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Nintendo is on the verge of launching their Amiibo figurine line in sporadic bursts that are now confirmed to be lasting until at least early next year. These interactive near-field communication (NFC) statues, representing the heart of the company’s lengthy, nostalgic video game run, have a couple of abilities that are intended to interact with many Nintendo published titles down the line. The first title that is slated to take advantage of this technology, Super Smash Bros., is also saddled with the responsibility of keeping the Wii U home console afloat during this holiday season.
Amiibo figures, thanks to a wealth of Nintendo characters to choose from, will be plentiful when the first line launches with Super Smash Bros. later this month. On Nov. 21, Mario, Peach, Yoshi, Pikachu, Kirby, Marth, Donkey Kong, Samus, Fox, Link, Villager and Wii Fit Trainer will be available for the public, each compatible with Super Smash Bros. out of the box. Sometime in December, Diddy Kong, Little Mac, Zelda, Luigi, Pit and Captain Falcon will join the list in America – December 19 in Europe – bringing the total to 18 by the end of the year. In 2015, Nintendo will be adding 11 more—Sonic, Mega Man, Rosalina, Lucario, Bowser, Shiek, Toon Link, King Dedede, Meta Knight, Shulk and Ike – by February in Japan – with North America’s release presumably somewhere close to that.
Nintendo has touted Amiibo as their next technology project since this year’s E3 convention, revealing how they would interact with the Wii U gamepad and give the consumer an always available second player. These NFC figurines will work by simply touching the round base to the bottom left corner of an upright gamepad, putting that particular Amiibo on-screen for training, customization or to fight alongside the player. Every bit of fight data will then be stored back to the NFC base, creating a memory card of sorts that can be transferred from game to game or system to system. Mario Kart 8, Mario Party 10 and other games have already been confirmed to have Amiibo support on the way.
Raising their awareness of the incoming Amiibo line, Nintendo has also teamed up with Loot Crate, a company that specializes in gaming merchandise, to send a bunch of figurines to their subscribers before next year. Loot Crate is a service where a random assortment of game memorabilia is shipped to the customer’s door for a monthly fee. Nintendo has worked with them to add 10 of these figures, shipped over three crates, to the package, offering any subscriber that plus other potential gifts for a price. According to their website, entering an email address can add anyone to a wait list for the product, but there is currently no price or timing for this offer.
Nintendo, with these Amiibo figurines in place, seems ripe to make their release an event through this and into next year. All figures scheduled to release have the same price tag, $12.99, and functionality so far. Nintendo is hoping that it is their recognizable pieces that will bring Mario, Link or other properties’ fans into line for the multi-faceted figurines.
By Myles Gann