Who really cares that much about Dark Pit or Palutena? Apparently enough people to cause some parts of the internet to outright crash. I’m not going to take the easy route and just complain about Amiibo being ‘useless’ or costing too much. I understand the appeal, and you should too.
At first, the Amiibo announcement hardly fazed me, in fact I called it sadly predictable. Skylanders was the biggest thing for Activision outside Call of Duty, and Disney was (is?) still on the warpath to conquering all of popular media. The Wii U had yet to deliver on much of its promise, with only Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze keeping that post-honeymoon spark alive beyond 3DS titles (I have broken up with Nintendo on more than one occasion). I had made what I felt was the rational and adult choice, opting out almost entirely from the collectors’ scene, attempting to avoid the perils of the many late 90s mania we were all guilty of.
They were truly the darkest of days.
But then Super Smash Bros. hit the 3DS. Either I had a wondrous epiphany, or Nintendo poisoned the drinking water. Smash Bros. has and always had been the greatest celebration of Nintendo’s history, reminding me of why I love so many of these cartoonish characters and the company that created them. And with the prospect of an even grander spectacle on the horizon for Wii U, I just had to enjoy this experience one layer more with Amiibo support.
At first, all I wanted was Donkey Kong and Legend of Zelda characters.
Simple. Although, Mario is always great and will definitely have support in other games…plus you can’t have him without Luigi…and if I’m rounding out the DK and Zelda cast then I might as well do the same with Mario…oooh, I liked Fire Emblem…plus the Villager, Captain Falcon, and Wii Fit Trainer are only solo representatives of their games, and you can use them in Smash Bros too… Soon, I had the whole set without even realizing it. Nintendo, you devil in disguise, you did it again. An Amiibo was the physicalization Smash Bros., the hardcopy celebration of everything Nintendo.
Oh, he knows.
But it didn’t stop there. Then they announced Diddy Kong. When was the last time he had any real love (wow, I just read that out loud)? Rosalina came next, the only female in the Mario series that ever consistently did anything with purpose. I was in too deep. It just kept going, like a fun party with too much booze that you begin to regret ever going to. I am here to keep you from falling into the same trap.
1. You will never get your money’s worth.
Smash Bros. was the first justification many gave themselves. The idea of creating your own AI seemed interesting at the time. But if you can get some use in a couple more games down the line, even better. Will you, though? Unlike the naysayers claimed, the Wii U has picked up with time; there are plenty of games in its library. Combine that with the already extensive 3DS back catalogue, and there should be plenty to work with. I loved Tropical Freeze, but will my own personal DK add anything new?
No. Either I have to pick up a New 3DS or wait longer and fork out for an add-on. The last time they did that was for Kid Icarus: Uprising, and I don’t care about Dark Pit or Palutena.
2. The wrong people are collecting them.
Remember when I called Smash Bros. a “celebration?” I stand by that notion. We’ve got old and new, cult and mainstream. Surely this is a product for the new generation of gamers and the veterans of the original NES? As I type, Dark Pit and Palutena were sold out days ago — within 15 minutes if some reports are to be believed. It seems the old collect-a-thon mindset from the 90s has bulldozed all approachability and casual interest this product could have had.
It’s Pogs, Pokemon cards, Beanie Babies, and GoGos all over again. No, you can’t enjoy this delightful little idea; Marvin needs to line them all up in the original packaging in a room no one outside will actually see. Even I use mine in aplenty, but I also display them in a cabinet.
The key just came with the unit — I’m not that paranoid.
Oh well, at least the purchase was simple…then.
3. The simple act of buying them has become work.
It’s fun to buy new things: to browse, to think, and to finally take the plunge, followed by the joy knowing what you’ll soon get to relish. Problem is, how can anyone feel this way when your would-be little plastic figures are now the same as a newly made class-A drug on Black Friday in a once-in-a-lifetime sale on the moon? Whether Nintendo is aware of the monster they have created or not is an article in its own right. While it does appear they are following the commands of the evil magic boy from the Twilight Zone (don’t ask, just do what he wants) in its apparent unwillingness to meet the sheer demand, the customer is the one in the gladiatorial online shopping arena.
Remember when most people would either pop into their local game-centric store or just order from Amazon? Try to wrap your head around the prospect of refreshing the page of a site you literally just heard of ten seconds ago on Reddit for a character that some might have also just heard of. And imagine the peril one has when you decide to collect something that has no end game. Couldn’t you just collect them all?
4. You will never collect them all.
A gold Mario was recently put up for sale for £3300 on Amazon UK. Let me narrow that down further: that’s the same Mario Party version you can also purchase, just painted a different color — so with less detail and personality. Ironically, the original two I really wanted, Link and Donkey Kong, can still be bought at multiple shops across my dull little English community. Other beloved characters, not so much. Nintendo has already stated that “some” Amiibo may be restocked at some point. Who? When? How many?
Link and Donkey Kong combined probably aren’t the same price as just one of the others.
Future Smash DLC character Lucas is already getting his own Amiibo. How many more are coming? It really does seem like the entire Smash Bros. roster will be represented, so good luck to all of you waiting at 3am for Mr. Game & Watch. At least he’s interesting, because…
5. Seriously, who cares about Dark Pit and Palutena!?
I don’t want to piss off Kid Icarus fans by bringing these two up again. If you liked Uprising or simply enjoyed Pit’s previous Smash Bros. outings, then please, enjoy. But even you must admit they don’t deserve the swift hardcore demand they and other lesser fan favorites are receiving. I know Captain Falcon is cool, I know Xenoblade Chronicles was a great game, and yes, I too fell in love with Rosalina, but are any of their real fans genuinely making up most of the purchases? Do the collectors, or even casual fans know where the Villager is from?
I remember thinking back during the announcements that Dark Pit was an unworthy addition to the latest Smash Bros. roster, especially when so many famous characters have yet to have their moment. So why was I refreshing a store page ad nauseam for their damn figures?
At that point, I clicked off.
I do still enjoy my current lineup. It’s a colorful selection of characters, and yes, I do still want Pac Man and Lucina. But the whole process has collapsed down a sinkhole of frustration from misplaced buying intentions across the net, to the point where I doubt that the simple solution of a larger supply order from Nintendo could fix it. Instead, I see there being more collectors than before. Just ask yourself one thing: how many characters do you really care about?
Although this one does looks pretty nice…
Article by contributor Frank Stiles.