Some habits are hard to kick. They start off simple — trying something new and finding you like it. Next thing you know, you are broke, living in a Motel 8, and frantically searching eBay in hopes of scoring your next fix. For me, this bad habit has taken the form of Nintendo’s Amiibo figures. Try as I might, I can’t stop buying these useless little things.
It’s easy to understand why Amiibo are so seductive. They are exquisitely designed and wonderfully reproduced. It’s clear when you first hold one that a lot of thought went into each character’s pose and look. In a lot of ways, they are beautiful figurines, perfect for display. They are collector’s item, or at least that is what I keep telling myself. There is, no doubt, a certain amount of rationalization going on. Still, I love them with all my heart.
The truth is, Amiibo don’t really do anything. They pitch themselves as “A new way to play!” but there is really not a whole lot of “playing” going on. They unlock some basic colors and costumes or store data using NFC (near-field communication) technology to talk to your console. Amiibo certainly are not required to play any aspect of a Nintendo’s first-party games and, in all honesty, they don’t really add much to the games. Certainly not enough to justify the amount of money people – including myself – are paying for them.
When it comes to paying for them, things are getting out of control. On eBay, these little guys can easily go for fifty bucks, with some creeping into the hundreds. Let’s not even get into the guy who was so mad about the Rosalina figure he decided to rage-buy one hundred of them to get them off the market. The Amiibo black market is growing bigger by the day, with people becoming more and more intense in their hunt. I personally bought a Sonic the Hedgehog Amiibo off of a guy on Twitter because I could not find the damn thing anywhere.
What Nintendo has tapped into here is that collector’s mentality. It’s the same thought process that drives us to buy variant covers of comics, hunt down limited edition toys, and catch all the Pokemon. It’s a primal urge that drives us to feel whole. We definitely aren’t buying the Wii Fit Trainer figure because we love the character, but rather to see our set complete. There’s a need to see this thing through to the end. I can’t stop buying Amiibo. Not until I have them all.
I’d wager I’m not alone. We’re all collecting addicts, draw to something that we feel we need in our life. What do you obsess over? What fills your shelves and serves no real purpose other than to warm your heart and ease your collecting soul?