In fact, the adults had to fight the kids for the controls! And a few parents admitted they enjoyed playing Skylanders as much, or more, than their kids did. So it's something you can do together if you want.
Thanks to Activision and Skylanders Giants I have a Skylanders Spyro’s Adventures Dark Spyro figure to give away.
To win, just leave a comment saying what Skylander power you’d like to have. Me? I’d love to have magical powers. And a bit of fire-breathing would be tops too. 

(MIA: This competition has now closed, and the winner was @MsDovic who wishes she had the secret power Skylanders have to keep her kids entertained!) 

Here are some highlights from the event:

Sydney turned on some gorgeous Spring weather for the Skylanders event

A giant Spyro stands guard in the foyer of Activision's seriously cool headquarters at Pyrmont, Sydney. Keeps unwanted callers away apparently ...

Through a huge secret door panel in the wall we entered an enchanted world where bean bags lingered invitingly and huge TVs dominated

Skylanders goodie bags. I was given two to take home - one each for the kids, with an extra toy for my lovely followers to win. I carried it like special cargo on-board my Qantas flight, which was actually the nicest service I've experience on Qantas for years. 

Afternoon tea was served ... and that's apple juice in the jug for the kiddies, not wine!

Fruit salad (yummy yummy.) Apologies to The Wiggles.

Cheese and crackers

Well it couldn't ALL be healthy, could it? We parents fought the kids for these ...

Disclaimer: MIA did not receive any remuneration for this post, but my flights and transfers were paid for and arranged by Pulse Communications on behalf of Activision and Skylanders Giants.


Fleurchan said...

I would love to be able to fly so I could fly around the world nd visit my friends.

In The Good Books Blog said...

I would love to be able to have magical powers so I could make my life a whole lot easier!! Also, I would like the Fire Skylander's ability to travel through heat/lava unharmed - I'm prone to burning myself when I cook so that would be really handy!!

Kim m said...

I would like to have a flaming sword and tail!!!

@msdovic said...

This is SO EASY. I want that unique super power each of the Skylanders seem to have - which is manage to keep my kids amazingly quiet, content and amused!

Actually I would turn purple if that's all it took.

My kids are besotted....

Unknown said...

I would love to be like a shadow and be able to move around without been seen...

Unknown said...

Loving these super powers ... I can already turn purple quite easily, usually with frustration at NOT being able to keep the kids quiet!

Effie said...

Hmmm, I don't know if the Skylanders have this power or not, but I'd love to be able to read people's minds! Then I'd know what the heck my husband and son are thinking when I'm talking to them and they just ignore me!