Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best Moments of 2013: What Were Your Favorites?

It is hard to believe that yet another year has flown by and we are on the doorstep of 2014. That said, what were some of your favorite moments of 2013?  This could be gaming related, family, career, personal, stemming from another hobby etc., accomplishments, just anything you enjoyed or are proud of completing.

Feel free to post them up in the comments section below!

For me it would have to be going to E3 and that entire experience (getting to meet with folks from Activision, PowerA, Vicarious Visions, other YouTubers...having early access to all the content that I had just had to watch from online in previous years and then being able to report it back to you, straight from the source), being able to see the Nintendo setup first hand, getting StreetPass tags from all over the place, and just being able to mine and search for insights on Skylanders SWAP Force from the people that know it best.

Tying in with that was seeing the Pacific Ocean (first time seeing any ocean mind you!) and I'm also pretty sure as I was trying to figure out how to get back to the bus that would run back to the hotel I saw Jenna Marbles, but I can't 100% confirm that.

On the gaming front it would likely be continuing to share Skylander content with everyone, seeing the Wii U come back this holiday season to spite the naysayers, landing Street Pass Tags with the expanded Nintendo Zone coverage, playing extensive amounts of Minecraft with my Nephew, and diving in to both Animal Crossing New Leaf and the Xbox One.

Personally, I won a pretty big, nation-wide contest relating to another of my hobbies which was a really cool experience.

I also had a few other neat trips, was fortunate enough to attend another Cowboys game (which they won fyi), and then of course a few other accomplishments and good times.

But enough about me...What were some of your best moments of 2013?  I hope you all enjoyed this current year and are ready to start the New Year and make the most of it as well!

New Year Channel Update

Check the description for a rundown on the Channel Update.

Here are the high points:

SWAP Force Wave 3
-Still trying to land W3 Swappers from Target, probably going to get them elsewhere
-I will keep you posted on W3's LCs, BP, and AP

Recording Upgrades
-I am now able to record in full 1080p HD
--The new capture card and TV have made this possible
---Look for a big boost to recording quality starting with Chapter 6 of the SWAP Force Blind Playthrough and sometime around SWAP Force Intro #26 or so
-I have thru Chapter 5 recorded and around 45 Introductions
--I will be editing, uploading, and making those videos LIVE before recording anything else

Xbox One
-I will be playing SWAP Force on XB1 behind the Wii U's blind playthrough
--This will let me level up and get cash for all the characters to prep for Nightmare Mode
---Currently the plan is to record Nightmare Mode from the XB1

Animal Crossing New Leaf
-I will get the video with my Dream Address up soon
--From there I will have a blog post where you can leave your address to share with others, this will hopefully help earn some badges etc.

-I have a few more quick videos to get cranked out, several are already on YouTube, just waiting for a blog post to be made "Public"
-My Nephew and I have several new recording series in the works...
--As soon as I get caught up on the current batch of SF recordings I will get some things going there
-I will be continuing Castaways vs Newlanders and running other polls

-That is about it...Again, thanks for watching and I hope you had a great 2013 and have an even better 2014!  Don't forget to comment with some of your best moments of 2013!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Skylanders SWAP Force Unboxing the Xbox One Starter Pack

What?  Skylanders SWAP Force Starter Pack for Xbox One
Where Did You Get It?  Special Delivery
What Does It Cost?  $74.99 lus tax, currently on sale for $59.99!!
What Was Stock Like?  Well stocked everywhere
What is Included?  Xbox One Game Disc, Wired Portal of Power, Collector's Poster, Wash Buckler, Blast Zone, and Ninja Stealth Elf all with Stat Cards and Sticker Sheets

Unboxing Xbox One Skylanders SWAP Force Starter Pack

This isn't quite as detail oriented for me, particularly regarding the characters...That said, if you want details, check out the Wii U Starter Pack unboxing.

So, you are probably asking, why pick up another Starter Pack?  I picked up a XB1 to play a few titles that skip Nintendo and some that are Microsoft exclusives that my Nephew and I will enjoy.  Obviously, this SP will allow me to play the game on a different console.  Why do that?  Simple...

First, I will play the XB1 version behind the Wii U's blind playthrough.  I will be doing this to level up and get cash for the characters not featured as prominently in the blind playtrhough (think alt-deco, S2, and S3 characters) as my emphasis in the blind playthrough will be SWAP Force Skylanders and Newlanders.

Second, when I complete most everything on the Wii U, I will come in and record Nightmare Mode on the XB1 which will let you compare and contrast the game, graphics, and more across two systems.

