Video game characters are typically confined to the television or computer screen, but the Skylanders series changed all that. It's one of the first video game franchises to include tangible toys that interact with onscreen play. When you purchase any of the Skylanders games, either for computer, Wii, PlayStation or Xbox, you need a special peripheral item called the Portal of Power. It looks like a circular disk resembling a stone pool filled with water. The Portal of Power is embedded with special technology that wirelessly reads corresponding microchips placed inside Skylanders figurines that depict the characters in the game. When you place these small action figures on the Portal of Power, they show up on the video game screen and unlock new games, challenges and levels. Putting two characters on the Portal of Power simultaneously can activate multiplayer games. Each of the 32 characters correspond with one of eight elements: water, fire, earth, air, life, magic, tech and the undead. There are playing cards for each character with stats regarding the character's abilities, powers and limitations, and kids can reference them during gameplay. In the original game, "Spyro's Adventure," and the sequel, "Giants," the Skylanders band together to save their home in the clouds from the menacing KAOS. The second game introduced the Giants, a species who once lived in the Skylands but were banished to earth and then called back to battle evildoers. "Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure" was hailed for the imaginative interplay it promotes between the virtual world and the related toys, earning two Toy Industry Association award nominations: Game of the Year and Innovative Toy of the Year.