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Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Pixelkin.org. Make sure to check them out when you get the chance!

Sony announced during their E3 2016 press briefing that they are working with Activision to help bring Crash Bandicoot back to the masses.

Crash Bandicoot burst onto the gaming scene back in 1996 with his own 3D platforming game developed by Naughty Dog. He then went on to appear in more than a dozen games over the next 14 years. Crash never reached the same level of popularity as Mario or Sonic, but he was, and continues to be well loved by his fans. That love has inspired a loyal and vocal fanbase to call for his return ever since he vanished from the gaming scene.

Those loyal voices have finally won the day. Crash is coming back! Sony and Activision are raking the first three Crash games (Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot: Warped) from the ground up and releasing them on the PS4. They did not give a firm release date yet, but the three remakes are tentatively scheduled for 2017.

That wasn’t all Sony had in store though. they also announced that Crash would be finding his way into Skylanders Imaginators as one of the Sensei characters. His sky-chi attack will involve using his iconic yo-yo to pull enemies into him with a whirlwind like spin move.

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Who is ready to feel wicked old?

I know. I know. This comes up every time a video game franchise from our childhood has a massive anniversary. But, you know what? How about meaningful anniversaries from the video games our kids will look back on fondly the same way we look back at Super Mario Brothers?

On that note: I would like to remind everyone that Skylanders is turning 5 this year. It is now officially in Kindergarten. KINDERGARTEN.

Since it has reach school age it only made sense that we throw the franchise a birthday party! Fortunately for us Activision PR was ready to lend a helping hand.

I have to admit that it didn’t hurt that Duff, the Ace of Cakes himself, was bringing a new show to FoodTV called CakeMasters and was featuring Skylanders on their most recent episode!

It all came together earlier today as a start to April vacation! Our kids, and their guests, loved watching Duff’s antics on the show as he tried to bring some of their favorite characters to “life” in cake form. (Spoilers: Eruptor was a fan favorite for the 10 year old boy set). The followup was a Skylanders themed party with a blue cake and a whole bunch of awesome Skylanders decorations care of Activision PR. Just take a look at those happy faces!

This was super easy to set up and all of these decorations can be purchased at major retailers and party stores. This is a great idea for your own kids birthday parties OR a party to celebrate when Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures released later this year  on October 12th!

If you missed the episode of CakeMasters you can read up on the details here and make sure to check it out On Demand on your Cable network!

Behold! The Cake!
The Decorations!
The Setup!
Happy Birthday Some MORE!




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The holidays are almost upon us and it is time to start looking for gifts. Thankfully EFG is here to help! Take a look below for some great ideas for video game gifts!

Premium Gaming Service Memberships

PS Plus

Xbox Live Gold

EA Access

These services started as novelties for anyone who didn’t play games online, but they are huge value propositions now. This is mainly because Sony, Microsoft, and EA all distribute games through them at no additional cost.

PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold are on largely equal footing. They both distribute a slate of free games each month that members can “buy” and play for as long as they are members.

EA Access is a bit different though because the free games included in the serve come in two forms. One being timed demos of their upcoming games. The other being access to the EA Vault which includes older games they have released. This service is getting better and better as time passes and more games are added to it. If you have an Xbox One owner on your list that doesn’t buy a lot of games, but has eclectic taste then this should be something to think about.

Independent Games

Some of the best games released this year didn’t come in a box and you won’t find them on store shelves. These games also tend to be cheaper than full retail releases as well. If you are looking for a smaller gift for the little gamer in your life these can be a great option.

Ori and the Blind Forest (Xbox One)

This is one of the most hauntingly beautiful games I played all year. You play as, essentially, a tree spirit as you travel around a magic forest helping protect it from evil. The plot sounds as “blah” as you can get, but it was gorgeous, challenging, and memorable.

Rocket League (PS4)

We’re talking about soccer as played by jet powered cars that can fly. What more do I need to sell this one for you?

Runbow (Wii U)


If you know someone who owns a Wii U and they regularly have friends over to play this is a must own. Runbow is a 9 player platforming game that will challenge every friendship they have in hilarious ways.

Sports titles

Madden 16, FIFA 16, NHL 16

There really isn’t much to say about these games other than the fact that the Madden, FIFA, and NHL games are the premier game experiences for fans of those sports.

NBA 2k16

Unlike the previously mentioned sports games NBA2K16 includes a cinematic story mode that was directed by Spike Lee. This might seem minor, but it adds a lot to the game. The single player mode is a compelling story about the importance of family and friendship in the face of stardom in the NBA. I enjoyed it a lot.

