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Toys for Bob collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 117.11504
The Toys for Bob collection contains original documentation related to the development and production of character figures for Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure (2011). Materials include timelines, schedules, design guidelines, digital sculpt mockups, notes, correspondence, artwork, concept drawings, presentation images, and more. Also part of this collection are video oral history interviews of Toys for Bob staff members, conducted in 2017 by staff members at The Strong. Additional scope and content information can be found in the Contents List section of this finding aid.

The Toys for Bob collection has been arranged into two series, both of which have been further divided into subseries. The physical materials are housed in three archival document boxes and one oversized folder. The digital materials can be accessed on-site at The Strong or via The Strong’s Preservica-Universal Access portal.


  • 2011 - 2017



This collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

At this time, digital files in Series II, Subseries A (Collections packing) are limited to on-site researchers only. Please see The Strong’s Digital Games Files Access Policy here.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is open for research use by staff of The Strong and by users of its library and archives. Though the donor has not transferred intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein) to The Strong, they have given permission for The Strong to make copies in all media for museum, educational, and research purposes.


1.75 Linear Feet (3 boxes, 1 oversized folder)

111 Gigabytes (Digital files) : Accessible on-site at The Strong; video interviews are accessible online via The Strong's Preservica-Universal Access portal.


The Toys for Bob collection is a compilation of original materials from the production of character figures for Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure (a toys-to-life action video game published by Activision) and video oral histories recorded in 2017. Video and audio of interviews are accessible via The Strong’s Preservica-Universal Access instance.

Historical Note

Toys for Bob is a California-based video game developer founded in 1989 by Paul Reiche III, Fred Ford, and Terry Falls.

During the 1990s, Toys for Bob released several popular games, including the Star Control series. (Activision purchased the company in 2005, making Toys for Bob a wholly-owned subsidiary of Activision.) In 2011, Toys for Bob developed the first installment of Skylanders—a “toys-to-life” action video game series. The games occur in a world called Skylands, where a group of heroes use their abilities and technology to defend their realm from forces of evil. Physical toys are incorporated into the Skylanders video games when players place their plastic character figure onto their “Portal of Power,” a device which reads the radio frequency identification (RFID) chip and contains key stats earned by the character during gameplay. Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure debuted in 2011 with great fanfare, and within a year it was the top selling console and handheld video game worldwide for 2012. The game and its sequels single-handedly created the “toys-to-life” electronic game category, selling more than 250 million toys and generating more than $3 billion in sales.

As of 2019, Toys for Bob continues to develop video games for Activision, including their most recent release, Spyro Reignited Trilogy (2018).

System of Arrangement

Series I: Skylanders project, 2011-2016

Subseries A: Project management, 2011-2014 and n.d.
Subseries B: Character figure and related designs, n.d. [c. 2011-2012]
Subseries C: Skylanders ephemera, 2012 and n.d. [c. 2015-2016]

Series II: Video oral histories, 2017

Subseries A: Collections packing, 2017
Subseries B: Interviews, 2017

Custodial History

The Toys for Bob collection was donated to The Strong in July 2017 as a gift from Activision. The papers were accessioned by The Strong under Object ID 117.11504. The papers were received from Activision in 4 boxes, along with various boxes of Skylanders-related objects. The video oral histories were recorded by staff at The Strong in July 2017.

Related Materials

Along with these records, The Strong received more than 200 pre-production figures and portals, including hand-sculpted and hand-painted prototypes, 3D-printed models, and the first working prototype portal created for Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure. The Strong also houses examples of Skylanders in-house figure molds, tooling, prototype packaging, and more than 175 games and figures in their original packaging.

Revision Note

Finding aid updated in April 2022 to reflect addition of digital files to Preservica.

Processed by

Julia Novakovic, January 2019


Finding Aid to the Toys for Bob Collection, 2011-2017
Julia Novakovic
20 April 2022
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository

The Strong
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA
585.423.1886 (Fax)