A little more than year ago, my husband and I were at the mall admiring a Spyro figure from the Skylander video game series, when another couple passing by stopped to warn us to not to “go down that rabbit hole.” They then proceeded to tell us the money pit this game had become for them, the amount of figures their sons had amassed, and the space it has taken up in their home.
“Don’t, seriously don’t, get started on it,” the wife cautioned, and they continued on their way. My husband and I shared a smug, knowing look. We would never let our girls get that carried away in any one game. We were able to dodge the Skylanders bullet, as our girls pursued other fandoms and games. We were also able to ignore the first wave of Disney Infinity, at least until last Christmas. That was when we made the perfectly innocent decision to purchase the starter pack as a gift for both our girls, as well as the Frozen and Lone Ranger sets.
Then somewhere along the way, we ignited the funky bomb of Disney Infinity figure purchasing. It started with the need to get all The Incredibles and Pirates of the Caribbean figures. It didn’t seem right to have Sully without Mike, and soon Randal was purchased to complete the Monsters University set. All of the Radiator Springs gang soon followed, as well as Toy Story, and the individual “world-less” figures like Rapunzel, Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope, Jack Skellington, and, of course, Mickey Mouse. Somehow we managed to avoid the entire Phineas and Ferb set, although our older daughter keeps hinting it sure would be fun to “build that roller coaster.”
What has happened to us? It is as if we have become the “crazy cat lady” of playable video game statuettes. They overflow from what we thought was a plenty big plastic storage box, and they take up more and more space around the entertainment area in the living room. Some have even become permanent home decor. Should I even mention the trading card-like need to collect every power disc bearing supplemental abilities, vehicles, and backgrounds?
We decided to renew our resolve so that this character hoarding would not be the case when Disney Infinity 2.0 came out, but the Marvel/Disney marriage soon began to blossom. When it was first announced that the next wave of Disney Infinity would be Marvel intensive, I knew we were in trouble.
Our intentions for 2.0 were good, I assure you, as we begin paving our little road to the hell of fan-driven hyper-consumerism.
It is possible to just purchase this game’s the starter kit, and embark on a grand adventure. After all, it came with all those tempting fan trappings like Toy Box game discs, web code cards, and a collectible poster. Whee!
But, who wants to stop there?
We reserved our starter pack, with Thor, Black Widow, Iron Man, and The Avengers playable world piece, which granted us a free extra figure from the store (Nick Fury). All we knew is we were planning on rounding out The Avengers. That would be it for our initial purchase.
When Sept. 23rd rolled around, my girls were already giddy for the game, but it wasn’t for The Avengers–they wanted Gamora, Star-Lord, Rocket Racoon, Drax, and Groot–yes, we “had to get Groot!”
That morning, I was fortunate to have a light work load, so I headed to a different store from where we pre-ordered The Avengers to get the entire Guardians of the Galaxy set, as they were hosting a 2.0 launch special. I got there so early I had to wait for them to actually find the figures in the back. It was then I realized I did, indeed, need to be at my boss’s office to do some editing, and sped off with my first big purchase of the day. I was so distracted thinking about what else we needed to purchase for the set, I neglected to slow down in time to miss the neighborhood speed trap. As a happy little motorcycle cop who looked suspiciously like Patton Oswalt gave me a ticket and a frienly “drive safely” reminder, I could feel the little Rocket Racoon figure in the passenger seat look up at me in shame.
That evening, when we made the family trek for The Avengers starter set, we noticed the little Nick Fury figure was intended for the Spider-Man world. Uh-oh. Two more stores and one gift card later we headed home with every currently available figure in the new line.
The addictive quality of Disney Infinity 2.0 is that it is just so much fun to play, and we want to play nearly every character in the series.
Like the first series, it is completely family-friendly, combining the creative free-style elements of Minecraft that allow players to build, collect, and play in their own customized environments. However, the individual worlds are so much more challenging and fun than the first series. Cosmo (the canine leader of Knowhere) plays a large part in the Guardians of the Galaxy world, and Ms. Marvel makes an appearance in The Avengers‘ adventures.
Figures from one world can cross-over into others once certain challenges have been met, so Nick Fury can play in the Guardians of the Galaxy world, after all. The characters’ “skill trees” that show their different abilities are easy to keep track, and all their “powers” and “skills” are a blast to play. It’s easy to get distracted just swinging around with Spider-Man or flying with Iron Man.
This is where it is a problem.
In just one day, we accumulated the starter kit, two 2-figure play sets, eight individual Marvel figures, and six packets of power discs. Even with taking advantage of unused gift cards, and specials from different stores, this was around $210 in little stylized figures. That is really way too much to take in all at once, yet we did it like the great big suckers we are. I would venture we weren’t the only ones to do this. At least I hope not.
I’m trying not to think of the fact that with November comes the arrival of Merida–my girls’ favorite Pixar character whom I am reminded “could play with Hawkeye”–Donald, Stitch, Tinker Bell, Maleficent, Hiro, and Baymax, as well as others, I might have neglected to name.
As for our Avengers set, only The Hulk is left. He’ll be released on his own in late October, so there will only be one figure for us to purchase that day.
“Thank goodness we’re almost at the end of this one,” I told my husband, once we unboxed the parade of little Marvel heroes and villains and were stuffing our little recycling bin with enough discarded cardboard packaging to resemble Christmas morning.
“Hey, are we planning on getting the Star Wars wave that’s supposed to come out next year,” he asked.