APCSP | Mock Explore Task

 Toys To Life

Mock Explore Task Final

Computational Artifact:


My computing innovation for this task is “toys-to-life” products. I explained it in the artifact, but basically, toys to life products are toys that have some way of interacting with a video game. They can save and transfer data, unlock new characters, give you bonus content, but they are physical objects that scan into a video game. My computational artifact (although basic), is effective at showing how the innovation works, and what it is for, because it literally says it in text. Although that isn’t the most creative way to show it, it gets the point across.




For this project, the tools that I used were simple. I just used nice fonts for the text, the fill tool for the background, the shape tool for the arrows and boxes, and the transform tool for adjusting sizes. The most advanced thing I did was put a picture on another picture, but all I had to do was resize it so it fit the other picture. I didn’t use many advanced tools, but I didn’t need to for a poster like this. I could have, but it would have been unnecessary. The whole project was made on Photoshop.


Computing Innovation:


Toys to life has mostly beneficial effects to everything. Kids are finding enjoyment from playing with these toys and being able to use them in a video game, collectors are getting enjoyment from being able to collect high-quality figures, it’s a great thing for everyone. Obviously, jobs are being made, as there is a large market of products that more shops can sell. Economically, this industry is making a lot of money. Skylanders (arguably the most famous toys to life franchise) passed three billion dollars in revenue after around four years of games [3]. Toys to life has formed its own culture of collectors, working together with apps and forums to try to help each other complete their collections.


Although toys to life are very positive, there are some large problems with it. One such problem is the price, as most of these franchises are incredibly expensive. This may be a good thing for the companies, but this turns away many consumers. Some gamers view toys to life as a “cash grab,” saying that it ruins the game for those who don’t want to buy the figures (if the figures are optional in the game).



This innovation uses RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification), or more specifically, a kind of RFID known as NFC (Near Field Communication) [1]. Since toys to life products are all made by different companies and work with different games, they all have different functions. Most of these functions are similar, but I’m going to be talking about amiibo for this part.


Nintendo’s amiibo are different from most of the other toys to life products, as you don’t have to keep the figure on the scanner while using it. One amiibo can be used with different games. For example, let’s take a Mario amiibo. We can scan the Mario amiibo into the game Super Smash Brothers and it becomes an AI (Artificial Intelligence) enemy that learns to fight your playstyle. As you play with it more, it stores more data, with you scanning it every time you want to put the character in, or when you want to save the progress. You can now go to your friend’s house and use that same amiibo with the data stored on it and scan it onto their system. It will keep its data and even progress when you battle it at your friend’s house. Using this same amiibo, you can also scan it onto the game Super Mario Maker to unlock a special costume. Some games read and write data from the figure (Smash Bros), and some just read data from it (Mario Maker). The problem is that because of the figure’s price and limitations, it cannot write data from multiple games. For example, Mario Party 8 has a mode where you can read and write data from a figure, but you cannot use one figure to read and write data from both Mario Party and Smash Bros.





Smuckola. “Toys-to-life.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Oct. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toys-to-life>.


Carter, Chris. “It ‘only’ Took a Year and Change to Sort out the Amiibo Stock Problems.” Destructoid. Destructoid, 17 Nov. 2016. Web. 10 Dec. 2016. <https://www.destructoid.com/it-only-took-a-year-and-change-to-sort-out-the-amiibo-stock-problems-399856.phtml>.


Morris, Chris. “Rough Skies May Be Ahead for Activision’s ‘Skylanders'” CNBC. CNBC, 14 June 2016. Web. 10 Dec. 2016. <http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/14/rough-skies-may-be-ahead-for-activisions-skylanders.html>.


Image sources:

Bostoen, Benny. SKYLANDERS GIANTS GAMEPLAY CYNDER JET VAC SLAM BAM POP FIZZ. Digital image. Youtube. N.p., 25 Oct. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

Churchill, Sam. Hacking using NFC. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

Clarke, Peter. One of the Many NFC Chips Available. Digital image. Electronics360. IEEE GlobalSpec, 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

Samsung UN19F4000 19-Inch 720p 60Hz Slim LED HDTV. Digital image. Flat Screen Expert. N.p., 4 Dec. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

Turbo, Leland. Series 2 Cynder atop the Portal of Power. Digital image. Skylanders Wiki. N.p., 11 Feb. 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.