The Strong Museum Receives Donation of Materials Chronicling the Skylanders Franchise
September 27, 2018
For Immediate Release
The Strong Museum Receives Donation of Materials
Chronicling the Skylanders Franchise
ROCHESTER, NY—The Strong museum, home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games and World Video Game Hall of Fame, recently received a donation of hundreds of artifacts from Toys for Bob, a subsidiary of Activision, which tells the story of the development of their $3 billion gaming franchise, Skylanders. Skylanders helped to create and popularize the “toys-to-life” gaming category, where players incorporate physical figures into their electronic play.
“Skylanders is one of the most significant game franchises of the last decade, and this collection—which includes one-of-a-kind prototypes—shows how the franchise inspired an entirely new genre of play,” says Jeremy Saucier, assistant vice president for interpretation and electronic games. “These materials will be used in future exhibits and be immensely valuable to researchers who want to study the genesis of ‘toys-to-life’ gaming.”
Published by Activision in 2011, Skylanders: Spryo’s Adventure stood out in the market for being the first video game and toy hybrid, allowing players to incorporate their plastic figures in their game world via the Portal of Power. The uniqueness of the game led it quickly to become a bestseller, and the game (along with its sequels) sold more than 250 million toys. Disney, LEGO, Nintendo, and other major entertainment companies quickly entered the “toys-to-life” space that Skylanders created.
“We are very proud to have The Strong museum preserve the many stories and artifacts that went into developing Skylanders. This collection exposes Toys for Bob’s unique maker culture and the scrappy inventiveness that went into trail blazing this unconventional marriage of physical toys and video games,” says Paul Yan, chief creative officer at Activision. “Our hope is that making this history publicly available will inspire radical new ways to experience fun and joy.”
The collection holds more than 200 pre-production figures and portals, including hand-sculpted prototypes like the very first working prototype of the Portal of Power; in-house molds and testing tools; nearly 1,000 pages of archival records, including copies of artwork concepts and production schedules; and hundreds of figures in original packaging. Members of The Strong’s team also carried out video oral history interviews with key staff members, including Toys for Bob founders Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford.
Says Saucier, “This collection not only strengthens the museum’s holdings of materials related to home console gaming, but it also establishes the most comprehensive collection of materials anywhere related to the ‘toys-to-life’ gaming phenomenon.”
About The Strong
The Strong is a highly interactive, collections-based museum devoted to the history and exploration of play. It is one of the largest history museums in the United States and one of the leading museums serving families. The Strong houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play and is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play. Together, these enable a multifaceted array of research, exhibition, and other interpretive and educational activities that serve a diverse audience of adults, families, children, students, teachers, scholars, collectors, and others around the globe.