I’m a collector. Not sure why I do it, maybe it’s part of my nature or DNA mix up, but it’s a trait that’s flaws are regularly shown every time Nintendo releases a product that piques even the slightest of mainstream interest. No I’m not talking about how hard it is to find a Switch or the bad morality of eBay scalpers who seem intent on making a quick buck while denying honest patrons the joys of a SNES mini. No on this occasion, I’m referring to how painfully hard it is to be an Amiibro.
This problem has recently come to light as the result of a little known game called The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Already hailed as being one of the greatest video game experiences ever created this side of the millennium, Nintendo did a masterful job at keeping certain amiibos’ functionality secret leading up until the game’s release. Meat and weapons, were all that any Zelda-centric amiibos would grant you should you wish to scan them into your Switch or Wii U (Seriously?). Well that and the possibility of a wolf companion should you have purchased the Twilight remaster a couple of months back.
In actual fact any amiibo tied to the Zelda franchise such as the new 30th anniversary line which features Link as he appears in games like Wind Waker, Ocarina of Time, and Majora’s Mask and even the original Smash Bros. design all could unlock classic costumes which could be worn in game. As if it wasn’t going to be hard enough to try and track these little suckers down, though fans are always looking for more things to do with their amiibo as opposed to just plopping them on a desk, nobody could’ve predicted a functionality this cool. And nobody could’ve fathomed the price hike they’d undergo as a result of stock shortages.
At the time of writing, you’d be lucky to find a simple Rider Link amiibo from the Breath of the Wild set for less than £30 give or take, a far cry from the RRP of half that price. Sure I could indulge this scalper who has been clever enough to pre-order/purchase one prior to realising their in-game functionality, but what this highlights is a wider problem that has plagued Nintendo for decades and will continue to do so well into the future – They don’t produce enough stock.
It happened with the Wii from 2007 onwards, it happened last year with the launch of the NES mini, and it’s happening again with Amiibo, a line of Nintendo product we thought the Japanese company had remedied. Though I don’t agree with the argument that Nintendo is doing this purposely – restraining supply so as to increase demand, it still baffles me that it’s still a prying issue, and one we still don’t have a solution for. It’s capitalism at its finest, and unfortunately it means that a few might miss out.
Of course, not being able to scan in Zelda amiibo into Breath of the Wild doesn’t impact the core game experience, acting as little more than an aesthetic luxury in which to enjoy and take pleasure in. In the same way that character skins in Overwatch make popping head shots all the more enjoyable and personable, I’m a sucker for nostalgia, and I’d like to parade around Breath of the Wild’s version of Hyrule wearing the classically green tunic. Until a time when Nintendo can keep up with the demand, the greatest adventure yet is one that exists outside of Nintendo’s finest game, the race to track down the little plastic models. Crazy.