This has been an epic event: Ladies and gentlemen, with the release of Sora Kingdom Hearts, I have now collected all the Amiibo related to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate:

Everyone is here

I even lined ‘em all up for the occasion! With some of their amiibo buddies from vaguely related franchises! And if you need to see all the Splatoon, Animal Crossing, Monster Hunter, and miscellaneous Amiibo, they are over where the Amiibo used to be…

Everyone is over here

Which, incidentally, looked pretty silly when the Amiibo were moved to their new resting place…

No one is here

Anywho, given this momentous occasion happens but once in a lifetime (until Nintendo finds some new way to convince me to buy chunks of colored plastic), today’s article is going to be a haphazard look at our amigo, the Amiibo. I would like to call this…

An Oral History of Amiibo
By a Guy who may have nearly gotten moderate frostbite waiting outside a Best Buy to score a Meta Knight Amiibo
(And was by no means alone in doing so)

Do not play this game· The origin of the Amiibo brand apparently came from a pitch by Toys for Bob/Activision to get Nintendo into what would eventually be the Skylanders figures series. Toys for Bob came to Nintendo first, and Nintendo passed, because Nintendo was a proud company that very often made terrible decisions. Of course, then Skylanders and Disney Infinity made approximately infinite money by marketing their prodigious intellectual properties as interactive statues, and Nintendo saw the writing on the wall. Thus, Skylanders was already firmly established by the time Amiibo got going, and Nintendo gave Spyro the ol’ metaphorical pat on the back by allowing for a Donkey Kong/Bowser Skylanders/Amiibo crossover. And it is amazing how these two “Amiibo” seem to be much lower quality than their Smash Bros. brethren!

· Amiibo first hit the shelves on November 21, 2014, with the release of Super Smash Bros for WiiU. Note that Super Smash Bros for 3DS had been released a couple months earlier, and we had to muddle through that game without a digital Bowser buddy. Since these monsters released with Smash Bros., their first function was to create a “ghost fighter” that would level up and learn “your” moves and techniques. Unfortunately, no one ever asked for this from a Smash Bros. game, so most people forgot this was even an option.

· On a personal note, I purchased my first gaggle of Amiibo on their release day. I told myself I was only going to purchase Amiibo related to characters I “cared about” (so, like, Fox, Yoshi, Samus, maybe Link?), but that qualifier ballooned to “everybody is here” once I realized I was a complete sucker for any and all Nintendo IPs. I was at least distinctly not going to purchase Wii Fit Trainer, just to show myself I could resist a character I barely acknowledged as even existing (also, I was still mad at Wii Fit Trainer for calling my mom fat on Christmas). My defiance failed…

· But I was glad I failed! From the beginning, Amiibo had a problem with supply and demand. Turned out everyone wanted every character, and figures that were produced in limited numbers suddenly became more valuable than a chest of rupees. There was never a time that Mario or Kirby were not available on shelves, but lesser known icons like Wii Fit Trainer or Marth went missing practically immediately. Scalpers (after-market investors?) made a killing on people compelled to complete their collection by scoring a friggen’ Villager.

Go little yarn buddy· So by the release of the “second wave” a mere three weeks later, things were already getting competitive. If you did not arrive at your local toys and/or videogame store right when they started stocking the shelves, you were all but damned to never see Little Mac or Kid Icarus ever again. And how were you going to put together that Captain N diorama now!?

· And then several companies realized that demand was flipping insane, so they made things worse. By 2015, different Amiibo were available exclusively at different retailers. Rosalina and Dr. Mario were glued to Target. Amazon bogarted Palutena. Toys R Us got the Miis and Bowser Jr. Best Buy must have liked winged creatures, so they took Meta Knight, Falco, and Dark Pit. And Gamestop got the most, but practically on a technicality: they had Ness and Roy, but also a 3-pack that included R.O.B., Mr. Game & Watch, and Duck Hunt. Some stores were equipped for this (Gamestop will have a request for you to make a preorder on its tombstone), but trying to explain to a random Target employee that you were desperate to buy a galactic princess toy that could fight a mustachioed doctor was a waste of time for everyone involved.

· Nintendo noticed this madness. There were many times when a new Amiibo release would just happen to coincide with a release in the latest game or franchise. Splatoon 2 had nothing to do with Cloud, Corrin, or Bayonetta, but they certainly were all available at your local retailer on the same day (well, except the Player 2 variations that were store exclusives, natch).

