A giant truck, wrapped in Skylander Swap Force graphics, pulled onto our street as the kids waited for me to “set up our picnic.”
It was the Game Truck Activision sent to celebrate the launch of Skylanders Swap Force. The kids had no idea that’s what they were really outside waiting for.
Kendall counted down the days until Swap Force’s release for 2 months, and earned two giant jars full of rocks to trade in for the starter pack last month.
The original plan was to make him earn this party, too. I mean, the kid can’t be thinking stuff like this just happens. Game Trucks do not just pull up to your house on a random Sunday afternoon. He was working on earning a bucket of rocks for a surprise.
By then, I’d invited a handful of his friends to the party, requesting that the parents not tell their kids either, for fear Kendall would find out. I really wanted it to be a surprise because I knew he would never. ever. shut. up. about it if he knew in advance, and I knew he’d invite everyone he made eye contact with.
So the flu really made me nervous, but luckily he wasn’t contagious anymore by the time the truck rolled up and his friends arrived. Though he was obviously still not feeling 100%.
And while he hadn’t technically earned all the rocks for the surprise, we made sure to put the emphasis on this being a special treat for all of his friends. It wasn’t a party for Kendall, but a play date for all.
If you’ve never heard of a Game Truck, you’ve probably never thought to yourself, “That is a stupid simple, genius idea, and I bet these people are crazy rich for thinking it up.”
Basically, it’s a trailer with one long couch on one end and 4 giant TVs on the other, all hooked up to gaming systems. In our case, it was stocked full of Skylanders characters, and of course, the new Swap Force game.
It’s a living room on crack, on wheels. And all the kids stay in there playing games, and all the adults can have adult conversation in the house over coffee. In theory. I mean, genius.
Obviously Kendall was over the moon, but I think Leyna’s reaction was possibly cuter. She doesn’t know a single Disney Princess, but she can tell you the name of every Skylander we own. You can hear her on that video shouting “SWAP-ABILITIES!” as the truck pulled up.
She idolizes her brother just a little bit.
We had the truck for 3 hours and, surprisingly…. or maybe not, the kids didn’t play the game that whole time. Instead, they took frequent breaks to check out the poster, assign characters to each other, and act out battles on our front yard.
I’ve mentioned before that the imagination element to all of this is why I don’t mind the obsession too much. It’s more than just sitting in front of a TV, playing a game. Kendall’s screen time is mostly limited to a few hours on Friday nights, and rewarded for good behavior. The rest of the time, he uses his characters to fight imaginary battles, draws pictures of them, or write stories about them.
So watching these boys run in and out of the truck, merging the game world with our front yard in the real world, was the best of all of that.
A HUGE thanks to Activision for arranging all of this. Not only did the kids have a blast, but the adults really did congregate in our house, and enjoy coffee and grown up conversation. It was like the best kind of play date for everyone.