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Thursday, January 15, 2015

amiibo Attacks on Canon

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - These figures are everywhere except stores, apparently.

Yesterday's Nintendo Direct was absolutely littered with amiibo. Let's recap:
  1. Kirby & The Rainbow Curse functionality with Kirby, Meta Knight, and King Dedede. Change Kirby's abilities in-game and make him look different.
  2. Eleven new amiibo (Wave 3 of Super Smash Bros.) hitting store shelves in February. King Dedede, Rosalina & Luma, King Bowser, Sonic, Mega Man, Toon Link, Sheik, Ike, Shulk, Lucario, and Meta Knight.
  3. Wave 4 Super Smash Bros. amiibo announced... six! Robin, Lucina, Pac-Man, Wario, Ness, and Charizard. These are for a nebulous "Spring". (Apparently, Wario and Pac-Man are in May, while the others are for March.)
  4. Super Mario Bros. series amiibo for March 20. These are Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, Yoshi, and Toad. These have a red base and are interchangeable, gameplay-wise, with their respective Super Smash Bros. counterparts. They have different art. Toad is exclusive to this series.
  5. Mario Party 10 has a special amiibo mode with compatible (read-write) amiibo being Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, Yoshi, Toad, Wario, Donkey Kong, and Rosalina & Luma. This Party mode has your amiibo jump around the board and do stuff, and there are different boards depending on what amiibo you use. You can use any other amiibo for some random bonuses, too. Mario Party 10 is packaged with a Mario amiibo from the Super Mario Bros. series.
  6. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is receiving a patch to allow use of the Toad amiibo. There is a pixel Toad hidden in levels after usage.
  7. Code Name S.T.E.A.M. uses the Fire Emblem character amiibo in-game: Marth, Ike, Lucina, and Robin. They join your roster and fight with you.
  8. More Marth amiibo are coming "later this year" in America.
  9. ACE COMBAT ASSAULT HORIZON LEGACY + from Bandai Namco has amiibo-unlockable aircraft skins. Shown were Mario, Bowser, Fox, and Link.
It turns out that the real theme of the Direct was pretty much "We are expanding amiibo even more, and it's definitely worth getting a New 3DS, which has built-in NFC."

Well, with around 2.6 million amiibo sold since they were launched in November, this is a Nintendo-success story. We personally failed in trying to find these things in stores, but it's good to know that the shortages are because they're actually selling a lot, not because Nintendo is just trying to make these look more popular than they really are.

Which brings me to the real concern in the article title: Nintendo is finding any excuse they can to make people feel like amiibo are more than house decoration. So they appear in totally non-canon situations such as:

Bowser airplane skin in ACE COMBAT ASSAULT HORIZON LEGACY +
King Dad is really cool, but does this make wotever place ACE COMBAT is in canon to the Mushroom Kingdom?
Fire Emblem amiibo prompt in Code Name S.T.E.A.M.
Just because Intelligent Systems is behind both, doesn't make this acceptable.
If we have situations like the above, then amiibo really are out to delegitimise attempts at keeping canon in the name of sales of an unrelated product. Sort of like how Nintendo is trying to get pre-orders of Code Name S.T.E.A.M. (specifically at GameStop? ...Shulk, are you behind this?) by offering a Majora's Mask pin.

Pre-order Code Name S.T.E.A.M. at GameStop for a Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask pin. How does this make sense?
Nintendo: Breaking canon and logic all in 46 minutes.
The problem with breaking canon is that you end up with bad things like this:

Ike amiibo in Code Name S.T.E.A.M. he looks scrawny
Twig arms (and what's with his head?). For more on what Ike is supposed to look like, see "Ike, The Radiant Hero".
That actually looks like Sword-Arm Ike if his sword and arm were different. Look how SCRAWNY he is! I don't care if that apparently is the art style of Code Name S.T.E.A.M.: Ike should not be so misrepresented. (And if it were up to me, "The Latest In The Fire Emblem Series" would be a console game.)

Can't Nintendo find better ways to use amiibo than ruin our mental images of characters AND ruin the canon? And aren't amiibo just a better form of DLC? Except instead of paying for downloadable stuff, you're paying for a physical figurine that gives you on-disc content. Again, that's better in the long-run, but with all this talk of free-to-play, it makes me wonder:

Is Nintendo going to make a free-to-play game where you progress after an early point only by buying (specific) amiibo and using them? I could see that being hailed as quite innovative, and hey, if whatever gameplay it has is REALLY compelling, then that alone could sell a lot of amiibo.

If that won't happen, then I could also see amiibo being used for StreetPass Mii Plaza games in some way. And this will all be so annoying as a consumer, but at least it'd make sense, both business-wise and canon-wise.

Maybe I'd be more positive about this situation if I could actually find the amiibo I want in stores. And if Nintendo gave specific launch dates on their site.


