Ah Christmas, the time to reunite with your family and let them completely ignore the fact that you’re adult for the remainder of your visit. Christmas is also the time for gift giving, overeating and the occasional drinking with parents (post college). But I’m pleased to say that my Christmas went a little differently this year. You see, unlike most 23 year olds, a while back I received a unique gift in the form of a baby brother when I was 16. So along with that
challenge gift comes additional responsibilities like grappling, waking up extremely early everyday and witnessing his aversion to general “good” behavior. But more importantly it also means having the ability to find him cool toys and fuel his burgeoning love for video games. A role I was born to play.
Needless to say I knew exactly what
to get him Santa would bring him for Christmas this year. Something he’d been asking about for at least a month (which is 9 months 7 year-old time). But I was a little surprised. The game Santa was supposed to find (or die trying) was Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure. And though I was certain he wanted that game in particular and that Santa would buy it no matter what, I was quite turned off at the thought of shelling out over sixty bucks for a Spyro title…Now of course I mean no offense to any hardcore Spyro fans that might read this, but context-wise the last time I checked (at age 10) “Spyro” was the PlayStation game about a purple dragon that seemed like a kiddie version of Crash Bandicoot without the awesome peach rocket launcher. Nevertheless at the time I was too busy playing Game Day 98 and Street Fighter Alpha 3 to notice. (I thoroughly miss that Street Fighter game)
But after 5 minutes of setting everything up and plugging Skylanders in, I decided I was VERY wrong about Spyro. And as a result I’m telling everyone, shouting it from the rooftops and rafters that Spyro has completely come of age and his newest game is BADASS.
Spyro’s Skylanders Adventure challenges you with the task of saving the Core of Light, which was stolen by the evil wizard named “Khaos.” Luckily you as the player faced with such a task become blessed with your allies called “Skylanders,” who are basically other magical creatures that inhabit the land you once called home. With the aid of these Skylanders’ unique abilities you’re able to bust up baddies, find treasure and reclaim the Core of Light, thus restoring your kingdom to its once magically sound self.
Now I know you must be thinking, “Ok…so is this dude telling us we should get a game that middle schoolers might scoff at?”
The answer is yes if you don’t have smaller siblings to buy it for…YES I SAY! And mainly because I think the format is revolutionary. As it turns out, each Skylander is an action figure that comes to life in the game when you place them upon the “Portal of Power” aka a cool little glowing tower with a mini-USB receiver inside. Doing so will place your desired character into the game and via a magnificent animated sequence (rivaling anything I’ve seen in movies released over the last couple of years) you’ll see your selected Skylander on screen, fully ready to kick ass and take names! You can also switch between your Skylanders throughout the levels at any moment, just by placing the little guy on the cool-looking light-up platform. Got 2 players? Just place another figure on the portal. It’s so intuitive it’s scary.
But aside from all the technical joys included in this game, the basic concept is mind-blowing. The developers and publishers including: Toys for Bob, Vicarious Visions, Firma Studio, Activision and Sqaure-Enix put a lot of muscle into this game, developing 30 separate Skylanders with each belonging to a different element such as Water, Fire, Life, Magic, or Tech. Each individual Skylander is also host to its own unique abilities, like my little bro’s favorite “Trigger Happy,” who fights with two pistols that shoot crazy gold constructs out of thin air.
It’s basically the perfect marriage between toy and technology, i.e. the pinnacle of juvenile entertainment! Just think for a second, all of us who grew up prior to now playing with nothing but action figures and a Sega would have probably DIED to own a game like this.
I guess my overall point is that I’m thankful to have been given the gift of such a young sibling who is able to slow my “grown up” world down and occasionally show me some of the simple joys I forget. In his mind he was just getting a cool game for Christmas, but to me it was more like gazing directly into a mirror of my past while seeing the future of what’s to come. I couldn’t help thinking as I watched him play, “This is the best it gets,” and the funny thing is I know his 7-year-old brain was thinking the same thing as he rampaged through level after level, watching his favorite toys come to life.
Hope everyone had a great Holiday! If you’ve played it already we should talk!