-by Dylan DiBona
On June 10th 2014, the world was introduced to amiibo by Nintendo. Amiibo (stylized with a lowercase “a” and no “s” in the plural) were not only Nintendo’s response to the massive success of Skylanders, but a full fledged successor to their NFC figurine game Pokémon Rumble U. Many like me called the concept unnecessary and annoying; “Now I need to buy a figurine to get the most out of my games?” It seemed like nonsense and a stupid disguise for DLC. It’s been three years later and more than once I’ve brought home an amiibo. The real question is, was I originally right?
*Side Note: All pictures are from my personal amiibo collection*
Let’s get the truth out of the way first, amiibos are physical DLC. Around half a year ago I got the itch to buff up my geek collection and buy some figurines, only problem is that I’m not the type of guy to spend $100 or more on plastic, I’d rather buy more games. Is physical DLC really such a negative thing? Not only do we get more to our games, we get a trinket to display. Many console gamers are against digital games and only buy physical, so isn’t it nice that we get the same choice for DLC? Despite their size, amiibos are nothing to scoff at from a design point of view.
Level of Detail:
The first amiibo I decided to pick up was a Yarn Yoshi, not even because of the in-game goodies, but because of it’s look. It’s cute and small, and most importantly the yarn aesthetic is perfect. But perhaps this isn’t the best amiibo to show you when bringing up design and detail.
Since the first entry on NES, the Metroid co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto stated that Samus had a beauty mark on her chin. Due to lack of proper technology and camera perspective (Prime), Other M was the first Metroid game to display Samus’ face correctly. Well guess what? Even on a three-inch figure they got that very same detail down.
Note other details like the design of her gun and lines on her suit. Nintendo didn’t cheap out when it came to amiibos. Their characters may be somewhat cartoony but that didn’t effect how their figures look. If that isn’t enough proof of attention, check out another detail on my most recent amiibo. I was playing Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia and realized that the co-protagonist Celica was wearing earrings.
Well guess what? Just because she has long hair almost covering her face doesn’t mean her earrings aren’t there!
Okay so the figures themselves are ideal appearance-wise, but like I said before, amiibo are DLC; are they good DLC?
When I picked up The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, it came with a Wolf Link amiibo. Tapping this NFC-figure onto the gamepad would allow Link to transform into his wolf form quicker and easier than ever. Not only that but you unlock the Cave of Shadows, a fun little side trial full of enemies. Other Zelda figurines give you things like arrows, hearts or even make Link take more damage, so other than the Cave of Shadows most amiibo unlock harmless stuff.
Now Breath of the Wild is a little bit harder to defend because scanning any Zelda amiibo can unlock you exclusive costumes. Whenever costumes are DLC you hear the age old complaint “I remember when I could unlock costumes!”, which is true and I can’t really dispute that.
The truth is that amiibo don’t unlock massive chunks of DLC, they merely assist the player and give them very optional but enjoyable goodies. Let’s face it, have you heard of any controversy about amiibo-exclusive content? No. Nintendo games are like fully loaded nachos and buying an amiibo is like asking for extra jalapenos, it adds to the flavor but if you didn’t have them it doesn’t ruin anything.
I’ve come to three conclusions after writing this article:
- Amiibo are harmless, they don’t take anything away from non-buyers.
- Amiibo are truly for Nintendo fans.
- I was wrong at the beginning of this post, they aren’t physical-DLC; they are figures that come along with some virtual bonuses.
While I don’t justify Nintendo’s extremely low supply of amiibo, or their endless variations of certain characters (how many Link’s do we have by now? 10?), I have to say that their line of figures is definitely justified.
I love being able to stack the little guys and gals onto my shelf and think “I have a nice collection!”. They’re also a great way to get fun costumes and maybe even a few more hours out of your game. So I may not have the full on amiibo-fever and buy every single one like some people I know, I am indeed in love with amiibo.
Anybody here disagree with my thoughts on amiibo? Which figure is your favorite? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply! As always, thanks for reading.