Transformers because…. Transformers

Transformers: Devastation

I said just about everything I could in my review. But, suffice it to say that this is one of the best Transformers games ever and is will be a guaranteed hit for anyone who loves Transformers (past or present).

You Can’t Stop the Music!

Guitar Hero: Live vs Rock Band 4

A lot of people are going to be looking at the music games this year and will be forced to make a choice between Guitar Hero Live and Rock Band 4 (click the links for reviews of each). Both of them are great games, but Rock Band 4 likely holds the edge if you are buying for someone who regularly plays with friends.

Toys to Life

Skylanders: Superchargers

Unless you have been under a rock, it’s likely that you have heard of Skylanders, the awesome game that brings “toys to life”. The newest installment, Superchargers, brings your favorite skylanders (and some new friends) back with a fleet of drivable vehicles that take to the land, air and sea and bring new life to the franchise. With new levels, new puzzles, new powers and the same old Kaos, Superchargers doesn’t disappoint!

Disney Infinity 3.0

Disney seems to own everything these days and all of that stuff is appearing in their flagship video game: Disney Infinity 3.0. The big focus this year is Star Wars (shocker. I know.) and there are a lot of really cool figures to go along with an interesting game. If your kids LOVE Star Wars then this is a great option.

LEGO Dimensions

What kid doesn’t like to play with LEGOS? I certainly can’t think of one and LEGO Dimensions give these kids the chance to play with their LEGOS inside of a video game. The gameplay is reminiscent of other LEGO games so families who have been playing them will be right at home.

The Nintendo Corner


Splatoon is Nintendo’s family friendly answer to the relentless request for a first person shooter on one of their consoles.  It is an amazingly fun game where you play a squid kid or inkling whose goal is to defeat other players while covering the most turf with ink.   There are many modes of play in this game and it is one of Nintendo’s few games that really integrates usage of the gamepad. This is a family favorite in our house and the variety of play choices have made it so the game does not get old. This may even be EFG’s game of the year.

Super Mario Maker

Have you ever wanted to play infinite levels of a Mario game?  Did you ever want to create your own levels by adding enemies and blocks wherever you choose? Mario Maker allows you to do just that. You use the gamepad to create your own levels and you can play levels that have been shared around the world. This game is very intuitive and easy to use. Even our youngest players can make their own levels.  This was a surprise hit in our family considering how poorly other level building games went over.  This game also has DLC that is continuously keeping it fresh. Another must have on a holiday wish list.

Mario Kart 8

What can we say about this game that hasn’t already been said? Kart racing, our favorite Nintendo characters, and amazing graphics make this a given on any holiday wish list.  There are plenty of new tracks in this game, along with lots of reimagined favorites. This is a great game to play as a family and if you don’t have it already, you should definitely purchase this one!  DLC and updates keep this game fresh. Did we mention that you can race as Link?  On a triforce motorbikes?


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Lets face it. The toys to life genre is EXPENSIVE. It can get out of control for parents who just can’t keep up with all of the different figures and games that seem to be coming out every day! Below are some strategies that will help you keep a handle on costs while still letting your kids enjoy the games.

Play the game with your children.

This is a recurring theme on our website in general, but it bears repeating here because it is especially relevant. Many of the toys to life games, especially Skylanders, present players with obstacles that can only be overcome by characters of specific elements. These are all bonus objectives like puzzle rooms to get things like loot and stat-boosting hats.

The best way to know what your child NEEDS vs what they would like is to play with them. You’ll be able to see and recognize where their collection is falling short so you can work together to complete it.

Do your homework.

There are tons of websites out there dedicated to explaining what toys are out there and how to get them. We even got in on the action and published buying guides for Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and LEGO Dimensions this year. This is the next best thing to playing with your kids in regards to know what they need. You can very easily find out what is available with a little web research.

Pay attention to the pre-owned section at GameStop and other retailers.

This wasn’t an option even a few years ago, but GameStop has seen the strength of the Toys to Life market and has pounced on it. Even better? Lots of kids are aging out of their Skylanders collections and trading them in to GameStop to help pay for new consoles. This leaves them with a lot of stock that is often heavily discounted. Our family was lucky enough to clean up at a buy 2 get 3 free sale a month or so back.

When in doubt don’t buy just one.

Many toy retailers like Toy ‘R Us, Target, and Walmart offer discounts from time to time where you can buy one and get one half off (or something similar). This adds up if you are planning to buy a lot of these toys for your kids.

Don’t buy the games and figures on release day.

This may not be possible for people who have older kids, but if you are just getting into the Toys to Life game market and your kids are younger, then I HIGHLY recommend starting with the previous year’s version of the game. You might not be able to use the shiny new figures, but you’ll be able to get the game much less.