Again, I can't stress that Skylanders SWAP Force is the best game going in the kid friendly, family fun genre for the XB1.  Some might even argue, at this point, that SWAP Force is the best game currently available for the XB1.

I am looking forward to playing the game and getting the bonus of utilizing the characters not featured as prominently in the blind playthrough.  This means I can continue to use Scorp, Riptdie, and Countdown in the blind playthrough, but come upgrade time Knockout Terrafin, Anchors Away Gill Grunt, and Big Bang Trigger Happy will be levelled up, have cash for upgrades, and be more ready to take on Nightmare mode with their Newlander counterparts.

I have never owned an Xbox and SWAP Force is my first XB1 game, actually arriving BEFORE the actual console :D

Don't forget, you can currently catch all STARTER PACKS on sale at retailers like Toys'R'Us and GameStop, anywhere from $15-$20 off...It is a great chance to land that second Blast Zone and Wash Buckler if you missed out on the Dark Edition Starter Pack.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Skylanders SWAP Force Unboxing Series 3 Hyper Beam Prism Break

What? Hyper Beam Prism Break, Earth Element, Series 3 Skylander
Where Did You Get It? Toys'R'Us
What Did It Cost? $10.99 plus tax, BOGO40%
What Was Stock Like? Extremely Limited Stock
What is Included? Hyper Beam Prism Break, Stat Card, and Sticker Sheet

Unboxing Hyper Beam Prism Break

Hyper Beam Prism Break
Earth Element, Series 3 Skylander

Slogan: "The Beam is Supreme!"

Card Stats
Power: 140/200
Armor: 120/200
Agility: 25/200
Luck: 25/200
Totals: 310/800

Skylanders SWAP Force Unboxing Series 3 Horn Blast Whirlwind

What? Horn Blast Whirlwind, Air Element, Series 3 Skylander
Where Did You Get It? Toys'R'Us
What Did It Cost? $10.99 plus tax, BOGO40%
What Was Stock Like? Very Limited
What is Included? Horn Blast Whirlwind, Stat Card, and Sticker Sheet

Unboxing Horn Blast Whirlwind

Horn Blast Whirlwind
Air Element, Series 3 Skylander

Slogan: "Twists of Fury!"

Card Stats
Power: 75/200
Armor: 40/200
Agility: 65/200
Luck: 150200
Totals: 330/800

Skylanders SWAP Force Unboxing Phantom Cynder

What? Phantom Cynder, Undead Element, Series 3
Where Did You Get It? Toys'R'Us
What Did It Cost? $10.99 plus tax, BOGO40%
What Was Stock Like? Moderate Stock
What is Included? Phantom Cynder, Stat Card, and Sticker Sheet

Unboxing Phantom Cynder

Phantom Cynder
Undead Element, Series 3 Skylander

Slogan: "Volts and Lightning!"

Card Stats
Power: 80/200
Armor: 85/200
Agility: 110/200
Luck: 55/200
Totals: 330/800

Skylanders SWAP Force Unboxing Smolderdash

What? Smolderdash, Fire Element, SWAP Force Newlander
Where Did You Get It? Toys'R'Us
What Did It Cost? $10.99 plus tax, BOGO40%
What Was Stock Like? Moderate Stock
What is Included? Smolderdash, Stat Card, and Sticker Sheet

Unboxing Smolderdash

Fire Element, SF Newlander

Slogan: "A Blaze of Glory!"

Card Stats
Power: 135/200
Armor: 50/200
Agility: 85/200
Luck: 60/200
Totals: 330/800

Friday, December 27, 2013

Unboxing Dune Bug Skylanders SWAP Force Newlander

What? Dune Bug, Magic Element, SWAP Force Newlander
Where Did You Get It? Toys'R'Us
What Did It Cost? $10.99 plus tax (BOGO40%)
What Was Stock Like? Well Stocked!
What is Included? Dune Bug, Stat Card, and Sticker Sheet

Unboxing Dune Bug

Dune Bug
Magic Element, SF Newlander

Slogan: "Can't Beat the Beetle!"

Card Stats
Power: 60/200
Armor: 130/200
Agility: 40/200
Luck: 100/200
Totals: 330/800

Dune Bug, Front with Card

Dune Bug, Back with Card

SWAP Force Magic Element Newlanders

SWAP Force Magic Element Skylanders

Unboxing Xbox One Wireless Controller with Play & Charge Kit

Blog post coming soon!

Unboxing Microsoft Xbox One

Blog post coming soon!

