April 12, 2013 by dracs
We all had something which got us into collectible gaming. With Warren and Lloyd this was games such as Hero Quest and other dungeon delving adventures. For myself it started with Pokemon, and the various card games and toys based around it. In the last few years a new one has emerged, a video game with collectible components: Skylanders.
Skylanders is a series of video games published by Activision (and lately Namco Bandai) and represent the latest instalments in the Spyro series which first started back in the days of the Playstation 1. What separates Skylanders from other games is its collectible elements. Players can go out and buy various toy characters from the series, which are then placed upon a “Portal of Power” device, allowing you to play that character in the game.
Despite it being around since 2011 I only properly came across Skylanders this weekend when one of my younger cousins was proudly showing off his collection of weird monster figurines which could be used in the game. I recognised the passion he had for this game, along with the winces of his parents who had to foot the bill, being reminiscent of my own love of Pokemon back in the day.
The game itself I found to be a rather mediocre platformer, but I could see that wasn’t really where all the fun lay. What really drew my younger cousin in was collecting all these wondrous minis! Perhaps Skylanders would prove to be the gateway for younger gamers that Pokemon had been for me.
Then I began to think that Skylanders could possibly mean more than this in gaming terms. We have talked before on the site about the idea of tabletop games developing in the future into more of a hybrid of video and miniature gaming. Could Skylanders be this first step? Imagine it, you go out and buy the new unit for your army. You place the miniature upon some form of reader, such as the “portal” for Skylanders, and hey presto your miniatures are coming to life on the screen in front of you. Could this be a possible future our hobby could be heading towards?
Now don’t get me wrong, I doubt that our regular tabletop games are in any real danger of disappearing, but it cannot be denied that for many the strategy games based around Warhammer 40K was their first step into the hobby.
Now what if those games came to include the collectible elements of miniatures gaming in a similar way to Skylanders? Whether this would be a good or bad thing for the hobby I will leave you to decide. It is certainly interesting to think that this platformer, aimed at younger people, could represent the first steps in the evolution of miniatures gaming and collectible games as a whole.
What direction do you think gaming is headed in?