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Available on the following platforms:

Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Wii, 3DS, iOS


Starter Pack (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3): $75 – Includes the portal, the game, The Spitfire figure, Hot Streak vehicle, and the Super Shot Stealth Elf figure.

Starter Pack – Wii U : $75 – Includes the portal, the game, the Turbo Charge Donkey Kong figure, the Barrel Blaster vehicle, and the Super Shot Stealth Elf figure.

Dark Edition Starter Pack (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3): $100 – Includes the portal, the game, the Dark Spitfire figure, Dark Super Shot Stealth Elf figure, the Dark Hot Streak vehicle,  the Dark Sea Shadow vehicle, and the Kaos trophy (This is the Superchargers version of traps. This one lets you race as Kaos.)

Dark Edition Starter Pack – Wii U $100 – Includes the portal, the game, the Dark Turbo Charge Donkey Kong figure, the Dark Super Shot Stealth Elf, the Dark Barrel Blaster vehicle, the Dark Sea Shadow vehicle, the Kaos trophy(This is the Superchargers version of traps. This one lets you race as Kaos.)

The Wii and the 3DS don’t have the power to run the main campaign so they will receive versions that are focused on the racing.

Wii and 3DS starter pack: $75 – Includes the portal, the game, the Hammer Slam Bowser figure, Clown Cruiser vehicle, and the Super Shot Stealth Elf figure.

Pricing structure:

Figure price: $13

Vehicle price: $15

Racing Packs: $35 (Each racing pack includes a character, a vehicle, and a race expansion.)

Additional characters available now:

 Dive Clops


High Volt

Shark Shooter Terrafin

Smash Hit


Additional Skylanders Vehicles available now:

Burn Cycle

Crypt Crusher

Dive Bomber

Jet Stream

Sea Shadow

Shark Tank

Sky Slicer

Stealth Stinger

Racing packs available now:

Racing Sea Pack – Includes Deep Dive Gill Grunt figure, Reef Ripper vehicle, and the Sea Trophy

Characters coming later:



Hurricane Jet-Vac


Lava Lance Eruptor

Double Dare Trigger Happy


Big Bubble Pop Fizz

Vehicles coming later:

Sun Runner

Tomb Buggy

Thump Truck

Buzz Wing

Shield Striker

Gold Rusher

Splatter Splasher

Soda Skimmer

The cost to “Catch ‘Em All!”:

Skylanders Superchargers is in a unique place this time around because it has Nintendo specific characters. If you were to pick up everything on its release day the total cost for a Wii U owner would be around $718. This is because the only way to get Bowser or his Clown Cruiser is to purchase the Wii or 3DS starter pack.

Non-Nintendo owners get a bit of a break here and only have to pony up $615.

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Note: This is a guest post from over on ParentsGamingGuide.com.

The game itself is a bit dated, but parents on a budget should be keeping their yes out because Skylanders Trap Team starter sets and figures should be PLUMMETING in price soon since Skylanders Superchargers will be out in a little more than a month!

What makes this review even more interesting is that the Parents Gaming Guide website is being run by a teenager! This is some great writing for someone at their beginning of their career and it will only get better.

Lets all show some love over at the site! Read some reviews! Comment! Share them on social media! The reviewer deserves a boost!

Skylanders have kickstarted the toys to life genre of gaming. The basis of this genre is that a physical toy plays a role in a virtual game. No other game captures this better than Skylanders. Skylanders games normally have you place Skylanders characters on the Portal of Power to play with them in the game, however, Trap Team builds on this idea by including villains too!


Activision did not disappoint with this year’s cast of figures. There are 16 new Trap Masters, which are larger, more powerful Skylanders that have the power to open special gates and destroy Traptanium. There are also 16 new core characters, 5 returning characters and 9 mini figures that are smaller versions of fan favorites. Lastly, there are 4 new Skylanders that fall into the two new elements. Each Skylander has its own upgrade path which powers them up and supplies them with new moves. My only problem with the Skylanders is that specify elements of Trap Masters are required to open gates, making it feel like they are forcing you to buy more characters to get the full experience.

The story mode behind Trap Team follows you, a Skylander, as you try to trap and return escaped villians back to Cloud Cracker Prison. You do this by exploring different levels, fighting enemies, solving puzzles and capturing villians. Each villain you find challenges you to a boss fight. The fights feel different enough from the basic enemy fights that you do not get tired of them. Once you beat the villian you can capture it by putting of trap of the villian’s element into the Portal of Power. Once trapped, you can switch between that villian and you Skylander through the press of a button. Each feels very different from the rest and applies some extra comedic relief through their banter. The best feature about the villians is that you do not need to spend tons of money to play as a lot of characters. Normally, Skylanders range from $10 to $17 each. However, each trap ($6 each) offers you 3-6 villians to play as. Additionally, each villian has a quest that powers them up.