Ludwig actually owns a Little Mac amiibo via a generous gift, and also is the operator of a Link and Zelda amiibo that he doesn't actually own. They are primarily used for decoration and he is satisfied with that. Next, he wants an amiibo of his father.


22 comments :

  1. I still feel no need to get any amiibo. Which... might be a good thing. I think amiibo will become dangerous when you can't properly enjoy a game without them. Right now they feel like inconsequential DLC, so I view them like any DLC--once I see content I want and consider worth the price, I'll get one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pft you just hate Nintendo characters and Mega Man.

      ...No sane person should want a damn Pac-Man amiibo. (Or Sonic, screw him too.)

      I don't want amiibo for gameplay purposes, I want them to sit and look pretty.

      Which is why when I read that Nintendo is looking into replacing amiibo with NFC "cards" (e-reader 2.0?) I thought it was a disaster but forgot about it until I made this comment so I'll have to write an article in a bit.
      Maybe February, so it's not too many bad-stuff-relating-to-amiibo all at once.

      Delete
    2. When is Capcom going to get in on this and make some Ace Attorney amiibo? I'll buy them all! XD
      Or Professor Layton...
      Picture it, the next Professor Layton game comes out, and you can use amiibo with the New 3DS to get bonus puzzles! o_o

      Delete
    3. ........oorrrrrrr we could just get this bonus puzzles as part of the game's package.
      ...right? Right?

      I mean, they sent a puzzle of the day to you every day for free, right? Now that's replaced with amiibo?

      Delete
    4. Oh, yes yes yes, don't misunderstand me, I meant IN ADDITION to those wonderful daily puzzles.

      So you'd have:
      150+ game puzzles
      365 daily puzzles
      New bonus amiibo puzzles!

      Or maybe it could be something other than puzzles, like extra mini-game stages!

      Delete
    5. Layton has non-puzzle minigames? :o

      Delete
    6. Well, they're still puzzle-like, but not in the standard Layton puzzle fashion. For example, Diabolical Box has a mini-game where you have to make the proper kinds of tea requested by people around town. One (Azran Legacy?) had a mini-game where you plant flowers with specific properties to cover the entire garden. So they're all still puzzle-based (with the exception of AL's scavenger hunt, which integrated StreetPass), but they're separate from the puzzles. No picarats, no hint coins... but if you complete all the stages in the mini-game, you're rewarded (with puzzles, of course).

      Delete
    7. Actually, forget the scavenger hunt, Last Specter stands out for having a "mini-game" that was a life-sim RPG you could pour more hours into than the main game if you really got into it. XD (Level-5 basically tested the Fantasy Life formula with Layton's London Life.)

      Delete
    8. So if you complete all the stages in the mini-games you want to be unlockable via amiibo usage, you get more puzzles?

      ...So both the mini-games AND puzzles would be locked via amiibo? Hm.

      L-London Life?!
      ...wot's dat
      ...And maybe amiibo could be used for THAT London Life thing.

      Delete
    9. Hmm, maybe. o_o I hadn't thought about whether the bonus amiibo stages would also unlock new puzzles. XD

      Layton's London Life is a life-sim/RPG included with Professor Layton and the Last Specter (except in Europe for some reason). It was advertised as having 100+ hours of gameplay, which is an exaggeration, but I'm sure it's possible if you really, really loved it. XD

      Delete
    10. I-I hope you haven't put too much thought into this idea. <.<;

      Well, maybe the idea is that you can live your own London Life in Europe anyway without it needing to be simulated! ...yup.

      Delete
    11. Not really. I was just trying to think of amiibos I'd want. XD

      Yeah, I think that's what people joked about. XD

      Delete
    12. I still think you should like Nintendo characters. >.>;

      Glad I caught on.

      Delete
  2. Do you know anything about the Wii Fit Trainer amiibo? It got discontinued in the U.S. or maybe in just Arkansas. Just wondering?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nooooooo.
      Now I'll never get to be tortured by Wii Fit Trainer until I move out-of-state.
      I'm so happy.

      Delete
    2. You can't find it in any other state, either.

      The reason Marth is getting re-continued is because he's available for Code Name S.T.E.A.M.
      So you'd think Wii Fit Trainer would need to be in another game, but Wii Fit U is already out and if they wanted to patch it for amiibo support, they'd do it already.

      I feel like they'll never do that patch because amiibo are for extracting more revenue out of Nintendo's existing core fanbase. Wii Fit U is not for the core fanbase, it's that weird attempt to try to get Wii owners to get a Wii U that didn't really work out.

      What would Wii Fit Trainer do besides stand there on the living room shelf and ominously remind moms to play Wii Fit U every day? It's not really the type of game designed for specific DLC that you'd want to hide from people...

      Delete
    3. I would get the Wii Fit Trainer amiibo so I could train her how to fight in Smash Bros. So in this case, the trainer becomes the trainee. lol

      Delete
    4. King Dedede would be a great power fantasy too.

      Delete

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