Sometimes, parents need a "101" primer on kids' video games and trading cards.

Coveted items this holiday season include the video game Skylanders Spyro's Adventure and the Redakai Trading Card Game.


Skylanders is targeted to kids 6 to 12. Kids play with the action figures in the real world using their imaginations. Choices include Spyro, a purple fire-breathing dragon, and Trigger Happy, an orange creature that shoots gold coins.

But when the figures are placed on a "Portal of Power," the character is "teleported" into the video game's cartoonlike worlds, where it battles menacing creatures and solves puzzles. Each figure has a "brain" that remembers its experiences; take it off the portal and bring it to friends' houses to play and it will retain the gold it has collected and the enhanced powers it has earned.

The starter pack includes the software, three characters, the Portal of Power, a poster and three trading cards. It's $69.99 for XBox 360, PS3, Wii and 3DS; $59.99 for PC and Mac versions.

Redakai cards

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Redakai is a 3-D and animated trading card game for ages 6 and older, in the tradition of Pokemon or Yugi-Oh but moving to the next level of innovation. Each plastic card has 3-D images that allow players to see characters, attack methods or monster moves. For instance, the "Magnetic Tornado" attack card shows the tornado swirling. Competitors lay attack cards on top of opponents' character cards to score. A "power pack" of 11 cards is $5.99. Cartoon Network also runs a "Redakai: Conquer the Kairu" show.