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Skylanders Starter Guide

Updated on July 12, 2013

How a Confused Uncle Learned About His Nephew's New Obsession

When I asked my nephew what he wanted for his 5th birthday, I had no idea the challenge that lay ahead for me. 'Skylanders' he said. I replied: 'is that a toy? a game?'. My nephew replied: 'both'.

Ohhh boy.

After that my brother sent me this blurry picture of all the Skylanders figures my nephew had already collected. And with this blurry photo came my mission: a) Find out just what the heck Skylanders are, and b) Buy him one he didn't already have. With this one blurry photo as evidence, I began a kind of Detective mystery.

I have placed my findings here in the hope that other confused relatives can build off what I've learned. Once you learn what Skylanders are, they are a pretty cool set of toys. And maybe you'll find yourself playing along with the kids!

So...What are Skylanders Anyway?

A Simple Definition:

I found that finding a definition of Skylanders was the first obstacle to understanding them.

Skylanders is, at its heart, a video game. All the Skylanders toys are characters in that game, and when you connect these toys to your video game, you can play as that character.

The First Skylanders video game was called: Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure and there are 32 Skylanders figures created for that game.

Let's Gauge How Much We Know, Shall We?

Have You Ever Heard of Skylanders Before?

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Skylanders Starter Guide
Skylanders Starter Guide

How Do These Toys Work?

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As a gadget guy I was curious how these toys work.

Every video game comes with a "Portal of Power" that connects to your video game system (there is a Skylanders game for every major gaming console).

You then place the figures on the portal, and that character will enter the game. As you play with that character, you increase its stats (i.e. strenghth, speed). All the information is saved by an NFC chip. This means that a child can take his figures to his friends' place and use his Skylanders on his friends' system!

Skylanders Starter Packs

There's a lot of pieces with Skylanders, so Activision created these 'Starter Packs' to help you out. Each Starter Pack has the video game, a portal of power, and three figures to start you off. There are starter packs for all of the gaming consoles. The only difference is that which 3 Skylanders you get varies with each system.

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure Starter Pack - Nintendo Wii
Skylanders Spyro's Adventure Starter Pack - Nintendo Wii

The First Skylanders video game. It came out in 2011.

Skylanders Giants Starter Pack - Nintendo Wii
Skylanders Giants Starter Pack - Nintendo Wii

This is the second game. It came out in October 2012 and is the most popular so far.

Skylanders SWAP Force Starter Pack - Nintendo Wii
Skylanders SWAP Force Starter Pack - Nintendo Wii

This is the 3rd game, and it won't be released until October 2013. You can pre-order it now.

Skylanders Starter Guide
Skylanders Starter Guide

So What Did I Do?

I began to learn to recognize the Skylanders. Going back to the original photo, I noticed that he had Giants, which are new to the 2nd game: Skylanders: Giants. That, and after learning to recognize each character he had in his collection, I finally had the answer:

I asked him which ones he wanted.

But, since I understood how Skylanders worked now, I was able to understand the words coming out of his mouth!

Did I need to even bother? Now that I've taken a genuine interest in my nephew's new obsession, I can chat with him about it, and even play along with him!

Helpful Resources To Help You Learn More:

There's always boundless questions that can come up. This is a list of useful resources that can help you understand these toys better:

What Kids' Obsession Do You Have Trouble Understanding? Let Me Know in the Comments!!

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    • razelle09 profile image


      5 years ago

      these are new to me, however my nephew loves them

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 

      5 years ago from Europe

      The Octonauts were new to me, it was fun having my nephew explain it all. It's funny how very seriously kids take explaining such things, my older nephew spent hours patiently walking me thru Pokemon years ago.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      5 years ago

      Wow! Who the heck knew! Looks like fun though. Thanks for the info.


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