A couple years back, we saw some little dragon characters at Target and thought they were cute, so we picked up a couple. Fast forward several months, and our nephew was really into this game called Skylanders (Skylanders: Giants, to be precise), so Grandma bought our son Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure for Christmas. Since our son was only two at the time, he wasn’t yet gaming on his own, so we would play the game together while he would be the Portal Master – the random swapping definitely got a little interesting at times (especially since he liked the most loathsome characters: Drill Sargent and Double Trouble). From there, Skylanders ballooned into our son’s favorite thing. At first, playing it so much was a little difficult, since the game was setup for very young kids and, while not the greatest, we aren’t novice gamers. Once we saw just how much our son loved it, though, we were hooked ourselves. A small fortune has been spent on characters at this point, including, since we were late to the game, purchasing a few rare ones of eBay, but it’s all been worth it. We thought this would be a passing phase, but it has stuck around for three years. Our son now plays by himself or with one of us on Xbox One (that started with the latest installment: Skylanders Trap Team) instead of just being the Portal Master while we play, but, more importantly, he knows every characters’ name, just about all their sayings, and plays with the characters more than any other toy. He has taken them on road trips, vacations, to restaurants, the doctor, everywhere. Massive Skylander battles have been waged across our family room floor and front yard, sometimes helping superheroes and Jake and the Neverland Pirates fend off various evilized beings. Our son’s fourth birthday party was Skylanders themed (at his request), with an incredible cake made by Shannon; he is now requesting a Skylanders Trap Team birthday party this year, although I was hoping he’d pick his second-favorite thing: Doctor Who. Anyway, getting back to my point, Skylanders have been a huge part of our family because of how wonderful it’s been for our son. The characters have great back stories (yes, we have all the books and comics), the bad guys are funny, and no one really gets hurt in the end.
That leads us to SDCC 2014 (our first one ever), where our son wanted to spend most of every day at the Skylanders booth looking at characters, and watching the Trap Team traile and game play, and even playing the game demo a bit, too. This is where we learned that Skylanders aren’t just a fun toy that our son gets hours-upon-hours of enjoyment from, or an entertaining game, but that it’s backed by a really great group of people. We met folks from Activision and possibly Toys for Bob, as well as the various marketing teams, and some members of the development team, including I-Wei Huang, the ultimate Portal Master. They were all simply amazing. They not only put up with all our time at the booth, but made us feel incredibly welcome and did some absolutely wonderful things for our son! We cannot thank them all enough, but did our best. The letter we sent to the folks at the Skylander booth that were so great to us is below (Activision’s Senior Director of Public Relations, President of Step-3, and Account Executive at pmk-bnc). If you were wondering about getting your family into Skylanders, just read this and know that every penny is worth it for the wonderful family moments and knowing that it’s supporting a great group of people that will continue to make not just an entertaining game, but long-lasting toys, for your kids.
We wanted to take a moment to say a very big THANK YOU so very much for all the kindness everyone showed our son at Comic Con. We had never before been to Comic Con and were taking [our son], not really knowing what to expect for him. You were all so great with him and we cannot express our appreciation enough for all the patience demonstrated on our repeated visits. As far as he was concerned, we didn’t need to do anything else for the whole of Comic Con except spend time watching and playing the new Skylanders Trap Team game. He held on to his trap for the rest of weekend and showed it off to everyone he could, even holding it in his hand at night and calling his grandparents to tell them all about it. He felt so very special and, if possible, he is now even more excited about the new Trap Team game coming out. We can’t tell you how many times he has asked us when October 5th is – each morning he wakes up with “Is it time yet?” Beyond that, you all made such an impression on him that the Tweeting, etc., we began with him at Comic Con, he asks to continue, bringing out his toys and saying “tweet me, tweet me, so the people from Comic Con see the Skylanders!” (sorry, he doesn’t differentiate Activision from Comic-Con! :-)
Even more than everything else you did for him, we want to express our great appreciation for everything you did to bring Gil Grunt out to meet [our son]. He asked this morning, “Mommy, are Skylanders real, because I think Skylanders are real.” For him, his favorite character was gone for several days while Jet Vac and Eruptor were still around because “Master Eon needed him,” and that his Skylander character was brought to life at Comic Con by Master Eon just to see him. As we mentioned, we have always been fans of the game because it’s been something that we could all do as a family and because [our son] gets so much joy out of playing with the characters (more than, but also mixed with, all his other toys). After interacting with you and your associates, we are even bigger fans of the Skylanders franchise.
Thank you all so very much, and please extend our appreciation to everyone at your booth, Jet Vac, Eruptor, and, most importantly, Gil Grunt (those suits cannot be fun to walk around in!). For [our son], we also have to throw in a thanks to Master Eon, who, we suppose, must be I-Wei, of course!
Shannon and Matthew