Monday, January 7, 2013

The Great Skylanders LARP

So, Firstborn spent part of this afternoon playing Skylanders: Giants with me. Skylanders, as I've probably explained before, is a rather brilliant little marketing device, in which you collect colorful plastic statues of various characters, then set them on a "magic portal" which plugs into your gaming console in order to have them appear as playable characters in the Skylanders video games.

Firstborn, however, was playing Skylanders in the park - a location notably lacking in such accoutrement as game systems, or even televisions.

We were, basically, LARPing.

The way this works is that I make up a Skylanders: Giants character to play. Firstborn then makes up his own Skylander. And then we battle, which consists mainly of running around the park pretending to use our powers and attacks on each other. More precisely, Firstborn runs around the park. In keeping with the primary goal of taking children to the park ("Exhaust them, not yourself.") I tend to choose characters who ooze, shamble, walk, or are carried by lots and lots of little arachnids who don't move very fast.

Finally, my character dies. This is because Firstborn is a six-year-old boy, which means that he automatically plays in God Mode. So no matter what character I choose, I'm pretty much doomed. Here was the roster from this afternoon:

Round One: I selected Ooze, who's one of the giants - and, as the name suggests, he's a big slimy blob from the Water Element. He attacks by flinging ooze-drops, or by growing a big ol' pseudopod and smashing things with it. Firstborn selected an Undead Element character (not sure if he had a name), who could travel underground and then burst out under his enemies in a shower of flying skulls and sharpened bones; he could also summon twenty little bone dragons, and throw tombstones. (I realized that the Underground Travel attack was going to be a problem the first time he tried to do it in the game, because he signified it by hunching way down, running up to me, and then attempting to position himself directly beneath my crotch before leaping straight up. Which would have made for a very effective attack in real life, if I hadn't gotten out of the way.) The conclusion? He squashed me, I think with a giant tombstone.

Round Two: For our second battle, I elected to be Lightning Guy (Air Element), which basically meant that I called down lightning bolts and occasionally made an expanding circle of lightning bolts all around me. Firstborn elected to be a Tech Element Skylander, who fought using giant wrenches. This allowed me to fling lightning bolts at him while he raced all over the park, until finally I came too close and he got me with a wrench.

Round Three: This time, I decided to try the Undead Element, and became Zomb-Daddy. In addition his brain-gnawing prowess, Zomb-Daddy has the power to throw zombabies at his opponents. It sounded pretty formidable, until Firstborn announced that he was going to be Armor, a Tech Skylander whose armor could only be damaged by lightning. And he had big shields, which he could throw, and an arm-rocket that turned into some sort of disk attack, and... I died. Quickly. Even the lightning-bomb zombabies were no match for him.

Round Four: This time, I went with another Undead Element guy. His name was Duddy. He was covered in bandages, and his other power was that he was completely invulnerable: so if you set him on fire, he's a burning Duddy, and if you squash him he's a flat Duddy, but he never actually dies. Firstborn went with another armored tech guy, this time fielding something that sounded like a small-scale Mecha with a laser cannon. My decision to be unkillable gave us a good fifteen minutes of running around and battling without anybody actually dying, though I imagine there are still bits of mummy bandages scattered around the trees and play equipment from when I was trying to tie Firstborn up with them. (I mentioned this to Firstborn, and he said: "Well, and they're invisible bandages.")

So that was my afternoon. I'm not sure if we decided the fate of the Skylands, but we sure had fun.


  1. My boys would love playing with you! They got Skylanders Giants for Christmas and had it defeated by New Year's Day. They're looking for the next Skylanders game already.

  2. Yeah, the only reason Firstborn isn't done with it is that we've sharply limited his playing time.


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