The trickle down effect of Skylanders success seems to be unstoppable at the moment. The recent announcement of Skylanders books has been followed by other spin-off merchandise. As intriguing as it is to hear about even loosely connected Skylanders products selling out, how my kids use them in their Skylanders games is the real appeal for me.
This works both ways. Some products, like the Castle Grey Skull styled carrying case seem to mirror their instincts of creating forts for their figure collection to play in. Other products create new ways for them to play with their figures — the Skylanders styluses are case in point here and have led to all sorts of theatrics.
They don’t actually use the Skylanders DS styluses to play on the DS at all. Firstly they used them to create their own plays in a make shift cardboard theater. By poking the stylus up from behind they could get the miniature Skylanders figures to act out different chapters from their adventures.
They then moved on from this when one of the styluses got inadvertently broken (apparently during a particularly hazardous Skylanders adventure involving a house brick in the garden). This resulted in the mini-figures being separated from the end of his stylus — creating an opportunity for some other ways to play.
The following day I found my youngest son trying to get the miniature Skylanders figure from the stylus to register on the game’s portal. I had to explain that only the big figures can be used in the game. “But I thought I could use baby Spyro to get between the little gaps in the game” was his response that actually made a lot of sense.
Other Skylanders merchandise has become most useful for parties and presents. The carrying cases are an ideal gift for Skylanders obsessed families, and a better option than buying them a figure because of the risk that they already have it. These not only offer a novelty present but also provide a home for the figures while they are not being played with. We were constantly losing them until we got our kids these. It has also meant that they now take their figures away to the grandparents on weekends.
The latest product I’ve come across are the Skylanders costumes that offer toddlers the chance to become one of the Skylanders characters (Spyro, Gill Grunt and Trigger Happy) in real life. My kids have already had a few goes at concocting their own outfits with various remnants from our dressing up box. These bought costumes may lack a little of that charm, but do look more authentic.
It does all make me wonder where it will end. Will we be seeing Skylanders stores in the mall alongside the Disney outlets? I actually wouldn’t be that surprised.