There are alot of reasons to love Nintendo. Maybe you are like me, where the deep-seated memories of sitting in front of a tube TV the size of a mini fridge, holding a square remote, and silently praying the screen won’t black out before you can save, fill you with nostalgia and a longing for simpler times. Maybe you are a member of our newer gaming generation who came into Pokemon for the 3-DS or maybe you just had to play the Zelda everyone was talking about on the Wii. You might even be one of the fresh recruits under the Nintendo Switch regime and are wondering why the rest of us still can’t get over the classics like Super Mario World or Metroid. Whoever you are and wherever you came from, I’m here to tell you that regardless of what you may have heard, Amiibo bring so much more to the table than a simple money-grab for Nintendo, as many like to say.
WHAT THE HECK ARE THEY?
In short, Amiibo are simply NFC cards wrapped inside an aesthetic statue. As a general rule, the statue usually depicts a character or item from the game to which the NFC card inside would be applicable. A pretty creative way to sell DLC if you ask me. In addition to being both a commemorative piece to look at, as well as DLC, many of them work between multiple games. What might be worth a daily loot drop in one game, may be skins or gear in another, and may even be a trainable bot to fight in another. Much of the Amiibo resale value has historitcally been determined by games that come out after their creation.
COLLECTIBLE AND RESELLABLE
This paragraph is for the “Old-Schoolers.” If you’ve been a fan of the enterprise for the long haul, I’m willing to gamble that you have a solid grasp of the collectability of Nintendo’s merch throughout the decades. Between retired consoles, unopened games, lunchboxes, statues, action figures, and even comics, Nintendo seems to have a knack at making their stuff worth holding on to. Now, if you already have a few pieces of gaming history displayed in your basement, or maybe felt that the collecting scene was too daunting to really get into, in comes the Amiibo. Most of them usually shelf for around $12-$20 at release and have been coming out for more and more games every year. Nintendo has even done us the pleasure of producing Amiibo of some of its most beloved characters in their more classic depictions. As an example, there are at least 10 different Amiibo variations for Link ALONE! There was a while where getting a first print Super Smash Bros edition Link Amiibo in English packaging wouldn’t run you less than $80, and that’s if you could even find one. This largely had to do with the fact that he was essentially the DLC key to unlock Epona for Breath of the Wild, but we will touch on that later. If you’re perusing the gaming section of Walmart and see an Amiibo of a character from one of your current favorite games, or maybe one that ust brings back good memories, at the very least you can feel confident that it will likely only go up in value.
A recent screen shot (above) of a first print listing on a Super Smash Bros edition Link. The price has been dropping since their most recent reprint when demand skyrocketed from the Breath of the Wild release.
NOTABLE DLC USE-CASES
This is a LOADED topic, and as such, I’ll bring in a few cases of worthwhile DLC for some of the more universally played games. Going back to where it all started on the WiiU, the first round of Amiibo released were to pair along with none-other-than Super Smash Bros. At the time, just about everyone believed this was just a money grab that Nintendo deployed to try and make up for the overt failure of the WiiU console. As it turns out, the Amiibo actually makes a great training tool for the game. You would simple scan it into the game with the NFC reader in the controller, and it would become a customizable, trainable bot. And the best part? You would have to train them to level up by fighting them. They would actually learn and tune to YOUR fighting style. By the time they leveled-out to 50(max level), I’ve found they were INCREDIBLY hard to beat, because of how you’ve only trained them to work around the flaws in your own game play. In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, there is a plethora of Amiibos that get you everything from Epona, to food drops, and otherwise rare and useful weapons to help you along in that Master Mode run. Are skins your thing? Super Mario Odyssey released a few Amiibo that get new digs for the main cast, with the potential of a whole extra Life-Up Heart. Maybe you prefer a more competitive game, like Splatoon 2. There’s a handful of Amiibo that give nicely upgraded gear with special abilities to give you that extra edge.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Now as with most collectibles, there’s always the double-edged sword… “do I, or do I not, open it?” That question is only harder here because you cannot use the NFC chip without opening the package as there is a blocker placed under each Amiibo. This all comes down to why you purchased them in the first place. If you get giddy over collecting, and love that rush of searching for and finding the rare, pristine, still-packaged next addition to your memorabilia collection, you have some options. Many sellers online offer NFC card packs loaded with all applicable NFC codes for a particular game. Even Nintendo offers more cost effective card versions in the Super Smash Bros series. You may even be savvy enough to buy a bunch of blank NFC cards and scour the internet for downloads for what you need. Now, if you really just like how they look, just need a training partner for Smash, or maybe just want Epona more than ANYTHING ever offered as DLC, because you just can’t beat that nostalgia cool-aid, than you can proudly display your figure, feeling even better about knowing it added something to your favorite game, and may even have more to offer for games yet to come.