It\’s a whole lot more than a Skylander\’s clone!

During Nintendo\’s E3 Digital Event they revealed a whole ton of new details and games including updates from Super Smash Bros, Xenoblade Chronicles X & Hyrule Warriors as well as the first looks at Splatoon and The Legend of Zelda for Wii U. One of the event\’s first announcements however has been somewhat over shadowed, and now that the dust has settled it\’s time to have a closer look at how Nintendo plan to change the future of video games forever. Originally announced during Nintendo\’s last financial briefing at the start of May this year. Nintendo shared first details about how they were planning the Nintendo Figurine Platform, or NFP to work in unison with not just one, but several video games in development for both the Wii U & Nintendo 3DS. Although they refrained for sharing full details on how this would work, they did reveal that Nintendo\’s catalog of cherished characters would be realized into collectible NFC-enabled figurines, which would interact with software through the Wii U\’s NFC reader and a separate NFC adapter for the Nintendo 3DS. A pledge was made to launch this exciting endeavor before the end of the year for the Wii U, and with the 3DS compatibility following in early 2015. \"amiibo_img02_E3\" As the Super Smash Bros segment of the Digital Event played, viewers watched on as Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata battled with Nintendo of America COO Reggie Fils-Aime. Within moments it looked as if Reggie had truly kicked his bosses\’ ass, and taken his name to boot! As Fils-Aime celebrated the premature triumph in his oafish manner, Iwata pulled a Mario figurine from his jacket pocket and placed it against the Wii U GamePad\’s NFC reader. A Mario \”Figurine Player\” appeared on screen joining the skirmish, and taking revenge for his human\’s trouncing previously. It was with this moment that gamers around the world realized just what Nintendo had in store for them with the NFP project. Next on the agenda, once the Super Smash Bros segment had concluded, Fils-Aime returned to discuss the NFP project in full. Brandishing the same Mario figurine in his hand that Iwata used previously, he went on to explain that he would only be defeated by \”using a little magic\”. The magic in question is a line of products, exclusive to Nintendo platforms, still in development known as Amiibo which is set to innovate in the Toys-to-Life genre.

What is an Amiibo? An Amiibo is a figurine based on one of Nintendo\’s rich character library with an embedded Near-Field Communication (NFC) chip, compatible with every Wii U system. All players have to do is touch their Amiibo to the NFC reader on the Wii U GamePad controller and that character will spring to life in a whole range of compatible software. The NFC functionality not only uploads unique character information to games, but allows additional data to be uploaded back to the figurine. This means that everyone\’s own collection of Amiibo will be entirely unique to them as they evolve, featuring their own play style and experience.

The first game to launch and be compatible will be Super Smash Bros For Wii U, which is scheduled to launch this holiday season. Specific functionality for this game includes the ability to play as your Amiibo or take them on it battle yourself. Player\’s can pit multiple Amiibo against each other for grinding or if they need the support create teams and enlist the help of your Amiibo in battle, as seen with Iwata\’s victory in the Digital Event. Nintendo has already announced that several games will work with Amiibo, one of which we are already playing around the world. Mario Kart 8 will receive a patch towards the end of the year to allow compatibility to add racing data. Other games announced that will work with the NFP include Captain Toad Treasure Tracker due to launch towards the end of 2014, Yoshi\’s Woolly World and Mario Party 10 which are both due in 2015. As you\’d expect, with a library so large there are endless possibilities with which Amiibo Nintendo could release. For launch it is expected that the current line-up will include those displayed at E3, namely Mario (with fireball), Link (adult), Samus, Donkey Kong, Pikachu, Yoshi, Kirby, Villager & Wii Fit Trainer (female). Nintendo have yet to announce if there are plans to release Amiibo based on third-party characters such as those appearing in Super Smash Bros; Mega Man, Sonic, PAC-MAN but there are definitely plenty more characters on the way. As opposed to other franchises in the Toys-to-Life genre, Amiibo promises to genuinely make a unique difference to game play. Nintendo\’s figurines aren\’t simply used to add a new colorful character to the mix, as they\’re compatible with a whole trove of Nintendo\’s own software spread across numerous genres. Unlike rivals, these figures become personal; they are filled with your experience, your history, your style. They can be taken to friends houses so they can continue to evolve with you. You can play as them, with them or even against them. No matter which title you play, they will be there with you, competing, racing, fighting you name it. Amiibo is set to change the way we play not only Nintendo games but the way we play with each other. Amiibo is scheduled to launch alongside Super Smash Bros For Wii U this holiday season with a Nintendo 3DS peripheral to allow compatibility following in 2015. Stay tuned for further announcements regarding Amiibo as the launch approaches.

Written by Andy W.

Andy W.

I’m the Developer Liaison at Nintendo Enthusiast, and when I’m not working my butt off at the toy store I manage, I’m talking with developers from around the world, promoting crowd-funding campaigns, conducting interviews and also offering advice and support to developers looking to bring their games to Wii U & 3DS.

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