Friday, October 23, 2015

It's Just a Toy

I want to start off this article with a story.  As I have mentioned in the past, I am a pretty big collector of the Nintendo Amiibo figures.  As some of you probably know, some of these figures can be obscenely rare.  When a website gets restocked, you may have a matter of minutes to get your hands on it.  Anyway, I was asleep and got woken up by my phone.  It turned out to be a wrong number, I’m sure we’ve all had that happen before.  I look at my phone and it’s an hour before my alarm is set to go off.  So now I’m lying in my bed and start to browse the web.  I check Amiiboucg on Instagram, they’re pretty good at reporting what stores and websites are being restocked with which Amiibos.  My eyes shot open as I saw that Gamestop had restocked the Classic Color 8-bit Mario Amiibo (very rare) and it had just been updated a few minutes ago.  I head over to the website, throw down my order, and now it is proudly sitting on my shelf.  After I was done placing the order, I stopped to think about all of the things that had to occur in order for that to play out the way it did.  First, that person had to call my number out of any other random assortment of numbers by accident when they did.  Next, I had to check my phone and see that update when I did.  I actually sent the person who called me probably the most confusing text they’ve ever received in their life, thanking them for waking me up when they did.  They sent me back a smiley face and probably proceeded to block my number.  Just goes to show that sometimes even an annoying situation can prove beneficial.  

The world of video games is constantly evolving.  This includes not only the games themselves but how we experience them.  One of the more recent developments has been the addition of toy peripherals to expand the action in the game itself.  The trend became popular with the introduction of Skylanders and has grown.  Now there seems to be a new game utilizing this mechanic every year.  From Disney Infinity, Nintendo Amiibo, to the newest addition Lego Dimensions, there seems to be something for everyone and honestly, I couldn’t be happier.  Let’s face it, these games give kids… and adults (me included) a whole new way to play and create stories. 

There has been some buzz online concerning these games.  Many people feel that the market is getting oversaturated and this is just becoming too expensive of a hobby to have.  While the people who makes these claims have a few good points, I can’t help but disagree.  I will agree that these games can become expensive over time.  For example, the starter pack for Lego Dimensions will cost anywhere around $100.  After that each level pack which comes with about 3 Lego figures and additional levels for the Lego Dimensions game are roughly $30.  On top of that there are figure packs which come with 2 figures, they will run you about $15 each.  Considering there are many level and figure packs to choose from, they can add up pretty fast.  I just did the math real fast and if you were to buy every Lego Dimensions pack that were available right now, it would run you around $400.  I know I just felt a few of you gasp and clench your wallet.  However, the point that many people leave out when presenting these facts is that you don’t need to buy all of these packs to have a rich and fulfilling experience with these games.  The reason that these companies offer so many options is so you can make the story that is the most meaningful to you.  If you want to make a story where Marty McFly and Chell from Portal team up to fight The Wicked Witch of the West, you can.  In Disney Infinity, you can have Elsa from Frozen, Iron Man, and Chewbacca work together to fight nightmares inside the head of Riley from Inside Out.  Yes, there are collectors out there who will feel the need to get every playset and figure, but that is not the norm. 

When I was younger, I was a huge collector of Star Wars figures.  I created these huge epic battles in my imagination.  When The Phantom Menace came out, the figures came with a plastic card.  This card would make the figures say lines from the movies.  This was an addition that made the characters come that much closer to being alive.  In my mind, that is what Skylanders, Disney Infinity, Amiibos, and Lego Dimensions represent.  The next step in making toys come to life.  Is the market becoming oversaturated?  That’s for time to tell.  For now, I’m going to preorder Doctor Who Lego Dimensions expansion and enjoy the ride.  

-Big O

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