FIGURES OF FUN
We’re accustomed to others following Nintendo’s lead, but with Amiibo, it’s playing catch-up, attempting to cash in on the toy-game market dominated by
and The key difference is that Amiibo characters are designed to work across multiple game series, allowing you to access different content within each. In the Wii U version of the new
for example, you’ll be able to scan in your Amiibo figure to fight against or alongside you, or put it into battle against AI characters to boost its defence stats and learn new moves. How that data will transfer into other games (Nintendo has promised functionality within this is still a noteworthy development for a company that has already unified its console and handheld divisions. Particularly given that, despite earlier experiments with connectivity on DS and Wii (and, to a much lesser extent, GameCube and Game Boy Advance), we’ve not seen 3DS and Wii U talking to one another much so far.
In theory, such a move should reduce development spans and cost, and it’s not before time, too: with thirdparty support at a very low ebb, particularly on Wii U, Nintendo has laboured to simultaneously support two different consoles with a steady stream of releases. Many assume that Nintendo’s next piece of hardware will be a device that functions as a portable and can be plugged into the TV, though another approach is two devices – like iPhone and iPad – that share the same software. Nintendo will, of course, first need to modernise its rather archaic stance on user accounts and crosscompatibility, but New 3DS certainly seems to be a step in the right direction. There are naturally problems with such a change of direction, not least that Nintendo has forcibly driven a wedge between the 40-million-plus players who already own a 3DS and adopters of the new hardware. Few thirdparties will be particularly keen to support the device in any meaningful way, since doing so will deprive them of millions of potential sales. And would Nintendo ever make a Mario or Zelda game exclusive to New 3DS? Though it could certainly do with more system sellers, such a move is highly unlikely, especially given Nintendo’s
MarioKart8, Captain Toad:Treasure Tracker and Yoshi’s Woolly World) remains to be seen, and it’s curious to note that the first batch of 12 – which will launch this winter alongside SmashBros – is titled ‘the SuperSmashBros collection’, suggesting we’ll see multiple variants of the Mushroom Kingdom gang. At £11 each, they’re reasonably priced, and while parents might baulk at paying for yet more plastic figures, they’ll certainly be desirable to the company’s loyal fans as well as its younger ones.