Published on November 24th, 2014 | by Chris Scott12
Why Amiibos Lack the Magic of Skylanders and Disney Infinity
I like stuff: toys, knick knacks, physical items to hold and adore. I also like cool new uses for tech. So it wasn’t a big surprise to me that I got ensnared by the recent wave of toys-to-life games, like Skylanders and Disney Infinity.
Being able to manipulate games using real world physical objects was cool. And knowing that my experience differed based on which toy I was using in the game was even cooler. This promise made me want to buy a variety (or all… we know you lack impulse control- editor) of different toys.
When you think about the success of Skylanders and Disney Infinity you realize that all both games have done is successfully deliver on-disc DLC. And they’ve done so on a massive scale, charging $13-$15 per figure, $30 for new areas. To play everything included on the disc for these games you are talking hundreds and hundreds of dollars spent on real world physical items that act as keys to the content.
For any other game I’d be part of the chorus screaming and yelling about the fact that the content is pay-walled. But, for some reason, putting a toy figure on a glowing platform and watching it “magically” appear on our televisions makes me OK with all this. It helps that the figures are mine. I can hold them or display them (Sorcerer Mickey and Dark Spyro reside on my work desk). And my figure is better (or worse) than your figure depending upon how much I played with them and the leveling choices I’ve made while playing. But what I enjoy most is that “magic” moment of making something appear in the game that wasn’t there prior.
Nintendo is looking to enter this new market for games with what it is calling Amiibo. Amiibo allow you to purchase classic Nintendo, and some non-Nintendo, characters and putting them into near field communicable devices that offer interaction with a variety of Nintendo games, past (Mario Kart 8), present (Super Smash Bros.), and future (Mario Party 10). And you would think that, as a big fan of Nintendo games and this type of gaming, I’d be jumping up and down at my chance to get my hands on all of the Amiibo toys. Except I’m not.
Unlike Skylanders and Disney Infinity, Amiibo isn’t a necessity to playing Mario Kart 8 or Super Smash Bros. Regardless of if I have a Mario Amiibo or not, I will be able to play as Mario in both those games, and I’d expect the same to be true about Mario Party 10. And this is the problem. While Nintendo is taking the most fair and balanced approach to the toys-to-life market, by not having a stand-alone title that requires Amiibo, they lack the magic of the other two titles.
Without the draw of the toys being necessary to the experience, my interest level in them has diminished exponentially. Sure, I might still buy Mario and Peach or Zelda and Link, but I don’t have a need to catch them all. Outside of having a physical trinket of my favorite characters, I don’t see the point. And if I, a self acknowledged sucker for this type of stuff, don’t see the point, does anyone else?