Skylanders Invading the Strong Museum of Play thanks to Toys for Bob

Published: September 28, 2018 12:45 PM /


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Skylanders has returned once more, but this time is serving as a teaching tool thanks to developers Toys for Bob.

Today Toys for Bob officially has donated a sizable collection of Skylanders products, including over 200 figurines, models and pre-production pieces along with 1,000 pages of records, to the Strong Museum of Play.


The Strong Museum of Play, located in  Rochester, New York, is one of the few institutions in the United States that focuses on the historical preservation of video games, along with other toys and games. The Strong Museum is well known among gaming historians and enthusiasts for it's large archive of historical documents found in the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, and more recently, in the creation of the Video Game Hall of Fame.

The large collection of products related to Skylanders is seen as a boon to the museum's collection. “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.”

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Some of the items donated include fully formed and prototype figurines, marketing and design notes, and the prototype portal.

A recent staff blog chronicles the process of Skylanders coming to the Museum, a process that began last year, when Paul Reiche III, CEO of Toys for Bob, contacted the museum to invite them to take inventory of their collection.

Materials the museum acquires would include drafts for monsters, along with pre-sculpted prototype models of the various monsters released for the series. One major acquisition included the original prototype 'portal' used to bring the toys to life; nothing more than a paper plate rigged to an RFID sensor that connected to the Nintendo Wii.

Hundreds of unofficial and official marketing tools, archived materials, concept art, release trailers, and other paraphernalia would be admitted into the museum. The Strong Museum also interviewed key staff members include Reiche and co-founder Fred Ford, designer I-Wei Huang, technical engineer Robert Layland, design director Tony Schadt, art manager Amber Long, and lead concept artist Ron Kee; among others.


“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.” Said Saucier.

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