Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Amiibo... The Destroyer of Worlds!

What are amiibo? Why do they exist? Why are people sending themselves bankrupt to buy the rarest ones from scalpers on eBay and other auction websites? These are the questions normal people are asking about the new generation of Beanie Babies and we all have fallen under the amiibo spell.

Amiibo for the uneducated, are plastic statues with a microchip installed into it's base. These microchips communicate with Nintendo Wii U and 3DS via NFC(Near Field Communication). It uses a similar technology to your Pay 'n' Wave/Pay Pass cards you use at the check out. Each amiibo has unique data written to it that reflect the character on it and work with selected games, most famously Super Smash Bros for Wii U/3DS.

Nintendo obviously created amiibo as a reaction to the Skylanders and Disney Infinity craze that has taken over the wallets of parents everywhere over the past few years. These toys unlike Skylanders and Disney Infinity have been released in short supply and in some countries cases... made exclusive to specific stores. This has caused a gold rush to occur where people are buying them up in bulk and selling them at extreme mark ups on internet auction websites. These scumbags have been profiteering from Nintendo's stupidity and making thousands reselling the rarest of amiibo at 500+% mark ups and even selling the common ones at double the retail price.

The main reason amiibo are huge at the moment from my perspective seems to be aging Nintendo diehards obsession with needing official Nintendo collectibles and kid's love of toys and technology. Yeah, that's why the rarest are selling so high on eBay. Scalpers on eBay are making the most of Nintendo diehards need to have all the amiibo(because we just need the whole set damn it!)  and some of us are so desperate to complete the set... we're willing to pay anything for it.

Worst of all is that most people buying amiibo... aren't buying amiibo for it's functionality, but because they are Nintendo officially licensed merchandise. Admittedly I've only opened 50% of my amiibo myself. I... I just can't find the use of most of them worth while at the moment and will open them as the use becomes worth while. See, collectors have this crazy mental condition where they usually buy things and never open them from the package to preserve the artifact to prevent it's degradation. Some will even buy 2 of each thing so the can also have a display/use set that they will open up and a set to gather dust in a storage locker or cupboard.

Amiibo are an interesting idea in theory, but what they are used for is kinda... terrible. See, amiibo don't really work like Skylanders or Disney Infinity toys... they work much differently. In Super Smash Bros they allow you to "train" a computer A.I character, Mario Party 10 uses them to unlock new boards and play as the figure used... and constantly rescan them, Splatoon uses them to unlock challenges, Mario Kart 8 uses them to unlock costumes. You get the picture yet? Amiibo are in essence... physical downloadable content! Now this isn't bad in theory, what's bad is that Nintendo just isn't manufacturing enough to fill demand, let alone enough to fill store shelves for the uninformed to blind buy. I admit that Nintendo is starting to produce more, but for a good number of us... the damage is already done!

So there you go. Amiibo are the new big thing and will probably be so for quite some time. DLC packed toys with lots of ugly practices shadowing them. They look good, they add extra content to Nintendo games and they are financing a community of scumbags retirement. Are amiibo worth the hassle? I... just don't know. I haven't gotten much use out of them but they are cool to look at. Look... if your kid wants one, buy it. Simple.

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