The Arena Battle Mode in Trap Team offers you challenges to complete during fighting sequences like defending a stash of food, lasting for a certain amount of time or surviving with one point of health. Each battle requires that you stick with one Skylander and one villian the whole time, which is a bit disappointing. However, these battles are a great way to earn money and experience to upgrade your Skylanders.

The Kaos Doom Challenges were probably the worst part the game. They require that you fight off hordes of enemies one after another while defending an ancient coffin type thing. These battles were very repetitive and boring and I do not see myself going back to them.


-Playable villians

-Arena Battles

-Great boss fights

-Fun humor


-Kaos Doom Challenges

-Lack of 1 on 1 battle mode

-Price for figures


I would recommend this for children 7 and up. I think it would be a bit too hard for younger children.



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Skylanders Superchargers has some impressive visuals. They are so impressive, in fact, that the Nintendo Wii and the 3DS are just plain out of the question as far as ports of the main game. This year the 3DS and Wii versions will be a completely different game experience than the main game. Activision has gone so far as to call them “complimentary experiences.”

Skylanders Superchargers Racing will release for the Wii and the 3DS and is a “dedicated racing combat game.” Gameplay video is available online and it appears to be VERY similar to games like Sonic and Sega All -Stars Racing Transformed. It includes a large number of race tracks that all have power-ups, hazards, boosts, etc.

It will be interesting to see how well these games sell considering how different they are from the standard Skylanders experience. I could see it going one of two ways.

  1. They might sell BETTER since some families will buy both just to get the racing game. (Keep in mind that the Wii U is backwards compatible and will play the Wii version.)
  2. The games might tank because parents won’t want to take a chance on a different type of Skylanders experience.

Where do you fall? Sound off in the comments!

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The release date for Skylanders Superchargers is racing towards us. We just received another batch of information regarding the newest entry in the Skylanders series and we can’t be more excited about it.

 Online Multiplayer

All of the Skylanders games have been multiplayer games at heart. Two people could sit on the couch together and romp through the colorful levels using exciting characters. But that multiplayer experience has been limited to offline play.

That is all changing with Superchargers. This release, and we can safely assume all subsequent releases, will allow for online play. This will be a great change for friends from school or cousins to jump into the action together without having to be in the same place.

This is a feature that has been requested by fans for a while now and it is good to see Activision make it work.

Race Mode!

Skylanders Superchargers includes vehicles for the first time in the franchise so it stands to reason that they will let us race them. The base game will come with six different courses (two each for land, sea, and air) and more will be able in expansion packs in stores.

The press release makes it sound like these will be full on race tracks a la Mario Kart with secret shortcuts, power ups, and weapons. Even better? The races can either be between two players locally or up to four players online. This competitive element has the opportunity to extend the life of the Skylanders experience for kids once they have exhausted the main story.

Take a look at the video below from our friends over at FamilyGamerTV to see a race in action!

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Activision and Toys for Bob are bringing yet another innovation to the hit kids franchise Skylanders with the launch of Skylanders SuperChargers on September 20, 2015. Skylanders has been bringing toys to life for years, but this year’s entry to the franchise will feature an all new “vehicles-to-life” feature that will let our kids pilot awesome vehicles using their favorite Skylanders characters!

“At the helm of powerful, tricked-out land, sea and sky vehicles, Portal Masters can engage in a high-octane action-adventure videogame like never before. Kids can speed across Skylands’ roads in vehicular combat, race down roaring rapids and engage in aerial dogfights as they barrel-roll through enemy swarms for the first time.”

Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, Inc said, “We love making these games because in order to do it well, you have to constantly tap into your inner kid.” Who doesn’t know a kid who has dreamt of battling evil in an awesome care or plane? “Skylanders SuperChargers makes those dreams real.”

There have been more than 300 Skylanders released over the last five years. Each new game has come with a whole new pile of plastic toys for parents to search through. The newest iteration lightens the load by having a line of only twenty new SuperChargers character toys and twenty new vehicle toys.

All of the different Supercharger vehicles will be customizable in-game. Players can ever pair each vehicle with their designated SuperCharger Skylander to create a “SuperCharged combination.” This opens increases the power of BOTH the hero and the vehicle. (Get ready to shop for pairs parents!) Even better? The vehicles are not only going to be playable in the game, but many of them also feature moving parts, making them fun to play with outside of the game.