· At this point in the article, it occurs to me that if Marvel vs. Capcom 2 had an Amiibo-like merchandise line when it released in 2000, I would currently be a homeless beggar.

· The Mario universe got its own Amiibo line separate from the Smash releases, seemingly distinctly tied to Mario Party/Sports promotion. And, for a minute there, it really looked like Kirby was going to follow Mario and get his own ongoing sub-series of Amiibo. But we just got Kirby and three friends in April of 2016, and then we never saw another Kirby Amiibo. This is a shame, as Kirby has so many interesting friends. Somehow, the Metroid series ultimately has more (squishy) Amiibo merchandise than Kirby.

· The Yarn Yoshi Amiibo are the coolest thing Nintendo has ever produced by a significant margin.

Everybody Conga!· What does an Amiibo actually do? Why would you fight some grandma in the Target parking lot for one? Well, past Smash Bros., Amiibo could be used to… uh… unlock a series of hats. Despite the theoretical appeal of any given Amiibo being that it has a tiny bit of memory to read and write information, most games simply used Amiibo to “read only” add cosmetic features. Mario Kart 8 had many outfits that were Amiibo-based, and Fire Emblem got into the habit of having bonuses for related Amiibo. Zelda titles similarly started distributing treasures and costume pieces for smacking the right Link on a sensor. Even a few unexpected games got into the mix, like Ace Combat, Little Nightmares, and Conga Master Party! (I’m not excited: the exclamation point is part of the title.)

· But there were a few games where Amiibo really paid off. Super Mario Maker was amazing with the ability to transform an 8-bit Mario into every character from Super Smash Bros. 4 (and Chibi-Robo, for whatever reason). Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. imported playable Fire Emblem characters into a world where they could pal around with Abe Lincoln. And, Smash Bros-related or not, the whole Splatoon trilogy has included challenges and costumes that are only accessible through Amiibo. Mind you, all of these features could have been “traditional” DLC that did not require an inaction figure. But what would be the fun in that?

· Mario Kart 8’s costume unlocks will be mentioned again because they only required tapping an Amiibo once to unlock a feature that would be saved with your game file. Really great for twelve-year-olds pooling their resources. This was also the case for Yoshi’s Woolly World, but that game was less social.

Weeeeee· The best “hats” award goes to the Amiibo functionality of Hyrule Warriors, as you could score five random weapons off different Amiibo per day. This slot machine-mechanic did not particularly enhance the gameplay, but the gambling was great for those of us that were rolling the dice on consistently being able to earn these doodads within the proper bounds of the game.

· Today’s game, Diddy Kong & Mini Mario and Friends Amiibo Challenge, is also a simple “unlock features with Amiibo” title, with each member of the game’s playable cast locked into a different Amiibo. While the game does save your progress, it does not save which Amiibo have been activated, so you have to grab ‘n tap an Amiibo every time you want to switch your mini (or even just start the game). This showcased the biggest issue with the few Amiibo-based games out there: actively “playing” with your collectible statues (that are intermittently more valuable than the game you purchased) is a hassle. Though at least it was better than Amiibo Tap: Nintendo’s Greatest Bits.

· Amiibo crossed systems in multiple ways. The WiiU was built for them (or something like them) from the beginning, but the 3DS had to get an external device for Amiibo reading. Thankfully, the later New 3DS had readability baked in. The Switch was developed with Amiibo in mind, as the Switch recycled everything profitable from the WiiU (except Xenoblade Chronicles X).

· The Animal Crossing franchise got a whole collection of adorable Amiibo. This was also related to one of the other few read/write Amiibo titles: Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival. It is a game that is worse than getting yelled at by Mr. Resetti, and we shall investigate it no further.

· We can also blame Animal Crossing for a variety of weird, wannabe Amiibo products. Those daffy animals brought us themed Amiibo trading cards. And if you thought the little statues were collectible, you better believe blind packs of Amiibo cards were even more maddening. There have been a total of 509 Animal Crossing cards, and I consider it a personal victory that I never got into that collection. Even if there was a Sanrio crossover!

GO NESS!· In addition to the Amiibo cards (which also eventually saw Mario Sports Superstars with Luigi on a horse), we also saw the Super Mario Cereal box that could double as an Amiibo. Good luck holding onto that one! Super Nintendo World also has “Power-Up Bands” that are effectively little watches (that cannot tell time) that double as Mario-themed Amiibo bracelets. Nintendo, everyone that was ever obsessed with Amiibo was already going to go to your theme park. You didn’t need to gild the piranha plant.

