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OPINION: Skylanders deserves more praise

Games press are wrong to ignore Activision's toy-game hybrid, says Alex Dale

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But when I actually sat down (well, stood up - chairs are a luxury item at press events) to play it, I discovered it was the least cynical 'kids' game' I'd played since... well, since Pokémon.

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Sky's the limit
What impressed me most about Skylanders is the developers' astuteness in identifying the demands of their young audience, and the way they've built their technology around meeting them.

There is none of the waffle or laborious tutorials that plague rival children's games such as, say, Kinectimals - the developers recognise that children's attention spans are measurable in seconds and that immediacy is integral to their game's success.

Thus the game's interface is instaneous, intutitive and free of barriers, intrusions and frustrations. Remove a character from the Portal and the game cuts straight to the selection screen. Place another one on it and, a short animation later, you're back in the action. It does all this without ever breaking character, creating a world which children can lose themselves in.

In doing so, Skylanders' RFID tech - which is similar to that seen on Wii U - breaks down the walls between physical and digital. Its potential is as borderless as a child's imagination. Entire toy collections can come to life before your child's very eyes. Accountants might rub their hands at the possibilities, but so should artists.

Skylanders is at the vanguard of something that could revolutionise and define entire generations of childhoods. That makes it one of the most important games of all time in my book. But no, by all means, step over it so you can see another bloody Spider-Man game.

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