LG 42" LED TV 1080p HD

Blog post coming soon.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Jolly Bumble Blast Background Story

Hopefully you have seen the Jolly Bumble Blast video I got up earlier in the week...Skylands Christmas Ambassador first dropped at GameStop this past Saturday (December 7th) and then other retailers shortly there after...

Just about an hour ago, I got a little more insight on what makes Jolly Bumble Blast so special...Check it out for yourself:

No other Skylander celebrates the holiday season quite like Bumble Blast.  Every year, the magical bees that are under his protection decorate their mighty tree hero in wonderful festive colors.  Then Bumble Blast makes it his mission to spread the cheer by blasting enchanted peppermint at anyone in need of a little holiday spirit.  After all, 'tis the season to be jolly!

Pretty cool background story is it not?  I sure thought so!  I have some gameplay recorded that you will probably see next week in time for Christmas!

Here is the unboxing to tide you over (in case you missed it from this weekend):

Skylanders SWAP Force Unboxing Jolly Bumble Blast

You can find all the details and a few pictures of Jolly, here:

In the meantime...since it is the season to be Jolly...I may give away a Jolly Bumble Blast!

I've always been hesitant to do these since it is so hard to pick a winner, even when it is at random...I'd love to send one to everyone, but sadly that isn't quite possible financially, lol.  I'm also unsure on shipping outside of the US...BUT, be looking for more info very soon!

Have you landed Jolly Bumble Blast yet?  Last night, when hunting for Wave 3, I saw tons of stock at both GameStop and Toys'R'Us.  Target only had one...At this point in time, I think if you act fast you should be home free.  Good luck!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Skylanders SWAP Force Wave 3 Spotted at Target: Rubble Rouser, Spy Rise, and Stink Bomb; New Double Packs, Sheep Wreck Island, and Arkeyan Crossbow Battle Pack Coming Soon!

If you haven't heard, a few folks have been spotting some Skylanders SWAP Force Wave 3 Swappers, most notably at Target.  I have had 2 readers/viewers contact me on this and there has been another documented sighting.  We've also got Aussies landing Sheep Wreck Island AP and Arkeyan Crossbow BP.  Things are looking up for the holiday season...

The big draw, of course, is Stink Bomb since he will be the first access we have to all the Stealth Zones in the game.

Personally, I am the most interested in Rubble Rouser.

While checking around online, I found some buried links a few of you may be interested in...

We will get started with what Target dubs Double Packs C and D.  They retail for $27.99 plus tax and leave us wondering what exactly is defined as Double Pack A and Double Pack B, although there is a good chance that may very well have been the Nitro Magna Charge + Free Ranger and Nitro Magna Charge + Rattle Shake Double Packs that were available at launch and continue to be heavily sought after.  Note that their site lists both of these Double Packs as Target Exclusives.  From what I remember, a few folks across the pond said these had been available in the UK, I believe at Argos?  I've yet to see either Double Pack here, but will keep my eyes out...I'll try to head to Target tonight.

SWAP Force Double Pack C Boom Jet and Night Shift

Skylanders Swap Force 2-Pack C - Target Exclusive - Night Shift and Boom Jet
SWAP Force Triple Pack D Fire Kracken and Grilla Drilla

Skylanders Swap Force 2-Pack D - Target Exclusive - Fire Kraken and Grilla Drilla

Triple Packs 3 and 4 aren't exactly new and don't feature Wave 3 Skylanders, but I have had a lot of people continue to ask about them...As with Giants, it is likely going to be really hard to find these Triple Packs.  They do exist and in theory should be on shelves, but the desire is for folks to purchase Single Packs.  There are still several Giants Triple Packs I have barely seen...and that includes the lull over the summer and prior to SWAP Force's launch.

These both retail for $24.99 plus tax...If you are trying to save a few bucks and are willing to dedicate the time to make it happen, this is what you want to look for...

SWAP Force Triple Pack #3

Skylanders Swap Force Triple Pack #3 - Heavy Duty Sprocket, Twin Blade Chop Chop, and Scorp

SWAP Force Triple Pack #4

Skylanders Swap Force Triple Pack #4 - Big Bang Trigger Happy, Star Strike, Anchors Away Gill Grunt
On more of the Wave 3 note, folks in Australia and the UK have sent me word that they have been able to find both Sheep Wreck Island AP and the Arkeyan Crossbow Battle Pack.

I know Amazon.co.uk has the Arkeyan Crossbow, but to keep things simple I went to the land down under for these links:

Skylanders SWAP Force Sheep Wreck Island Adventure Pack

Skylanders SWAP Force Arkeyan Crossbow Battle Pack

This gives you a good idea of what to look for in Wave 3...which will hopefully be out in full force here in the US very soon.

