COMMENTARY: Skylanders Swap Force Takes Over Times Square

Fans get in on the video game action.

Fans get in on the video game action.

On October 10, Skylanders fanatics united in New York City for the Skylanders SWAPtoberfest! A life-size world of Skylands was created right in the middle of Times Square. I joined hundreds of kids as they checked out all-things-new at Skylanders and prepared for the highly anticipated release of the new Skylanders Swap Force video game. Kiosks were set up, alongside a Skylands ship, for fans to play the new game in advance of its official launch. Skylanders Swap Force game footage was also featured on the Times Square jumbotron, so fans and passersby were able to watch the action! Kids, parents, and bloggers participated in Swaptober-themed events: Eating candy corn and cupcakes; greeting the costumed characters of the SWAP Force; and learning to play the new video games, which released in North America on October 13. I don’t want to brag, but after about 40 minutes of hogging the video game kiosk (stealing the time from actual children with no shame), I am pretty much a Skylanders boss!

I love that the Skylanders brand is so extensive, offering something for kids of all ages and interests.

SWAP Force takes over Times Square

SWAP Force takes over Times Square

Even better is the fact that all you really need to get started in the Skylanders realm is a Swap Force Starter Pack. This set includes a video game, a portal of power, a collector’s poster, three trading cards, three character sticker sheets with secret codes, and three Skylanders figures. There is also a starter pack available in the Dark edition; it includes a video game, a portal of power, a mega character collector poster, five sticker sheets with secret codes, five trading cards, and five Skylanders figures.  These starter packs also come in Giants and Syro’s Adventures editions. The technology and inspiration behind the new Skylanders video game make it an absolutely unstoppable force. I was able to speak with several of the video game designers who shared with me that the evolution of the game is only beginning—Skylanders is just getting started! All of the designers that I spoke with are parents, and one mommy/designer shared with me that this is the first game that she’s been a part of that she is happy to share with her children.

Zachary Gordon hosts the event

Zachary Gordon hosts the event

While the Skylanders characters battle it out, the video games are kid-focused and mild in battle game comparison. Video games include Skylanders Swap Force, Skylanders Giants, and Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure. The 40 minutes that I stole from kids that were dying to play video games were spent on the Skylanders Swap Force game. This game is based on the idea that the SWAP Force protected the volcano that replenishes Skylands’ magic. Then, they were unfortunately caught in a powerful eruption that blasted them apart. It’s up to the player to mix and match their tops and bottoms, put them on the Portal of Power, and save Skylands. The video games are compatible with Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, Playstation, and PS3. The game will also be available with the launch of Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Skylanders online and app games are also available. After leaving the event, I downloaded Skylanders: Lost Islands on my iPhone. Lost Islands is a free game where the player must rebuild the island of Mabu. Though I prefer a handheld controller and large screen, the app version is the next best thing!

Half me, half Wash Buckler!

Half me, half Wash Buckler!

To top off the event, guests were able to have their picture taken with the lower half of the Wash Buckler. James Marsden (Iron Man II) and Zachary Gordon (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) hosted and emceed the event. Marsden awarded one lucky kid with a Skylanders Swap Force starter pack, and both actors took pictures with adoring video game fans. Fans also had their photographs taken with, and even as, the Swap Force characters. Half of the Wash Buckler was there for fun, swappable photo-ops!

For more commentary from Kara, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!