Doing amiibo on a dime

If you’re an incredibly lucky person, you’ve already purchased most of the amiibo when they were on store shelves and being sold for a mere $13 each. If you’re not an incredibly lucky person, you might be facing this:

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Amiibo research has always been a very, very expensive hobby, which has limited its interest for a long time. Each figure has always cost a minimum of $13, which doesn’t seem like much until you decide to buy three of them. Or ten. Or fifty-eight. This hobby breaks the bank: buying an official figure for all fifty-eight characters at MSRP with no taxes will run you $754.

Fortunately for you newfangled amiibo hobbyists, there are many new options available, most of which are very effective at reducing the cost of amiibo. Let’s go down the list, and discuss the pros and cons of each one.

Amiibo cards

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These are pretty similar to the Animal Crossing amiibo cards, but you’ll have to be creative if you want to get a hold of this one. While you can usually find these on Etsy, their availability is not as consistent as we’d like. Shops selling amiibo cards tend to get cease-and-desist letters pretty often, so their owners have to close down for a while… before reopening under a different name.

Currently on Etsy, you can buy a full set of all amiibo characters for a meager $109.99, as compared to the $754 you would normally have to spend. That’s an 85% reduction from the original price, which is a pretty dang solid choice. These amiibo function exactly the same as the figure counterparts, too.

NTAG215 tags

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Let’s say you don’t have a hundred bucks. That’s fine, too. You’ll have to skip the nice cardstock format that amiibo cards have, but you will be getting something that also functions as an amiibo: NTAG215 chips. You can buy these from Amazon for about ten bucks for a pack of thirty. If you’re paying more than that, you’re overpaying.

These are functionally the same as amiibo: in fact they are the exact chips in the bases of the amiibo figures. Amiibo cards have these inside of them as well, so you’re not losing much. All in all, these are a very inexpensive option for amiibo, but there’s a catch: these are only the cheapest option if you already have an Android phone with NFC capabilities, and the Tagmo app so you can write their data onto them. Like amiibo, blank NTAG215 chips can’t change their character once that has been written onto them, and you need either an NFC-equipped Android phone, or…

Amiibo Powersaves/Powertags

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This option, assuming you have a computer, will run you $20 at your local Gamestop. It will cost you $30 if you have to ship from the official retailer.

Using websites like nfc-bank.com, you can download fresh amiibo bin files by the dozen, for no cost at all. If you have a computer with a USB port (or Tagmo) you can use it to write those amiibo files onto a rewritable NFC chip. See that white thing on the box above? Plug that sucker in your computer, boot up the program, and place the little black disc (called a Powertag) onto the ring of the white thing. At that point, you can load up any amiibo file onto the Powertag and scan it in as a brand new amiibo. Do keep in mind that whatever amiibo is on your Powertag will be overwritten when you put a new one on there, unless you use the Backup option.

Most people buy this because they want to use amiibo that they haven’t actually purchased, but the software doesn’t give you the option to inject amiibo files that you haven’t already scanned in. However, Windows users can locate the folder ‘Powersaves for AMIIBO’ on their C: Drive under Program Files and place bin files in there. From there, those bin files will now show up when trying to overwrite the data on the Powertag.

Also, if you want to scan in more than one amiibo at a time, you can purchase three more Powertags from Codejunkies for a mere ten pounds! (That’s thirteen Freedom Bucks).

Thanks to some very smart people, some very effective technological innovations and some very sketchy international laws, you can now get a hold of every amiibo that has ever existed for less than thirty bucks. Truly, this is the best timeline.