A Research Project on Hybrid Experiences

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure

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skylandersSkylanders (2011) is a fusion of a digital game and a toy line. Skylander toys, equipped with RFID (radio-frequency identification) chips, are placed on a “Portal of Power” peripheral which instantly activates a matching virtual character in the game.

Published by Activision and developed by Toys for Bob, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure features 32 fantasy characters ranging from skeletons to tree men. A starter pack for Skylanders includes the game (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, 3DS), three starter toy characters, and a special “portal of power”. As a key feature, the toy characters are equipped with RFID (radio-frequency identification) chips and placing them on the portal of power instantly activates a matching virtual character in the game. The feeling of actually transporting the character in the game is strengthened by the toys’ ability to save the player progress within itself.

Ignoring specific platforms, players can continue their game campaign on any of the supported consoles. Each character belongs to a class (one of 8) and has varying levels of specific attributes, giving each toy/character unique characteristics within game play. To conquer all the game locations, player needs most of the characters. New characters can be bought separately or in three-a-pack combos.


Author: Heikki Tyni

Heikki Tyni is a researcher at Tampere University Game Research Lab. His work concentrates on the game industry, and specifically on game production studies.

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