by Doc – Owner, Founder, Birds Aren’t Real, Man
Forgive me for breaking revolutionary ideas into the intellectual marketplace, but Nintendo really missed the bus on working amiibo functionality into its products – which, if you’ll recall, is an important part of Amiibo Economics.
So for the Nintendo ninjas who haven’t yet run me through with a katana, here’s 10 great ways to use amiibo in existing Nintendo platforms/games/paraphernalia on both the 3DS and Switch. Feel free to report these back to corporate.
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Nintendo Switch Themes
I know it isn’t technically a game – but shut up, you’ll ruin it. The Nintendo Switch is halfway through its generation and it still only has Basic Black and Basic White theme. Even the 3DS got themes after a few updates, and they were a welcome addition. Why not the Switch?
It should be a simple process – you scan in an amiibo at the Settings menu, and it unlocks a wallpaper correlating to that amiibo. This isn’t hard – Nintendo already has thousands of wallpapers already made for games going back to the Nintendo 64, and all it would need is to download a few-megabyte image file to your Switch.
Trainable Mario Kart Drivers
Similar to Smash Ultimate’s amiibo training, why not teach an AI to play Mario Kart Deluxe? It doesn’t require much thought – you pick the track you train them for, select character and kart setup, and drive a few laps as that setup. The AI picks up on how you drive, and you can scan it in later and race it on that track.
It wouldn’t be too hard to set up – you’ve already got the racer AI, and Mario Kart racetracks are already divided into sections (to make sure you finish the lap and minimize skips). With 540 bytes on the NTAG215 chip, there’s enough room for the data to be organized section-by-section on nearly every track. Devs could put parameters of what actions to take in the sections. “Drift X distance in the section”, “Go for Y item box”, etc.
New Quests in Breath of the Wild
This one’s fairly straightforward – you scan in an amiibo, and an NPC appears in the world that gives you a quest. BOTW already has pretty good amiibo functionality, but hey, open world games can never get open enough.
Mario Maker and Mario Kart 8 did it correctly. Skins are fun and easy to understand, and they’re a nice use for amiibo that you already have. How cool would it be if you scanned in a Luigi amiibo to Minecraft and unlocked that skin for your Microsoft account to use in all Bedrock editions? Wouldn’t it be cool to scan an amiibo and have new skins in Smash Ultimate?
Unique Pokemon in Sw/Sh and Let’s Go
Including whatever other Pokemon games are coming, I want scanning amiibo to give you unique Pokemon! If I scan my Pichu amiibo, I should get Spiky-Eared Pichu! With the pretty large number of Pokemon amiibo out there, why don’t any of the Pokemon games have amiibo functionality?
This also opens the door for Pokemon amiibo cards. Animal Crossing was in a unique position to put out four sets of amiibo cards because it had close to 400 villagers to sell cards for. Pokemon is just shy of 900 as of Generation 8, and with Generation 9 we’ll almost certainly break 1,000. That’s a lot of potential amiibo cards that could be sold. Bonus points if they function in the Pokemon TCG.
Super Mario Bros in Super Mario Maker 2
Hear me out – between the Super Mario series, the six Super Nintendo World bands, and the Smash series Mario and Luigi amiibo, there’s 32 potential Marioesque amiibo to scan in. There’s really more, but we’re limiting it to those for my convenience.
What if when you scan an amiibo, you get a recreated version of a specific level from Super Mario Bros? Scan in Super Mario Peach amiibo, get World 3-1 or something. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it’s a pretty logical use for Mario amiibo.
Give Us Mother 3!
That one was just in case the Nintendo ninjas were still reading. Let’s continue.
My Nintendo points
Nintendo has never done a good job of replacing Club Nintendo, and I go several months at a time before I remember that the replacement, My Nintendo, exists and is functional. Scanning in an amiibo should toss 10 Platinum points (or whatever the free currency is) in our My Nintendo account! This is an easy way for Nintendo to increase the awareness of My Nintendo without having to shell out any money, and most people have already connected their My Nintendo account to their Switch profile anyway.
