Walt Disney surely had an influence on our family in the 50s. His works were “safe,” and “wholesome.” You could trust his movies and television shows to be family oriented, so I grew up with the MICKEY MOUSE CLUB and THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY on TV. His biggest influence on my mother and myself was Davy Crockett.
I don’t recall if I had a coonskin cap like millions of other children, but I did start my first card collection and may have even had a complete set. What I did have was something no one else did – a Davy Crockett outfit. As poor as we were, my mother managed to find some cotton cloth in just the right colors to cut out a copy of a frontier get-up, complete with fringe. Now, maybe she intended them for pajamas, but I wore those things all over the place, including up the hill to the site of an old fort looking for arrow heads and spent bullets.
The Disney movies were works of awe – I will never, ever forget Pinocchio starting to look like a donkey, or being swallowed by the whale. “Night on Bald Mountain” from FANTASIA has followed me to this day, along with the Academy Award winning “When You Wish Upon a Star.”
Now, let’s jump sideways for just a moment – we will get back to Disney, I promise.
I’m no video gamer, but many members of our family have at least one game console in their homes. One of our sons even owned a “Virtual Arena” where fans could rent games and play them on all manner of screens. Me, I could never remember where the DOOM character was supposed to go next. In other words, I am about to talk about something I know very little.
On October 11, 2011, Activision introduced a very unique gaming system called Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure. An add-on console connected with many different formats including PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U (Japan). What made Skylanders so different was the little figures that you placed on top of the box. Using the “Portal of Power,” whatever figure you placed on the box was able to interact with the action on the screen. It is important to recognise the names of the characters, as we will see in a moment – Earth, Air, Fire, Magic, Water, Life, Tech and Undead. In addition to the standard figures, there are additional unique named variants. (1) (2)
Back to Disney.
On August 18, 2013, Disney unleashed a huge offensive that some may view as a direct attack on Skylander. The push is so large, one wonders if Skylander can even compete with the new product – INFINITY. (3)
“Disney’s rendition of the toy-meet-console genre relies on better-known characters and adds an open-world toy box mode . . . . . where users’ imaginations can run wild, for example, plopping Jack Sparrow in Cinderella’s coach.” (4)
Disney interactive characters include Jack Sparrow, Hector Barbossa and Davy Jones from “Pirates of the Caribbean”; Mike and Sulley from “Monsters University”; Lightning McQueen, Mater and Holley Shiftwell from “Cars”; Mr. Incredible, Violet and Dash from “The Incredibles”; and Lone Ranger and Tonto from “The Lone Ranger.” To be added later will be Sorcerer Mickey from “Fantasia”; Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear from “Toy Story”; Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope from “Wreck-It Ralph”; Phineas and Agent P from “Phineas and Ferb”; Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”; Rapunzel from “Tangled”; and Anna and Elsa from “Frozen,” a new Disney film set for release Nov. 27.
Disney has even created a self-titled “Infinity war room” to focus on all aspects of character development and game action.
BILLIONS of dollars are at stake.(5)
It seems to this outsider that Disney has deliberately set its sights on Skylander – with the object to blow it out of the water? Not sayin’ . . . . . . just interesting.
(3) Infinity website