Skylanders SuperChargers, like the previous games in the series, continues to support all of the Skylanders toys from previous games, enabling all of your children’s favorite Skylanders characters to pilot land, sea or sky-based vehicles.

Keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more information about Skylanders and other Toys-To-Life games!

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So, if you are like me, you have a child who is obsessed with Skylanders, but you have never actually played the game. Due to this complete lack of playing, you might not understand it when you get lectured for the 50th time on why – despite his coolness – Lob Star was a waste because Snap Shot can unlock all the water stuff anyway… and he came with the game. Or the age-old lecture about why Roller Brawl was not an acceptable alternative to Krypt King. Well, the good news is that you’re in luck!

Since I fail at playing Skylanders with my daughter, I have researched how to get what she needs for the game, and what all these other pieces are so I’m not spending more than is needed! If you are a misguided parent who just wants to know what your kids need (all on one place) this is going to be a great read. A word of caution though, this is not intended for collectors. If you plan on buying ALL of the figured and traps, then this guide won’t do a huge amount for you.

Below you will find a list of the toy components to the current Skylanders Trap Team game along with explanations of what they do.

Trap Masters

$14.99 – These guys are the powerhouses of Trap Team. They unlock secret areas in the game and can break Traptanium deposits (which will usually be hiding treasure or other interesting items).

In order to unlock all of the content, you’ll need trap masters from all 10 elements, These are the trap masters that are currently available:

There will be two Trap Masters for each element once the total run is completed, but as of today, these are the ones that have been released in the US.


Name Your Link” target=”_blank”>Skylanders Traps are used to store captured villains and are needed to complete “redemption quests” for the different villains.

Thereare traps for each of the 10 elements just like with Trap Masters. The base game comes with one Life and one Water trap. There is, however, a Dark Edition that also comes with the Kaos trap to what comes with the base game.

You use each trap to store a single villain from the game. You can switch them out at any time at your in-game vault, so you only NEED one trap of each element to access all of the villain’s content.

Another interesting note – if you defeat a villain, they will be available in the vault, even if you don’t have a trap for them at the time. (The only thing you miss out on is the trapping cinematic!)

Light and Dark traps have been added to the game, but they are only available in their associated expansions (see below).

Traps are available for $5.99-$6.99 (depending on the store), in 3 packs for $14.99, or in a very hard to find 8 pack (with a villain variant) for $39.99.

In addition to the elemental traps, there is also the VERY difficult to find Kaos trap (Here’s my feeling on that). This trap is sold separately for $5.99, as a part of a 3 pack (GS exclusive) for $15.99, or in the Dark edition. It is required to trap Kaos (the final villain of the game) and to complete his redemption quest.


Skylanders Series

Many people ask us which Skylanders can be used for which games. We created a handy guide to tell them apart. However, a rule of thumb is that Skylanders GAMES are always backwards compatible but the Skylanders figures themselves are not. They typically sell for $9.99.

Skylanders Minis

$13.99 – These super cute characters can be used to access an exclusive mini level. They have the same powers as the original characters that they are based on, but they are not backwards compatible. They come in twin packs.

Retailer Exclusive Figures

Eon’s EliteGame Stop Exclusive – These variant characters are three times more powerful than normal versions in the Skylanders Trap Team game. The Elite characters are all Skylanders from older games remade in cool holographic packaging, and will work in any version of Skylanders that their non-Elite version would be able to play. They don’t add content to Trap Team, but they are definitely a boost with regard to finishing content. At a price point of $24.99, they are not a necessary addition unless you are a collector, want older characters that aren’t difficult to play, or you just really want a super cool version of Spyro!

NitroTarget Exclusive – $14.99 – This set continues a variant that started in Swap Force. In the past, these figures were speedier than their counterparts, though I haven’t found much more information about their performance in game. They also do not appear to unlock additional content, other than giving you an additional entry in the Skylander library. Currently there are two Trap Masters available (Nitro Head Rush & Nitro Krypt King).

LegendaryToys R Us Exclusive – $16.99 – These variants have upgraded stats but don’t add new content. There are two Trap Masters available (Legendary Bushwack, Legendary Jawbreaker), and two Normal Series figures (Legendary Deja Vu, Legendary Blades).

Additional Adventure Packs

Midnight Museum Dark Element Expansion Pack – Adds access to the Dark element, and opens a new level for exploration with new villains and items.

Sunscraper Spire Light Element Expansion Pack – Adds access to the Light element, and opens a new level for exploration with new villains and items.

For a complete list of release schedules, “waves”, additional not-yet-released Skylanders, and chase variants, check out the awesome resources over at Skylander’s Character List! It is a great website that will be a MASSIVE help to collectors.

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