Sheep Wreck Island's AP will gives us a new level to explore, the Platinum Sheep and of course the vial Groove Machine.  The biggest draw will no doubt be Wind-Up who several readers have continued to express major interest in obtaining (along with Dune Bug).

The Arkeyan Crossbow actually looks really, really cool...Assuming it lights up, I think it will be super slick!  Thorn Horn Camo will be making his much anticipated return and fans can finally advance him to Wow Pow status.  Grim Creeper has established a big fan base with his LC and L-LC pose, but ghouls will now get to enjoy his standard pose.

We still have a few singles to look for as well.  That said, with the West Coast sightings happening here in the US and Australia already having both the AP and BP, things are lining up that we could "wind up" with W3 before Christmas.  The only issue is with just 2 weeks left, any stock coming in will likely get gobbled up by shoppers and scalpers very quickly.  Be on the lookout and stay diligent!

If any of you make epic finds be sure to let me know!

I'll update this post as time allows and as needed.  Good luck!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Unboxing Jolly Bumble Blast Skylanders SWAP Force Christmas Special

What?  Skylanders SWAP Force Jolly Bumble Blast
Where Did You Get It?  GameStop, local store
What Did It Cost?  $9.99 plus tax
What Was Stock Like?  Limited
What is Included?  Jolly Bumble Blast, Stat Card, and Sticker Sheet

Unboxing Jolly Bumble Blast

Jolly Bumble Blast
Life Element, SF Newlander: Special Edition

Jolly Bumble Blast, As Packed

Slogan: "The Perfect Swarm!"

Side-by-Side Comparison, Front:

Side-by-Side Comparison, Back:

Card Stats
Power: 85/200
Armor: 85/200
Agility: 50/200
Luck: 90/200
Totals: 310/800

*Note, Card Stats are EXACTLY the same as regular Bumble Blast

Alternate Forms:
-Regular Bumble Blast, available in the Fiery Forge Battle Pack
-LightCore Bumble Blast

Life Element SWAP Force Cast as of 12/8/2013

Family Tree: Notice the Similarities?

As always, I have to recommend you pick up Jolly Bumble Blast as soon as possible.  The price isn't going to go down and stock could very will be limited.  I wouldn't be planning to buy him from your local TRU come June 2014 in the bargain bin...This will likely be held to about 3-4 weeks post Christmas, or until stock dissipates, which is the gamble you take in waiting.

I have already had several report to me that their local TRU sold out, or that they got the last one at Target etc.  I would not expect him to be super hard to find, but face the facts..This is a special release of a popular character right in time for Christmas.  It literally makes a perfect stocking stuffer and we aren't the only ones to realize that...Scalpers are already picking these up hocking them for 3-4x retail as we speak...If stock slips, think what you might be faced with paying here in a week or two...Just be smart and act early...Then enjoy your holiday season and knowing you'll be bringing a smile to a Portal Master's face with JBB.

For what it is worth, my local GameStop had very limited stock on him...I haven't gotten to check other stores to monitor, but as mentioned, others have told me they've had a hard time finding him...already.

He looks pretty cool and it is a nicely done figure.  If you aren't a fan of Battle Packs this allows you to pick up Bumble Blast without the extra $15+...

Enjoy it!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Unboxing PowerA's Skylanders SWAP Force Pro Pack Mini Controller Set for Nintendo WiiU

What: PowerA Pro Pack Mini Controller Set for Wii and WiiU
What Does It Cost?  $39.99 plus tax
What Was Stock Like?  Pretty easy to find

Unboxing PowerA's Skylanders SWAP Force Pro Pack Mini Controller Set 
(ie WiiMote and Nunchuck)

One thing you can never have enough of is game controllers.  Whether you have friends over all the time, or just go hot and heavy with your favorite games, they are much needed.  With the WiiU on the market, something a lot of folks (like myself) ran into is the inconvenience of having to pull a jacket/sleeve, pop a cover, hit the sync button, and reverse the process just to swap from Wii to Wii U.  This is something that haunts me all the time...I like to keep the two separate so if I want to use a save file on Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but my Nephew and I last played New Super Mario Bros. U we have to re-sync at least one of the Wiimotes...

If you are in that position, you at least want 4 WiiMotes on tap to keep 2 dedicated to each system and save you precious time.  If you are new to the Wii U, or replacing a worn out Wiimote, this is a hot ticket.  Clearly, as a Skylander fan this is a desirable item...

