Scott: The Gamer + Skylanders

I’m not afraid to admit that I am not only just 38 years old, but I am also a gamer.  Some of you are probably rolling your eyes thinking, “Oh grow up Iain!”

This is one area, in which, I refuse to grow up.

I think video games actually help to keep the brain sharp from problem solving, and also keeping my reflexes quick.

A few weeks ago, I finally found a video game that Scott might actually be interested in playing, and one I had been thinking about wanting for a long time – Skylander’s Spyro’s Adventure. I’m actually pretty overjoyed at this because I’ve wanted to share in the experience of gaming with Scott for several years now, and while a group of us got him playing Assassins Creed at Christmas last year, he never stuck with it.  I don’t blame him – it’s a difficult game and learning the controls for a first timer is not easy.  I needed something that he could sink his teeth into, even if it mean finding an easy game.  Skylanders was it – and he invested in getting himself a set of characters for each element so he could complete the game.  Wow!

For the record, Scott did not grow up with video games so his context is very different from mine, despite only 4 years difference between him and me.  And believe me, the ‘gaming divide’ of 4 years is pretty significant.

Consider those of us who grew up with the Atari 2600, Colecovision and Intellivision; and those who started with a Nintendo Entertainment System or Sega Master System; versus kids today whose first gaming system may be an XBox 360 or Playstation 3.  Even between different countries – Apple ][s versus, Commodore 64s, versus Sinclair ZX Spectrums, etc…

Despite the games collection I grew up with on my Commodore 64 or Amiga, I didn’t have much time for games per-se.  I’d play for a few minutes and turn off or switch games.  I played a lot of Bard’s Tale, Karateka, Maniac Mansion, Zac McKrakken and the Alien Mindbenders (First game I ever finished), Shadow of the Beast, Xenon 2, and Arkanoid to name a few that I did play on a regular basis.

I didn’t have time for game machines.  Yes, I admit, I had a holier than thou attitude saying they weren’t real computers and as such, a waste of time and money.

Secretly, I really wanted a Gameboy and I drooled over the NES Deluxe Set with ROB.

I often say my first game machine was actually a Sega Dreamcast.  Truth is, a Gameboy Colour that I bought in British Columbia was the first, purchased in the late 90s or early 2000s during Christmas.

The Dreamcast, I bought at a Best Buy – first time I went to one, for $49 at a Black Friday sale in Philly.  Thankfully with friends who had them and with how cheap the games were by then, I snapped up what I could.  I still have this unit and almost all the accessories, except for the fishing rod.

What really excelled me into being more of a hardcore, though still middle of the road, gamer was the PS3.  I LOVE the Playstation 3.  If it were not for Little Big Planet, I would not be the gamer that I am today.  That game sucked me in. It also showed me how beautiful video games had become.  I also love what Sony has done with the Playstation Plus membership, providing free games every month – and we’re not just talking lame independent games here – we’re talking Infamous, Little Big Planet 2, etc…  Definitely a value.

We’re both late bloomers into gaming, and I’m glad we did it, and I’m very glad I found something Scott can play.  Now he’s considering going back to try Assassins Creed, starting from the beginning, now that he’s comfortable with how the controllers work.

If I had to pick between watching TV and playing a game – I’d pick the latter.

My thoughts on Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure?  I think it’s misnamed.  Spyro really doesn’t have much to do with the storyline other than he’s one of the characters in the game.

The game itself is great.  A fairly simple and stright forward platforming game with shooting where you have to get to the end collecting treasures, soul gems, hats and other items, within a specific amount of time.  If you don’t – that’s okay, you still get what you need for the storyline at the end of the level.

For Spyro’s Adventure, you’re looking at, easily, $179 to play the complete game for which, if you want to collect every item and fully complete the hidden game levels that open up when you buy things like an adventure pack.  I have highballed that number, but it gives you the idea of what you’re getting into if your kids are asking.  This consists of:

  • $69.99 for the game with three characters and the portal
  • $49.99 for 5 more characters for the other elements.
  • $60.00 for 3 adventure packs

Skylanders Giants, which is apropriately titled, is the second game with more robust graphics and sound..  This time we have game characters that now light up (Giants and Lightcore characters) – see the picture at the beginning of this article. A pretty cool idea.  And you can reuse the chacters you already have from the first game – which now speak, where in the first game they did not.

I suspect – you’re going to need each of the giants to complete this game.  We’ll see.

Thumbs up from my standpoint.  And I hope these will be the first two games in which Scott and I achieve Platinum trophies. WOOHOO!!

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