Light, Darkness, and Skylanders

In the realm of Skylands, the powers of light and darkness eternally warred with one another. The Darkness, an unknown evil represented by ominous clouds, was held at bay by a great machine known as the Core of Light. Protecting the Core of Light, the good Portal Master Eon and his faithful guardians, the Skylanders, stood watch. One day, an evil Portal Master known as Kaos returned and set in motion hell in Skyland form. Launching an assault that destroyed the Core of Light, diminished Eon to a spirit form, and sent the Skylanders packing to Earth, Kaos’s power grew. Defeated, the Skylanders were torn away from their magical Skylands. As they traveled further and further away from home, they grew smaller. Arriving on Earth, they now appear to humans as mere toys. The Darkness grows, a new Portal Master is needed, that¬†Portal Master is you.

skylanders-swap-force-starter-pack-ps3-box

Also, it requires this box!

As a father of a 3 year old, I consistently hunt for new games to play with my son. In selecting virtual worlds for us to visit, I try and follow a few rules:

  • The game must be age appropriate. Rated E for Everyone preferred.
  • The game must not be nightmare inducing. This rules out the Dead Space series.

Up until the Skylanders visited us, this loose set of guidelines had mostly confined us to the Nintendo playground. I knew I could count on Mario and Link to behave themselves.

My son immediately fell in love with the Skylanders. He likes placing the different characters on the Portal of Power (this instantly “zaps” the character into the game). He also likes sitting on my lap and helping me control Trigger, Gill, and Spyro through the Gauntlet 64-like levels.

To date, we have spent countless hours leveling the Skylanders in preparation for the ultimate battle with Kaos; we have slowly restored the Core of Light in the process. With my son being 3, I’m unsure what he has absorbed from the game. Even so, as a Christian father, I am always mindful Deuteronomy 11:19:

19 You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Note that Moses has just come down from the mountain a second time. He carries with him a second set of The Ten Commandments (the first set was destroyed after Moses threw them in reaction to the Israelite’s idol worship). Moses proceeds to instruct the people. He wants them to make God’s words not only a part of personal lives but of those of their children as well.

Modern Judaism exemplifies this in the Passover questioning. Four questions are asked, each of which is recited by the youngest in the family. It tells us of how that night differed from every other night, as it did in the Bible when God sends the angel for Israel’s liberation. Light comes from darkness, and brings His people out of their darkest hour.

Why is this night different from every other night?

On all other nights we eat bread or matza, while on this night we eat only matza.

Why is this night different from every other night?

On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables and herbs, but on this night we have to eat bitter herbs.

Why is this night different from every other night?

On all other nights we don’t dip our vegetables in salt water, but on this night we dip them twice.

Why is this night different from every other night?

On all other nights we eat while sitting upright, but on this night we eat reclining.

Most of these actions reflect the actions that they take during Passover: bitter herbs and salt water to remind them of the bitterness of slavery, and leavened bread forbidden during most holidays (as per Levitical law). Reclining, the last one, refers to the ability to relax in the wonders of freedom after God’s deliverance. All exist as a tradition and ritual of remembrance.

Perhaps showing the forces of light conquer the forces of darkness will prove fruitful. God, in whatever circumstance, always works for our good, so why not play video games that instill that same hope? As the father learned, so does the son.

About Bryan Hall

Transplanted from the land of sun and surf to a place filled with pine trees and sweet tea, Bryan Hall is a man who has experienced God's grace. Wanting to influence the digital landscape with the love of Christ, Bryan writes from the junction point of faith, life, and video games. You can read more of his writing at his blog, johnnybgamer.com.
  • I found my father-in-law’s tackle box in the garage when looking for a drill bit last night. Suddenly, I realized that I hate fishing. I just find it to be the most boring hobby or activity in the world. But then I thought about how much I would love spending time with my dad if that’s what we did. But we didn’t. And I won’t with my kids. We’ll game. Gaming is our fishing. And regardless of whether or not your son remembers Skylanders twenty years from now, I’m sure he’ll still fondly remember playing games with you.

    Also, for Christmas this year, my dad got me an original Optimus Prime (un-transformed) because he realized how heartbroken I was when I lost one of my favorite transformers when I was seven. I loved it. It spoke a lot of that thing that the world wants to suck out of us: child-like wonder.