I’m not a fan of the Amiibos/Skylanders/etc. thing. Then again, I’ve never been a fan of Pokemon either. But there is something very interesting about Amiibos.
They remind me of game cartridges.
What was a game cartridge? They were little chip boards containing software and hardware wrapped with a very appealing aesthetics (the cover art). You would place the cartridge in and play off it. You could trade cartridges and all. Cartridges are so much fun to collect.
Could Amiibos become a type of futuristic game cartridge? There are already little chips inside those Amiibos. Why can’t an Amiibo serve the same function as a game cartridge? The figurine also increases their aesthetic value beyond that of cartridges (which, lately, is an increase in quality as we have seen nothing but decline: cartridge -> disc -> download).
“But Malstrom,” says the reader, “the Amiibos are to be used by many in a game. We never had game cartridges stack into other game cartridges. We never had game cartridges serve as character additions.”
But we did with the Sega ‘lock on’ technology of Sonic and Knuckles. Cartridges obviously can’t do the Amiibo job very well, BUT THEY TRIED BACK IN THE 16-BIT GENERATION.
Nintendo is looking for ways to make games more special. The way to do this is to go the opposite way of PC gaming with discs and downloading and give us something more tangible. I need to touch it. I need to hold it in my hands. Most important of all, I NEED TO OWN IT. No one will collect anything if it requires an internet connection to work.
Imagine if Amiibos came with Virtual Console games. The size of the games are very small and can easily be put onto the little statues (hell, they were put on the 1980 and 1990 cartridges of so long ago). A Mario Amiibo could come with Super Mario Brothers. A Donkey Kong Amiibo could come with Donkey Kong arcade game. You get the picture. Those Amiibos would be selling like wildfire. They could also be a type of ‘account system’ in that people could use them on future game consoles without having to buy Super Mario Brothers all over again. We could also sell them and trade them. This would be good value for Nintendo to use their classic games on.
I can imagine a future where all games, including indie, would be sold in such manner. The only downside is that a collector of video games would be indistinguishable from a collector of toys as the games would resemble the toys. Still, I think it is a cool idea.