Back in June PowerA was nice enough to give out some controllers at E3...That light blue Skylanders Giants Wiimote has been my Nephew's staple since shortly after and it has served quite well.  With that background, you will get a feel for where the review is coming from...

The first thing to note is that these are "Mini."  If you have smaller hands, or are shopping for younger gamers, this is perfect.  I've seen a lot of kids struggle with the regular sized Wiimote, let alone when you'd strap on the Motion Plus Accessory.  This "Mini" controller downsizes things just slightly to make a difference, yet maintain functionality for those with big hands (like me).

There is no "jacket" but the WiiMote and Nunchuck both sport a Soft-touch finish that kind of takes its place.  This is a soft, smooth textured finish that kind of doubles as a slip resistant finish.  It is very nice and doesn't "sweat" as much as your typical sleeved WiiMote.

The other great thing for kids is the oversized buttons...Smaller dimensions on the controller with larger buttons makes for the perfect package.  For anyone else, the illuminated buttons are a very cool touch and look awesome with the lights out (just watch the video to see for yourself!).

The WiiMote includes a quick clasp strap and the Nunchuck sports a 3' cord which is plenty long for even the craziest Wii Fit activity.

If you are in the market for new, or additional controllers for your Wii or Wii U, this is perfect.  The price is right, the quality is great, and the added features and character artwork (Bouncer and MagnaCharge in this case) really stand out.

My Nephew actually likes this one so much he has already called dibs...guess I'll go back to the Giants Light Blue version!

You can find these pretty much anywhere games are sold as well as online at Amazon, who usually has the best price.

We've had close to 6 months of service out of the E3 Pro Pack Mini and it has yet to let us down...including the battery!

If you are in the market for new controllers, or need a good stocking stuffer be sure to check out PowerA's Pro Pack Mini Controller Set!  In addition to this Navy Blue, there is also a pretty sleek Sublime offering:


As of making this post and video LIVE, Toys'R'Us still has their Black Friday/Cyber Monday pricing of 50% off on the PowerA line!  That means you can get either controller set for abou $17...Sweet!

Here are the links:

Blue Pro Pack Mini Controller Set:

Green Pro Pack Mini Controller Set:

Note that the production shots both feature Blast Zone on the WiiMote and Wash Buckler on the Nunchuck...The one we unboxed has Magna Charge on the Nunchuck.  I have not seen the Green Set, but will check out the Blue Set more closely at my local store and see if it is Magna Charge or Wash Buckler...If you have, or have seen the green set and can vouch for the character, let me know!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Skylanders Pop'N'Race Unboxing and Review

What: Skylanders Pop'N'Race
Where Did You Get It: No clue honestly, lol
What Did it Cost? $9.99 plus tax (I've seen it priced lower both std. price and on sale)
What is Included: Game Board with Dice in Popper, 4 Groups of 4 Colored Pegs

Unboxing and Review of Skylanders Pop'N'Race

While out of town for Thanksgiving, my Sister picked up an early gift for my Nephew and I...Skylanders Pop'N'Race.  This is essentially a Skylanders spin on the classic Milton Bradly (Hasbro) Pop-O-Matic Trouble (I think my family's version is from the late 80s, lol...still works fwiw).

Anyway, there is nothing too flashy, but it is functional and most importantly FUN.

There are 4 Characters featured on the board: Tree Rex, Crusher, Spyro, and Trigger Happy.  The characters aren't necessarily by their featured slots, but I suppose it doesn't matter in the end.  Life is Green, Earth is Brown, Tech is Orange, and Magic is Purple (although you could change that up if you are inclined).

The other neat Skylander feature is that each slot (outside of your Start Point and H-O-M-E feature Elemental Logos.  This would make it very easy to customize a game...IE if you are Earth and you land in an Earth Slot you could advance 2 more spaces, roll again, kill anyone within 5 slots, etc...the options are endless..this is what my Nephew and I were alluding to...

The game board isn't exactly the most durable thing I've ever seen, but in all honesty, as long as it doesn't get wet, I see no reason for it not to last years.  Plus, for under $10 you really can't go wrong.

You can find this pretty much anywhere board games are sold and online...

It is a nice addition to any collection and yet another way to bring Skylanders into other portions of your life.

Currently Playing

  • Skylanders Imaginators
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • NBA Playgrounds
  • Minelogix-Minecraft PC
  • Stardew Valley - PC
  • Wii Fit U (Wii U)
  • Animal Crossing amiibo Festival (Wii U)
  • Yoshi's Wooly World
  • Animal Crossing New Leaf 3DS

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