Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Adoration with Amiibo: The Thrill of the Hunt and the Possible Future

Upon reading the news that Nintendo has shipped over 5.7 million Amiibo since late November last year, I remembered how I was entranced by the mystique that is the Amiibo line of figurines.

As a lifelong Nintendo fan and huge lover of figurines, the concept of small statuettes of various Nintendo characters was a dream. The dream was realized with Amiibo. However, I kept calm and said to myself that I'd just try out one and that would be it. However, after acquiring my first Amiibo, a Pikachu from Pokemon that was won during a video game trivia contest at the university I attend, the thirst, as it is said, was real.

I had one Amiibo, and it really was like eating just one chip from a bag of potato chips. I couldn't just have one and went on to collect more. Even then, I showed some restraint and came to the conclusion that I would just buy the Amiibo for characters that I didn't already have a figure of some kind for. That meant one for Samus, Peach, Zelda, Pit, and so forth. Needless to say, this plan came to fruition and then some until one day...

That is my current collection of Amiibo (Bowser not included). They're nice to look at, take up a miniature amount of space, and they're of great quality overall. That said, the issue with wanting collect as many Amiibo as possible reared its ugly and realistic head into the picture.

At least in North America, certain Amiibo are completely discontinued, and it's now pretty much a situation that if you don't pre-order, you don't have a chance of getting a specific figure. It is absolutely mind-boggling how bad Nintendo of America has once again dropped the ball once again. Fans are unable to acquire the Amiibo they desire because scalpers get to them beforehand, buying up a whole store and then selling them on sites like eBay for three or four times the MSRP.

I currently lack the three rarest Amiibo: Marth, Villager, and Wii Fit Trainer. While the first is set to receive more figures produced in the near future (as stated by the most recent Nintendo Direct), others are so rare to find at a sensible price that you'd have better luck winning the lottery twice in the span of a week. Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration.

The holy trinity of rare Amiibo.
That said, it's common practice for pretty much any popular toy line to experience difficulty and require extra work to get the figures one wants most, and I certainly know with my recent dealings with the World of Nintendo toy line by Jakks Pacific. Scalpers also jumped on that bandwagon and sell mini Micro Land figurines and regular sized figures for double the original price.

While I am not as hooked on Amiibo as others (e.g. I don't hit F5 on pre-order pages to see when a new shipment is ready to buy), I do take precautions to obtain the figures I want. For instance, for the Amiibo that I figure are going to be the most popular I pre-order them. It's recommended by many to pre-order from multiple places in case one's order is cancelled. While that hasn't happened to me yet (knocks on wood), it seems to be a good practice that works since there have been issues at certain stores like Toys 'R' Us.

Amiibo's full potential hasn't really been realized by Nintendo yet. The company instead uses the figures as a means to unlock content in games rather than a greater use like what we see with Activision's Skylanders series of figures. Scanned Amiibo give new Mii costumes in Mario Kart 8, Hyrule Warriors's Amiibo use gives rupees, materials, and weapons for scanning the figures, and the upcoming Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. puts Marth, Ike, and Robin into the game as playable characters when their Amiibo have been scanned.

Currently my favorite unlockables via Amiibo.
Can you imagine a Skylanders-like game from Nintendo that incorporates Amiibo usage, summoning various Nintendo all-stars into the same game universe to fight alongside one another? That's a million dollar idea just waiting to happen, but then again, I did patent "emergency sea water" for those shipwrecked on deserted tropical islands.

With a new lineup of Amiibo coming in March with the release of Mario Party 10 on Wii U, Nintendo continues its plan to roll in some monster-sized dough. As long as the figures become easier to get a hold of, rather than being forced to import for the rarer characters, I can see the future of Amiibo being increasingly brighter. After all, I do have another shelf of room for a whole new horde of Amiibo!

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