How Amiibo “think”

Whenever someone asks me how to start training amiibo, I always recommend starting with Yoshi. Now, most trainers familiar with Yoshi would chortle upon hearing this: Yoshi is a terrible competitor, one of the worst in both the “customs” and “no customs” metagame. The figure itself isn’t even very rare or valuable to collectors. So why would I choose Yoshi?

There are a few simple reasons:

  1. Yoshi is a common amiibo: there are currently six different amiibo that function as a Yoshi in Super Smash Bros.
  2. Yoshi is cheap. Even to this day, most incarnations of Yoshi sell for ten dollars or less.
  3. Training a Yoshi as opposed to a much more potent amiibo allows you to have “scratch paper” for your training methods so future amiibo will be trained better.
  4. Training Yoshi teaches a very important lesson: certain amiibo will always use the same move, no matter what you do. Yoshi will always throw eggs, and throw eggs often.

Why does Yoshi do that? After all, using any other move would grant him better results in the long-term. Surely he would be able to recognize that other options work better.

In order to answer this question, we first must find out how amiibo process their data. Using the powers that only the Amiibo Doctor can wield, I have summoned the greatest Microsoft Paint artists on Earth. They have drawn this flowchart, which depicts in a rough sense how the data stored on the amiibo figure is put into play.


Amiibo process of thinking

As you can see, the game does most of the thinking: in fact, the only purpose for the amiibo figure itself is to store the data that comprises the amiibo’s experience. The game does the rest.

Now, back to our original question: why does Yoshi use eggs specifically? Well, if you look at the right shape of the oval image, you’ll notice that each character has an equation that is used to process the amiibo’s data. Yoshi’s equation is simply a bad one: it is written in such a way that it inherently favors throwing eggs. Then, as soon as an egg succeeds in hitting its target, it “weights” that move even heavier, so that Yoshi is more likely to use egg throws in the future.

In summary, amiibo “think” by taking the set of data that comprises their being, running it through an equation created by the developers of the game, and modifying the set of data again. Yoshi throws eggs because his equation was poorly written.

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