The magic of gaming and imagination

As a mom of two kids and an early adopter, I’ve brought my kids into the digital fold pretty early. I watched the ebb and flow of Webkinz and created accounts on Club Penguin. I encouraged my kids to learn how to take photos and try editing videos with iPhone and iPad apps.

For all of the hardware and software I love to play with, I’ve never been much of a gamer. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I get aggravated when and if I don’t catch on quickly to a game. Instead, I’d rather edit a video or photo and post something to a blog. But my 11-year-old son loves gaming. Not only does he love it, he loves building in it. From Lego Wii games that encourage you to earn all of the characters to earning upgrades to his Skylanders characters to building new worlds inside Minecraft, he wants to do it all. Of course I also make sure he gets outside to play and participate in sports. But it’s fascinating to see how he’s evolving and growing in this digital world.

One of the biggest technology on his radar is Disney Infinity. It’s a new game that comes out August 18th and both of my kids spent the whole summer saving for the game. The whole summer. But it’s finally pre-ordered and they are giddy.

They’re extra giddy because while I was speaking and attending a conference in Chicago, I had a chance to attend a small Disney Infinity lunch party. Attendees had a chance to learn about the game and talk to some of the programmers who helped build it. I will be honest. Few things get me geeked out like a chance to learn about a game my son has talked about non-stop for months. He stalks the Disney Infinity YouTube channel. He reads everything he can about it. He has me equally excited about this game. And as I said earlier, I don’t regularly play games!

Here’s what so freaking cool about this game: There are physical Disney characters that you play and earn upgrades when you play the games. Each character has its own game. But beyond that, there is the Disney Infinity Toy Box. It’s a “sandbox” concept where players can build their own worlds and games inside the existing games. The toy box feature is what has my Minecraft-fan son extra excited. During the lunch, I had a chance to see how there are so many more terrains and tools you can use to build when you compare it to the box options inside Minecraft.

Another really cool feature of the Disney Infinity Toy Box is you can share the things you build with a community of other toy box creators. You can download other’s structures as well. Disney Infinity fans will be able to build and hack each other’s work. That is so cool and reminds me of Scratch. (My son loves that programming tool as well!)

There are many additional elements that will include a reason to start trading another Disney item – the Power Discs. The discs give your toy box a different background or theme or other cool things. While I attended the Disney Infinity lunch, the programmer who I spoke to turned a Monster’s University theme into Finding Nemo. That was super cool. The opportunities are endless. The games and adventures and fun can go on and on. Infinity for real.

A few extra facts: Disney Infinity is available on Xbox 360, PS3,WiiU/PC and 3DS. Starter game packs cost $74.99. Additional game pieces and discs range in price from $4.99 to $34.99.

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I was invited to attend the Disney Infinity event in Chicago as part of The Big Toybook event. I was not paid or required to share my experience. Each attendee received one Disney Infinity game character. I do plan to continue to share future experiences now that the kids have invested their own money into the game!

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