Image a world where Thor met Rapunzel. What would they do together?
If you guessed that Thor would lift Rapunzel up over his head with beefy Chris Hemsworth arms and fly her around while she threw an infinite supply of frying pans at Frost Giants, you’d be right. And likely smoking some pretty strong stuff.
That, in a nutshell, is my experience with Disney Infinity, my latest attempt to distract my children with video games.

 

Back when I was young (meaning pre-kids, about 5 years ago), I enjoyed playing video games. I’ve tried to get them into games, or at least watching me play, for years, yet they’ve always preferred Curious George or Super Why or whatever other cartoon monstrosity PBS has dreamed up. Although memorizing every chitter coming out of an animated monkey’s mouth might help out in some odd version of Trivial Pursuit, watching the same episodes over and over again is neither fun nor helpful.
Finally, we had a glimmer of gaming hope a few months ago (well, after the disastrous Catlateral Damage incident). Finley’s friends started playing Minecraft, and both Finley and Kella had an intense interest in watching either my wife or I play that game. It was fun for a couple days or so, until we both got tired of digging up pixelated blocks of dirt. We found a TyouTube show to take the place of us playing called Stampylonghead, making me realize that, yes, there are worse shows in the world than those on PBS.
Disney Infinity is our latest attempt to allow me to play video games with my kids, which we broke out into various presents for Christmas. It’s split screen, meaning me or my wife could dink around while the kids jumped in place in childlike wonder. Seemed like a great idea at the time.
And it worked. For about an hour.
Turns out, the game has a few limitations. We knew about them when we bought the game, we just didn’t realize they’d cause such a problem.
Problem 1: You can only play with two players – Finley now knows when his controller isn’t moving anything on the screen. Kella hasn’t figured it out yet. Easy fix, right? Just have Finley play and Kella pretend to play with an extra controller. Well, it hasn’t ended up working that way because. . .
Problem 2: Kella must play Rapunzel –┬áKella has loved Rapunzel everr since her Disneyland encounter. So of course we bought the Rapunzel character for her when we saw it during our Christmas shopping. Finley won’t play that character, but, again, I could just control her while Kella pretends. All and all, it shouldn’t have been an issue, except. . .Problem 3: Rapunzel only works in the Toy Box – Disney Infinity is broken out into two sections: the Play Set, and the Toy Box. The Play Set is plot section of the game, where you go through a more or less open world, solving missions while crashing through cars. So like a PG version of Grand Theft Auto. It’s not the greatest game in the world (I’ve only played the Avengers Play Set so far), but it’s enjoyable enough.

The Toy Box you create your own world and play through it. I hate the Toy Box. It’s like Minecraft, but with set pieces instead of multicolored squares. It’s about a boring, too. I’m sure lots of people like the Toy Box more than the Play Sets, and I might have if I was 10 years old, but the few chances I get to play games these days I want either mind numbing action or interesting plot. Creating my own adventure feels like work, not escapist fun.

I’ll keep trying with Disney Infinite. If I can get Kella to play someone else, it’ll be worth the expense. But as for now, I hate Rapunzel and wish we’d never met her. I’m sure someone at Disney HQ thought it was super important to have consistency in their play worlds. Or something. I don’t know. Someone like this, I would guess.

As for me, just let me make Rapunzel an honorary Avenger. It’ll make my life so much better.