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What are Amiibo?

In June, 2014, Nintendo officially announced Amiibo would be making their way to stores everywhere.  These character-based figurines were strikingly reminiscent of both Skylanders and Disney Infinity figures that have popped up in recent years, and would additionally support saving information right on the figurines themselves.  This would allow the figures to gain experience or “level up” in games specifically designed for them.  In November, 2014, the figures went on sale and my new obsession was born.

Gotta catch ’em all!

Let me start by saying that, so far, only a few Nintendo games support the Amiibo (Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8, Hyrule Warriors, and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker), and none of them do it in an incredibly engaging way.  The signature title for these figures seems to be Super Smash Bros., where every one of them is represented in the game.  You can touch an Amiibo to the Wii U GamePad and a corresponding computer-controlled player will enter the fight.  In Mario Kart 8, they unlock special costumes otherwise unaccessible in the game.  In Hyrule Warriors, you can unlock certain weapons with them.  It’s all well and good, but what I’m addicted to is collecting the little critters and keeping them in the box!

I honestly never expected to have interest in them.  We’d tried Disney Infinity and even my kids found it extremely boring. (An awful, bland, joyless game.)  It was the first day the Amiibo went on sale that my wife and I found ourselves in a Toys R Us and, when I saw them, just…wow!  They looked beautiful in their magical little boxes and I felt compelled to collect them!

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Amiibo are beautifully packaged in color-themed plastics.  Collectors are split on whether to open them or keep them in their boxes.  Often, two of each figure will be purchased to settle the matter.

I was in love.  Unfortunately for me, I didn’t them all right away except for Kirby.  I wish I had, because a few of them have completely sold out and are now selling for 3-6x more than the $12.99 retail price!  So, if you happen to come across a Marth, it’d be a good item to buy!

Nintendo is releasing these figures in “waves.”  Wave 1 was available the first day and, currently, Wave 2 is rolling out somewhat more slowly.  Wave 3 was released over the span of many weeks. Wave 4 is coming next with characters such as Wario, Ness, and Charizard.  Several figures have been exclusive to certain stores, so if you normally don’t like going to GameStop you may have had a hard time getting Shulk unless you ordered online!

Amiibo are absolutely perfect gifts for the gamers in your life — well, so long as they play Nintendo!  The low price makes them great stocking stuffers, and the collectability will appeal to the most devoted gaming fans.  Here’s a little chart to keep track of each Amiibo’s availability in stores:

(current as of March 23rd, 2015)

Availability Ease In Finding
Mario Yes Easy
Donkey Kong Yes Easy
Pikachu Yes Easy
Yoshi Yes Easy
Peach Yes Easy
Link Yes Easy
Samus Yes Easy
Fox Yes Hard
Wii Fit Trainer No Longer Available Hard
Villager No Longer Available Hard
Marth No Longer Available Hard
Kirby Yes Easy
Zelda Yes Easy
Little Mac No Longer Available Hard
Luigi Yes Easy
Captain Falcon Yes Hard
Diddy Kong Yes Easy
Pit No Longer Available Hard
Bowser Yes Easy
Toon Link Yes Easy
Shiek Yes Easy
Lucario (Toys R Us exclusive) No Longer Available Hard
Rosalina (Target exclusive) No Longer Available Hard
Meta Knight (Best Buy exclusive) No Longer Available Hard
Shulk (GameStop exclusive) Yes Hard
King DeDeDe Yes Hard
Ike Yes Hard
Mega Man Yes Easy
Sonic Yes Easy
Gold Mario (Walmart exclusive) Yes Hard
Mario Series: Toad Yes Medium
Mario Series: Yoshi Yes Medium
Mario Series: Peach Yes Medium
Mario Series: Luigi Yes Medium
Mario Series: Bowser Yes Medium
Mario Series: Mario Yes Medium
Charizard Not Yet Available N/A
Ness Not Yet Available N/A
Pac-Man Not Yet Available N/A
Robin Not Yet Available N/A
Lucina Not Yet Available N/A
Wario Not Yet Available N/A

For some of the harder ones to find, eBay is a great option. Expect to pay more than retail price, however you can find the Japanese version of some of them for cheaper than the ones sold here!  There’s currently debate over whether Nintendo will re-release the unavailable ones. Consensus seems to be that it’s a possibility, but if you want to guarantee you’ll have them all then now is the best time to get them. Marth was announced to be one that will be coming out again, but it’s not too clear what the packaging will look like. If Nintendo were to announce that they’ve become officially discontinued, prices will skyrocket again!

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About John Blanco

John Blanco is an avid game collector and loves to write about his hobby as much as he participates in it. He run the Denver Retro Gamers Facebook group in Denver, Colorado, and coordinates swap-style meetups with dozens of other collectors every couple of months.

2 thoughts on “What are Amiibo?

  1. Amiibo’s are evil. They were designed to take our money and drive us bonkers trying to find them LOL

    Seriously though. For some reason I have not bought into the whole Amiibo hype – yet. Maybe it’s because of the whole scalping thing that is going on right now. It’s crazy to see NEW products in such high demand and at such high prices. Also, a part of me would want to keep them in the box if I did decide to collect them, which would defeat their purpose of using them in game. Unfortunately, I am not that crazy to buy a spare to open and enjoy. On the flip side, Nintendo did an awesome job with these and if anything, they are really good looking figures.

    Hopefully the hype dies a little and these will be at retail and easy to acquire. Maybe then I will make my move.

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