February, 2013

Feb 13

PlayStation 3 bringing a splash of colour to living rooms

For anyone looking for a last minute Valentine’s Day present for their video game-loving other half, Sony might just have the answer.

The computer giant have brought out the ‘super slim’ 500GB PlayStation 3 in two limited edition colours. There’s a choice of Garnet Red for the girls or Azurite Blue for the boys. Or, not to be sexist – alternatively you could just match it to your living room colour scheme.

If you don’t already have a PS3 at home, this is the perfect opportunity to get one. Apart from the usual gaming action, it comes with Blu-ray player functionality, a world of online services from catch up TV like BBC iPlayer and 4oD, through music video services like VidZone, movie download services like Netflix and Lovefilm plus you’ll get access to PlayStation’s very own Sony Entertainment Network with offers movie and music downloads via the PlayStation Network.



Feb 13

Fifty-six new reasons to love ‘Skylanders’ as new game is in sight

As we recently told you, Skylanders has become one of the biggest video-games for families in a short space of time. With Disney hot on its heels with a similar game called Disney Infinity, Activision are about to unveil the next game in the Skylanders series: Skylanders: Swap Force.

The new game has an innovative set of 16 new toy figures that can be separated at the waist and mix and matched. By doing this the player not only created some odd looking creatures but also combines the figures’ different attacks and characteristics.


Swap Force


These Swap Force figures have the same tactile feel of the other Skylanders. Strong magnets hold them together and enable children to articulate the toys during play away from the game. A minor point until you see the new possibilities this creates for youngsters.

Because of this these new characters will be welcomed by players and parents alike. They epitomise the physical-virtual cross over that makes Skylanders such an interesting game to play. I spoke to Guha Bala, studio head for Skylanders Swap Force, and asked him to talk us through the new game:

Click here to see video




Likely to be less popular are characters returning for the third time, the Series three figures. These are reposed in a similar fashion to the Series two figures last year and offer a special Wow-Pow attack. The tension here is that players may have already purchased and invested time in the old versions of these toys and now have to decide whether to miss out on new powers or buy the figure again.

There are also eight more Light-Core Skylanders in Swap Force. These popular figures light up when you put them on the Portal and have a special smart bomb effect. Players will be interested to see which of the Skylanders characters get the light-up feature this year. If Swap Force mirror’s Giants approach here it is likely that some of the light-core characters will be selected from the 16 new Skylanders that are also being introduced this year.




Adding up the 16 Swap Force, 16 Series three, eight Light-Core and 16 new Skylanders this is quite a haul for those who feel the need to collect them all. Of course, as we highlighted previously, the key thing for parents to understand is that you only need to buy the starter pack to be able to complete the whole game.

This year however, there isn’t the option of reusing your existing Portal peripheral. The new Swap Force figures are only compatible with the new USB Swap Force Portal. Although the new Portal will support all the old Skylanders figures the Portals from Spyro’s Adventure and Giants won’t work with Swap Force.




There will no doubt be more to discover when the game is unveiled fully – something anticipated to be at the upcoming New York Toy Fair. We’ll report back with more details as they arise.

Andy Robertson (@GeekDadGamer) produces Family Gamer TV and the Family Gaming blog.

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