I think in the chest of every retro game collector beats the heart of a wide eyed child that will never truly grow up. Now a lot of people might see this as an insult, but really us retro collectors just embrace the frequent tide of nostalgia that continually washes over us as we get older. We see a video game or toy that we had as a kid and we instantly become that kid again. Those great times waking up on a Saturday morning before the rest of your family got up. Hunkering down in front of your NES, wrapped in your Transformers comforter, with a big bowl of Lucky Charms and getting even just a few blissful, uninterrupted moments with whatever game you rented the night before.
I’m sure everybody’s experience was different, but that was mine and there are no better pre-adulthood memories in my opinion. I get inspired as well, while watching shows like The Game Chasers or Game Sack where it’s not just the games, but also the accessories, hardware and toys that accompanied the games. They are just as much a part of that place in time. As strange as it sounds, this all got me thinking about the future. What will my son look back on in twenty or thirty years and say “Oh yeah! I remember these! I wonder if Dad still has my old collection of these things?” I can safely assure him, even now, that I will absolutely flippin’ still have it, especially if it’s video game related! Pack Rats…I mean Collectors Unite!
I can assure you this rant is leading somewhere… Ah yes, amiibos… When I first saw them I thought to myself “Well these are expensive and not particularly useful, but super cool!”. I put them back on the shelf and walked away confident in my financial restraint. All the hype that was going on at the time with toys-to-life games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity had me shunning amiibos from the get-go. Those games didn’t really appeal to me and I wasn’t about to buy Super Smash Bros just to be able to justify buying the accompanying amiibos.
The Wife was also pregnant so I was in hardcore conserve and survive mode. Adulting is so hard sometimes! *sarcastic,over-exaggerated sigh* But not long after, Pixel Bites Jr. graced this world with his mother’s golden blonde hair and my love of all things Nintendo. Do you see where this is going yet? Well, he was around two or so and we passed the amiibo section at Walmart. He dropped to his knees and his eyes went wide. I saw those chubby little hands slowly and gently grasp a Bowser box and then he looked at me and said “DaDaDa…..Bowbow!” Alright…That’s it…I’m out! Now we have to buy amiibos! Great!
I’m not gonna lie here. It was actually pretty great.
I still to this day don’t own a copy of Super Smash Bros for the Wii U, but by the time I started collecting there were plenty of other applications for these beautiful little statuettes.
Now, in terms of quality I would say that amiibos rank pretty high. They are all nicely constructed for the most part and very sturdily built. These little toys have withstood many an incident that would have broken anything of lesser quality. They can even withstand the affections of a small child. My coffee table still bares scars from Bowser’s spikes, but Bowser is still ship shape and ready to kidnap my Princess Peach amiibo at any given time.
Honestly, I think Nintendo took a current trend and made it better with their toys-to-life line. Most of the other brands had/have a singular, open-world game that will include developer and fan made content, both of which I find to be sub par and uninteresting. Nintendo on the other hand made games where the amiibos weren’t in any way necessary to play, but added a lot of fun extra content. A risky move for sure, but I think it was worth it. Obviously, Super Smash Bros holds the biggest usage of amiibo where you can essentially train the digital representation of your personal amiibo and have it fight other amiibos or against yourself or another player. It was a great introduction to how amiibos can enhance your gameplay. My personal favorite however, is Mario Party 10. The amiibos got their own section that worked like a board game. You scan your amiibo and that would unlock the character play piece and an accompanying board that would match the character’s personality. You can mix and match the board tiles if you like, creating a hybrid board of whatever characters are playing currently. It reminds me of the older Mario Party games, which I honestly prefer over the newer style.
A lot of the other uses for amiibos are really just to add in DLC type content. Mario Kart 8 you’ll unlock Mii character costumes. Yoshi’s Woolly World you’ll get knitted Yoshi costumes or if using one of the various Yoshi amiibo you’ll summon a second AI controlled player. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker you can unlock extra 8-bit challenges. Splatoon you get character specific missions and gear. In The Breath of the Wild various amiibos will drop crates of food, weapons and crafting items, but the coolest addition is if you use the Midna/Wolf Link amiibo. Using this amiibo will let you take along Wolf Link as a companion, which has stirred up a lot of Hyrule timeline controversy, but we’ll just leave that can of worms right here… unopened. Just back away slowly and don’t make eye contact.
Nintendo knew darn well what kinda suckers we are when it comes to collecting memorabilia, especially now that it’s not exclusive to Nintendo only titles. I’ve been after a Mega Man amiibo since they were released. Heck, I dropped $10 on a box of that flimflammin’ Mario Odyssey cereal!
One major complaint I will point out is that while Nintendo doesn’t seem to want to flood the market with figures. They also don’t seem to want to keep up with supply and demand. They certainly don’t make any money off of scalpers hawking whatever increasingly rare amiibo was recently released, so why not increase supply or restock and bank on a particular game or figure’s popularity? Because you know you got us by the cajones don’t you Nintendo? Well, that’s all part of being a collector though isn’t it? And we love it….cause we’re suckers.
I’m a big fan of amiibos and I will certainly continue to beef up my family’s collection every chance I get, but really once you boil it all down, amiibos are just small, collectable, $12+ bits of DLC. You don’t NEED them, but you know you WANT them. They look great peppered around on that shelf that holds all your Nintendo games though, right?!
So let loose my friends! Did you jump on the amiibo bandwagon straight away? At all? Shamelessly and whole heartedly? What’s your favorite in your collection?