This would be best implemented if a small notification appeared when the points were deposited. Otherwise nobody would notice that it happened unless they logged in to check.
Pikmin 3 Vs. Mode + Enemy AI
Pikmin 2 has a kickass Vs. mode where you basically RTS against another person. It’s the best mode in the entire series, and I will fistfight you if you disagree.
Put this in Pikmin 3 and, for the people who don’t have friends, have AI opponents that you can fight after scanning the amiibo. It’s a great concept – scan in Olimar amiibo, you fight Olimar. Scan in the Hey! Pikmin amiibo, you fight… a character from that game. I don’t know, I didn’t waste $60 on it. And of course other amiibo can work with it too, it shouldn’t be limited to just the few Pikmin amiibo.
Give us more content in Pikmin 3! Bingo Battle gets old fast.
Resources/Stardust in Pokemon Go
One of the very cool instances of cross-game connections is Pokemon Let’s Go connecting to Pokemon Go. In these games, you can transfer Meltan and Melmetal back and forth through various methods, like the Meltan incense in Pokemon Go.
Let’s be real, Meltan is Ditto with a metal nut for a head.
Why not build on that with some amiibo functionality? Pokemon Go is still one of the most popular apps out there with a massive playerbase, and a very large chunk of that playerbase will do anything to get ahead, including spending copious amounts of money on Raid Passes and Event Tickets. Just ask your local Raid Boss groups how much they spend, and it’ll probably be more than the cost of an amiibo.
Retro Games in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Remember the original Animal Crossing on the Gamecube? That game had loads of pre-DLC DLC content. You could plug it into a Game Boy Advance and unlock the island (which had its own minigame on the GBA), you could use e-reader cards to unlock villagers and items, and there were even Universal Codes that gave you otherwise unobtainable Nintendo items.
How great of a throwback would it be if, like with the e-reader cards, you could scan in an amiibo and it would give you an NES item like in the original game? It’s not like Nintendo would be losing any money – they’ve already made several dozen NES games available in Nintendo Switch Online.
Previous Nintendo consoles had their fair share of Easter eggs and fun little secrets – who can forget what happens if you hold Z as you boot up your Gamecube? – but the Nintendo Switch has none. There used to be an easter egg on the sleep menu, but newer Nintendo Switches don’t have that anymore.
Why not throw some Easter eggs in and make them amiibo-accessible? There’s a lot of room for creativity with these. What if you scan an amiibo while on the sleep screen? Could something pop up? Or perhaps scanning Wario while on the eShop screen could cause Wario to run by with a bunch of coins in his hands.
Easter eggs are always fun to see, and there’s plenty of ways to hide an easter egg in a system like the Nintendo Switch.
Do you have your own ideas for amiibo? Tweet us @amiiboMD!
“why don’t any of the Pokémon games have amiibo functionality?”
Because Pokémon. That’s why.
I recall back on amiibo reddit when Pokémon Sun/Moon were on the release train, the game covers were shown and ignorant amiibo collectors were hoping for Pokémon amiibo to come out, when I frankly told them that it wasn’t likely going to happen because the games didn’t have the amiibo logo on the case.
Still my most downvoted comment on that site to date, despite not visiting that account in years.
Let’s face it, the suits at TPC, or at least the GameFreak/Creatures side of TPC, they don’t want Pokémon merch coming out without their expressed approval. At least I can only assume this – Nintendo makes all the amiibo (Barring exceptions like Shovel Knight and the Monster Hunter amiibo), so I suspect they get the sales from the figures made and say for characters who are owned by a 3rd party company, they get a cut of the profits.
It makes sense why Pokemon put so much work with the e-Reader: Creatures was one of the companies that had a hand in creating it, yet here? What would GameFreak and Creatures gain by letting Nintendo create a bunch of figures that would compete with their own merch where they only get a tiny bit of money?
It’s why the only amiibo for Pokemon outside Smash are dumb one note singular things like Detective Pikachu and Shadow Mewtwo, why there’s no Pikachu racing outfit in Mario Kart 8, no Yoshi’s Woolly World skins, etc.