· Yu-Gi-Oh! also had some Amiibo trading cards in Japan. It’s time to d-d-d-d-duel between your favorite addictions.

· And speaking of Japan, there were a few regional exclusive Amiibo in there, too. Qbby of Boxboy never made it across the (Pacific) pond, and the 2016 Monster Hunter Stories Amiibo series stayed in Japan, too. Later Monster Hunter Stories and Monster Hunter Rise Amiibo made it around the world. This is good, as these critters look monstrously cool.

· The Mega Man Amiibo that was proportioned to match Mega Man 11 was not released outside America and Japan. Sorry, little metal boy.

· Only English-speaking regions ever got Diablo’s Loot Goblin, though. Solaire of Astora from Dark Souls made it to every region. Unrelatedly: these are the only two Amiibo that did not interest me.

· Princess Zelda is currently the only character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that does not have an Amiibo that distinctly matches any of her current appearances/alts. To elaborate: the Zelda Smash Amiibo is based on Twilight Princess, which was her appearance in Smash Fo(u)r. The Zelda that appears in Ultimate is based on a more “cartoony” Zelda, likely one from A Link to the Past or A Link Between Worlds. She is a new character in the same way that Link is new with his Breath of the Wild incarnation, but Breath of the Wild Link has plenty of Amiibo to his name. We have a matching Breath of the Wild Zelda, Tears of the Kingdom Zelda, and even a Toon/Wind Waker Zelda. Ultimate/”A Link” Zelda, though, is sadly forgotten.

BOUNCE!· Given OCD and limited-availability “Mythical Pokémon” are baked-in to the Pokémon franchise, you would expect more unique Pokémon Amiibo. But we only ever got (giant) Detective Pikachu and a Shadow Mewtwo trading card. Pokémon Company, my wallet thanks your restraint.

· The auxiliary Shovel Knight Amiibo (King Knight, Plague Knight, and Specter Knight) were announced in September of 2017, and released December 2019. That was a long ass time to hold on to a Best Buy preorder (for shovelry).

· Speaking of which, by about the time Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was being released, any future waves of Amiibo had settled into a comfortable rhythm of “watch retailer sites, and then preorder immediately”. It took a few years, but everyone involved finally realized that Amiibo were sought after tchotchkes, and you no longer had to wrestle with the soul-crushing shame of asking a Best Buy employee if they maybe had more King Dededes in the back. Of course, staying on top of these preorders required staying online almost constantly… but that was a sacrifice I was willing to make.

· And through all of this, what did we learn from the humble Amiibo? Well, despite big promises at their launch, apparently a carefully curated software company like Nintendo could not figure out a way to maintain a device that allowed you to properly migrate “bonuses” from one game to another. There are approximately seventy Link Amiibo, but does a single one let you take “your” Link from one game to another? Hell no. Best you can get is a new pair of tights. So don’t ever believe the malarky about NFTs offering a flake of that serviceability. If Nintendo could not do it with franchises that have been consistent over decades, some bored ape is not going to pull it off.

· And what did I learn about myself through the Amiibo years? I am a sucker for damn near anything Nintendo will release. Here is the final Super Smash Bros Amiibo being held by a Power Glove.

Sora is here

· Amiibo are so rad.

SBC #29 Diddy Kong & Mini Mario and Friends Amiibo Challenge

Diddy Kong in Super Smash Bros Ultimate


  • He any Good? Diddy Kong is annoying (for his opponents). The peanut pop gun and banana toss both seem to exist exclusively to drive a rival crazy, and that is a significant boon in a game where gradual percentage accumulation can win the day. Past that, he is fast and furious (nobody wants a monkey grabbing their face), and is arguably one of the best fighters available when you put it all together. I have no idea what that all has to do with being the perennial player 2 of Donkey Kong Country, but it works here.
  • That final smash work? Hyper Rockbarrel has become uncontrollable, but it does seem to hit everybody. That targeted explosion at the end also works for generating some tense, you’re-gonna-die moments. And, hey, always nice to be reminded of that one Gamecube game nobody played.
  • The background work? Kongo Falls is what would happen if the traditional Battlefield got a little stretched and skewed. Oh! And they added a rock for camping. Avoid the traditional Donkey Kong rotating barrel (it will kill you), and enjoy the beauty of nature as you listen to the DK Rap.
  • Classic Mode: Hey, Little Buddy! Diddy temps with Nintendo protagonists to kick some villain tail. He eventually reclaims his place at Donkey Kong’s side, and banishes K. Rool before taking out a pair of malevolent (?) hands.
  • First Appearance: Either my Wii-mote is getting old, or steering the ol’ rocket triple jump was impossible back in Brawl. Either way, Diddy is a little less agile at his premiere, but that may also be a side effect of Brawl’s age (but not the controller this time). Trip your pals in the game where random tripping was a thing, and control Diddy’s final smash to be the most destructive simian out there.
  • Smash Trivia: Diddy Kong gets different fur color and skin tone with his different costume choices. And the stock icon changes colors to match his clothes, but not his fur/skin. Is the stock icon racist against chimps? These are questions worth asking.
  • Dancin' Monkey

