The world of Amiibos is familiar to only a selective few. Many people don’t know about Amiibos, or at least don’t understand the draw of them. Needless to say, I am not one of these people. I have been sucked into the world of Amiibos forcefully and willingly. These simple figurines have brought me back to my childhood, when Nintendo was my everything, when I could depend on them to create masterful and addicting games that I couldn’t wait to play.
I suppose it needs saying that I was more than a little disappointed in Nintendo after this year’s E3. I only have a Wii U, so the fact that most of the games were geared towards the 3DS was frustrating, especially since the variety of Wii U games is already so limited. But the Amiibos have helped me hold out hope for Nintendo.
For those of you who don’t know, Amiibos are a series of Nintendo character figurines that interact with multiple games on the Wii U and 3DS. They’re basically little statues with DLC’s inside. There’s a wide variety of characters, like Bowser, Mario, Sonic, Pikachu, Samus, and many, many others.
To be honest, I don’t use the Amiibos. They aren’t even taken out of the box; I love them simply for the nostalgia they offer. I have many Amiibos – 16 to be exact, with more on the way – and they are all a part of a Nintendo game I grew up playing. Many people feel the same way I do: depending on the character, Amiibos can be difficult to near impossible to get. Captain Falcon from F-Zero, for example, can’t be found anymore – at least at a reasonable price. I’ve often ended up with empty hands if I don’t grab an Amiibo within the first hour it becomes available. And those that can still be found – well, those go for double, maybe even triple the price.
So on September 11, when the 5th wave of Amiibos was scheduled to be released, I was ready. I had never gotten up early to buy an Amiibo, but I wasn’t taking chances on this wave. It had Bowser Jr., my favorite character in Super Smash Bros for Wii U. Also scheduled to be released were Ganandorf, Olimar, Zero Suit Samus, Dr. Mario, and Mario 30th Anniversary. Luckily, I lived close to a few stores that were going to have them available, including Toys R Us, where Bowser Jr. was exclusive to.
Driving by Toys R Us, I noticed there was no one in line, so I decided to take a chance and hit Target first. Target had all the others available, so I wanted to check in and see if I could grab someone. I walked in three minutes after they opened, and already there was a line of 7 people. When there were only two people in front of me, the next customer asked for two of all of them. Shocked and a little irritated, I internally groaned. I knew this was going to happen, but I hadn’t wanted to have to deal with it. Thankfully, the Target employee told him he could only have one of each. But that didn’t stop the customer – he pulled out the ad, showing the employee where it said he could buy two of each, and pushed to get them. But the employee held his ground; he told the customer he could only have one of each, and then could get in line again and buy another round if there were any left. But then he checked his stock again – he only had Dr. Mario and Olimar left. As soon as he told the rest of us, I sped out of there and headed to Toys R Us.
When I walked up to the store, I realized I had made a mistake. The only reason I didn’t see anyone in line was because they were all standing behind a wall, covered from the already-hot Arizona sun and from my searching eyes. Dread filled me as I realized I might stand in line for the next two hours for nothing, as all the Bowser Jr.’s were taken by those already in line.
As I stood waiting, I noticed how many people had Nintendo T-shirts or tattoos, as well as how many people were killing time playing their 3DS. These were true fellow Nintendo lovers, who knew how much Nintendo impacted my life simply because it impacted theirs just as much. I started talking to them, getting to know them, and realized they were just like me. We talked about Nintendo games we’ve played and loved, which Amiibo we got first, and so much more. Throughout my growing love of Amiibos, I had never met other people who understood why these simple figurines meant so much to me, why they were so important. But here, on a hot Friday morning, I found my kindred spirits.
One guy I talked to said something that really made me think: he said, “It sucks that everyone thinks we’re crazy for collecting Amiibos. If they weren’t having such a problem with stocks, no one would really look too deep into this. But the fact is that there are people coming out early to stand in line – not to collect but to resell them for double or even triple the value. It’s just not fair for the real fans.”
As I looked around at the people waiting in line with me, I realized what he was saying. Amiibos were meant to be for real fans, who have a real connection to the Nintendo universe. But that love is being exploited by others who take away the experience. Buying characters first and then reselling them for much more than they’re worth takes away from the true meaning of these figurines. These items were meant to go to true Nintendo fans, those of us who have had a long-standing devotion to the company and understand what these characters really mean. They shouldn’t be used to earn money; they aren’t a monetary investment, or a chance to take advantage of people. They’re an investment in Nintendo and our hope and dedication to them and their games. It made me wish, for the sake of all Nintendo lovers out there, that people would realize this and Amiibos would become what they were meant to be: proof of dedication, love, and a connection with Nintendo.
I walked away that day with more than Bowser Jr.; I walked away with a renewed belief in Nintendo – not because of the company, but because of their fans.