Home > > Amiibo: We Don’t Need Them, We Can’t Find Them, and We Can’t Afford Them
Amiibo: We Don’t Need Them, We Can’t Find Them, and We Can’t Afford Them
The screen on your phone lights up your face displaying the time; 10:00am. The doors to Toys”R”Us open, and they explain that everything will be done in an orderly fashion. You are allowed to grab one of each amiibo per customer. You wait in line, peering over the shoulders of the people in front of you to ensure the amiibo you are after are still on the table, and you didn’t waste your Friday morning. Slowly, but surely, you approach the table. Five people can go at a time they say. Suddenly, it’s your turn, and you get to go to the table to snatch your precious collectible figure. I personally know of one person who had to experience this traumatic event. Me. Typically, I have a love/hate relationship with everything Nintendo does, and this is no exception. While I love that I can collect these little figures and display them, I hate everything else about them.
For starters, they don’t really add as much to any game as Nintendo might claim they do. In Super Smash Brothers for example, all they can do is function as superior computer players that you can customize. If you really wanted tough competition like this, you could easily just go online. On top of that, you may only be limited to fighting super tough Mario amiibos. Who even plays as Mario in competitive events? In Hyrule Warriors, the two different Link amiibos give you extra weapons that you didn’t really need to complete the game. It’s essentially DLC for $12.99, with a neat figure to look at in your spare time. Everything that can be done with an amiibo is already in the game. It’s locked content that you can’t access without this little toy. Nintendo essentially wants you to pay $12.99 to unlock it.
The good news is, is that one amiibo can still work with every game that is compatible with it, as long as you buy those games. If you have 5 amiibo compatible games, this means you paid about $2.60 for the DLC per game. I have no issue with spending money on DLC, but the majority of it adds nothing to the gameplay. In Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, you earn tokens each day that you connect your Shulk amiibo via NFC to the game, which can then be used to collect little in game goodies. It’s nice if you already had the Shulk amiibo, but otherwise pointless.
I’ve hinted at the fact that amiibo are nice collector’s items if you can find them. Yes, the phrase, “While Supplies Last,” will haunt me for ages. There are too many amiibo figures that I wanted that I never purchased or preordered in time, and now likely never will be able to purchase them. If you wanted a Lucina amiibo, you had a very small window to preorder one. If you missed that, now you have to pay around $50 for one.
Recently, the preorders for wave 5 went up only about two weeks before release, and even then, some sellers, such as Amazon, didn’t open up for preorders, but opted to instead open up direct sales for the amiibo one at a time late in the day of the launch day Friday. This was actually really convenient for those who had to work in the morning and may have missed the launch and the preorders. Before going to Toys”R”Us, I actually went to Target and Walmart which had opened an hour before, and every wave 5 amiibo was sold out. The quantity demanded far exceeds the quantity supplied. These amiibo are not supposed to be special limited edition collector’s figures, they’re supposed to be figurines that add decent gameplay features.
Furthermore, most of the quantity supplied winds up in the hands of scalpers. For those unfamiliar, a scalper is someone who will buy something of limited stock with the sole intent of reselling if for a higher price. I do have experience on both ends of scalping. Yes, people of the internet, I have scalped before, and I likely will again if the circumstances are right. Sadly, amiibo are not fully controlled to avoid scalping to the high degree that they are being scalped.
Early on in the life of amiibo, there would be people who would order hundreds of the same amiibo at a time for one purpose: to resell them at a higher price by controlling the amount that came into the hands of the normal people. I have never scalped like that, but only in passing in stores after everyone else already had a chance to preorder or buy what they wanted if they desperately wanted it. There is no way to control scalpers, and they will continue to charge sometimes obscene amounts for these little figures, that again, do not add much to the gameplay. Nintendo has done their best in recent launches to control scalpers, as have retailers, however Nintendo has not worked to restock the amiibo that are high in demand but low in supply; it’s as if they enjoy the scalping and the competition to purchase them.
Flash back to E3 2014; Nintendo was announcing these little figurines of their game characters. “Amiibo,” they were called. What a cheesy name, but Nintendo made us want them, rather, need them by showing the intro to Super Smash Brothers Melee. They were supposed to be these great little things to show and display and use in conjunction with various games to enhance the gameplay. What did we get in the end? Deformed figurines that add almost nothing to the gameplay, can’t be found in stores, and can’t be afforded online once you miss their initial run. You can’t help but hate them. With that said, if you need me, I’ll be waiting outside Toys”R”Us for the Yarn Yoshi amiibo.