Times are tough people say. Money is still in short supply for many households out there. However, there seems to be one thing that has been constant lately which as a collector has me now having to make choices as the holiday gift buying season comes along this year. You see I am an avid gamer, I love games of all types from sports to first person shooters to rpgs and everything in the middle. One thing that many game franchises do is to try to keep a new version of their game coming out every year. Right now WWE has had a game come out every year since at least 2000 of which I have owned most of them. Call of Duty has who knows how many games in it’s franchise and Assassins Creed is up to something like 6 or 7 games, though not all are numbered, which makes for some confusing times trying to figure out which game to put in next. While these games always come out with the typical $50-$60 dollar price tag I am not one of those that has to go right out and buy it (unless of course it has some AWESOME pre-order goodies with it that make it worth while at the beginning). However, in November of 2011 a game was introduced that would start to change the industry and make gamers and collectors both start shelling out tons of money. This game is known as Skylanders!
In 2011, my at that time Fiancee was wonderful enough to buy for me on Black Friday a cool looking new game called Skylanders. It was truly a ground breaking game by taking toys with RDIF technology and being able to hot swap them on a “portal” to put that toy into the game whenever needed.
They even made it where each toy was part of 8 different elements and each element was able to be better or worse depending on where on a certain board you were. This made it where you really needed to get at least 8 characters, on for every element, to truly unlock everything in the game. The toys were very cool looking and you got 3 of them in the starter pack along with the portal. There were also 4 characters per element so all together you had 32 characters. Most characters came in their own packs for about 9 dollars each but then for almost twice that you could get a pack with a character and a thing that opened a new world and two little power ups for the portal as well. All in all to fully collect just the normal characters and not the special editions you were looking at somewhere around $400 dollars most likely (thank goodness for buy 1 get 1 sales and things like that).
In 2012 Skylanders stayed true to the industry and added Skylanders: Giants their second installment in this new franchise. For this one they made the portal backwards compatible so that the old characters could still be used so awesome you don’t truly have to buy new characters. However what would be the fun in that.
They then added one Giant character per element as well as one new Skylanders per element. Each Giant was about $15 and the characters were still around $9 and we had 16 new figures in all to collect. Not to mention some figures got a new makeover where parts of them glowed, so if you wanted that there were about 8 of those I think and most of the old figures were given a makeover. Since I do not care about the makeovers or special light up characters I am only 2 giants away from having a full collection for the first two games and here we are in June of 2014. So what happened last year?
That’s right in 2013 the Skylanders did it again by bringing out Swapforce. They now had other giant sized characters where with magnet and RDIF technology you could swap a characters top with another characters bottom to create a whole new character. Sounds cool! However, around this same time Disney introduced it’s own version of this type of game and called it Disney Infinity.
Just like Skylanders it has a portal system though not as bulky as Skylanders. Just like Skylanders it has several worlds you can unlock with new packs. The games are not very similar because Skylanders is a pretty straight forward go out there and fight game with some puzzles whereas Infinity is constantly giving you mini-games to complete in each board that all add up to your one larger board goal. Infinity to me is based more for the children but can still be fun enough for an adult to play with. The real fun for Infinity though for the adults is in the Toy Box Mode which is a lot like the Halo Sandbox where you can just basically make whatever your sick little mind can come up with. I haven’t used it yet but I have seen some video’s on it and seen what some others have created and it can be amazing. Did I mention that Skylanders does NOT have a sandbox mode? One other thing with Infinity is just like the original Skylanders had power ups so does Infinity though they come as power disks that you can buy in blind packs…Ooooooooooo I do love mystery packs they are a weakness of mine! Infinity is also based around actual Disney characters unlike Skylanders that’s always introducing something new. Disney Infinity characters cost between the two costs of the Skylanders characters coming in at 12 dollars. They don’t feel as sturdy as the Skylander characters but they have great detail and are as big as the Giants in most cases. So taking everything into consideration, I had decided last year to go and buy Disney Infinity because I figured with having a child in the house now when he gets old enough to play the games he may rather play the games with the characters he knows from some of his favorite movies instead of just random monsters.
So the beginning of this year comes and goes and the only thing I see listed as coming out is a new Disney Infinity version and this one excites me as it is based on the Marvel Superheroes! So I was stoked I mean Avengers toys and video games in one WOOHOO! Then the news hit, Skylanders is releasing yet another new game! This time with a new portal and the ability to trap bad guys in gems and then use the bad guys as playable characters. My first reaction was “but but but I’m not even done collecting the figures for Skylanders Giants yet! I haven’t even gotten Swap Force yet!”
In my opinion Skylanders needs to SLOW DOWN! What I saw of my nephew playing Swap Force did not impress me nearly as much as did Giants or the first Skylanders game. Not to mention that with money still tight in most households a lot of kids and collectors are going to end up missing out on characters that they may want. I would love to get Swap Force and the toys simply because they are cool and I think my son will enjoy them one day, but I can’t afford this many new toys this quickly and I don’t know many collectors who can. So I talked with my significant other and asked, ok I basically debated with myself about it. The question being what to do if we can afford one of these? Do we get the third installment of Skylanders this late in the game or do we go with Infinity 2.0 and here is what I figured out.
Skylanders: Game 1 was awesome, Game 2 was pretty good, what I saw from game 3 looked to be a step down from two so I think they are sacrificing some playability and graphics in order to get these out quicker. Only has one real game mode unless you count the player vs player which in my opinion had been kind of boring. Cool monsters to buy and play with but no known names ,other than Spyro, so I don’t think they will be all that collectable in the long run.
Infinity: Version 1.0 is pretty awesome with the starter pack giving you access to known Disney worlds such as the Incredibles, Pirates of the Caribbean and Monsters University. Unlock-able worlds included Lone Ranger, Toy Story and Cars. Toy Box only Characters came from various movies like Frozen, Nightmare Before Christmas, Wreck it Ralph, Fantasia, and the hit tv show Phineas and Ferb (Perry Rocks). Infinity also has the Toy Box mode which I think is a great addition. Mini-games vs the Straight forward adventure style of Skylanders is something I think will be great for kids. In about 20 years, I would say Infinity characters are much more collectable than Skylanders simply because they are Disney. Add into that the fact that 2.0 has Avengers and it’s rumored that Star Wars is coming out as well hopefully in 2.0 and not next year as a 3.0 and this gets even cooler.
So while I love Skylanders and have had a lot of fun with it, I am thinking in the long run, the best way to go may be with Disney Infinity.
(pictures coming soon)
Pictures Courtesy of Myself unless noted below
Skylanders Banner- ComputerUniverse.net
swapforce banner- gamingexpress.co.uk
disney infiniy banner- thisisxbox.com