  • Amiibo Corner: We have Link’s unfortunate yellow translucent pillar happening again, but Diddy’s Smash Amiibo is otherwise very fun. And he’s a funny monkey! It works! The action pose of leaping is cool, and he is very friend shaped. Mario-Diddy is hanging on a barrel and clapping along, which kind of makes him look like some capriciously active pet at a bar. Pretty sure that is not what Nintendo was going for…
  • Does Smash Bros Remember Today’s Game? Even though the Mario & Donkey Kong franchise is directly tied to the OG Donkey Kong universe, Mario & Donkey Kong hijinks are not represented in Smash Bros. in a significant fashion. Amiibo-based Mario & Donkey Kong games even less so.

Diddy Kong in Mini Mario and Friends Amiibo Challenge

  • It is a nice title screenSystem: WiiU & Nintendo 3DS… and it isn’t even available for that anymore. The ol’ eshop is closed, and Mini Mario and Friends Amiibo Challenge was only available digitally. Sorry!
  • Number of players: Amiibo had a tendency to lend themselves to multiplayer titles, but this one is single player.
  • Maybe actually talk about the game for a second: This is essentially a Mario vs. Donkey Kong game, but plays much more like Lemmings. It is your job to guide a mini to the goal through manipulating blocks, pipes, and platforms. This happened more than a few times with March of the Minis-branded titles, and it is great for anyone that wants a Mario game where you cannot play as Mario at all. So we have a major emphasis on the “puzzle” part of puzzle-platformer here, and if triumphing over Mario-themed obstacles is your interest, you should get a solid half hour of enjoyment from this one.
  • Buy all our playsets and toys: This was a free title, technically, but the game literally will not start without sensing an Amiibo. So, technically, this game is at least thirteen bucks (2016 value). If you are curious about the Amiibo involved, technically every playable character will work with a Mario-Smash themed Amiibo, save Toad, who originates exclusively from the Mario lineup. For an additional bit of trivia, Bowser Jr. inexplicably never appeared as part of the Mario line, so you need a Smash one there. Everyone else involved has multiple versions.
  • Egg dayFavorite Character: Each of the minis have one unique ability that is usually just a key to unlock a particular door (to obtain a collectible). Mario has a wall jump, Luigi has a high jump, Peach has a float jump… you get the idea. Mini Yoshi, meanwhile, can eat every last monster in his way. And his specific levels include Yoshi’s Island-style egg tossing. So the dinosaur is a clear winner this time.
  • Original the Character: You must have an Amiibo to start this game, but if you do not have an official Mario Amiibo, you can use any Amiibo to activate Mini Spek, a Box Boy knockoff that has no special abilities or skills. He is a consolation prize of a character, and was never seen again.
  • Greatest omission: Despite having a Mario-based Amiibo at the time, Princess Daisy is not playable. Rosalina is available, though. This is why Daisy fans had a chip on their shoulder by Super Mario Bros. Wonder.
  • A Whole New World: Each of the character-specific stages are based on different games from Mario’s history. Arguably, this is the prime reason to play the game, as traveling through a “mini” approximation of Mario 64 or Donkey Kong Country Returns is worth the price of admission. Wait. The price of admission for each of these unique levels is exactly one Amiibo. Are these references worth $130?
  • Did you know? You cannot swap Amiibo/characters during a stage, so if a level has multiple collectibles that must be collected by different characters (and most do), you simply have to beat the course again with the other character. And the individual challenges in this game absolutely do not merit replaying levels over and over again. Couple this with the alternate exits that are character-specific, and you can see how this one gets tedious quickly.
  • Would I play again: Nope! I will always have my Amiibo to cherish and hold, but this Amiibo-themed game is not worth a single Luigi statue.

What’s next? All that talk of the Zelda Amiibo got me thinking about that princess, so let’s see what happens when she goes on her own adventure. Please look forward to it!

Move along, kid
This feels like it was designed for the 3DS for some reason…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.