If there is one thing that I probably spend the most money on, it's amiibo. The thing is though, outside of doing a few special things in a small handful of compatible games, they don't really do much else. They also aren't exactly well utilized for what they're purposefully designed for. Now don't get me wrong, while I greatly admire my amiibo and enjoy using them in the games I have, but sometimes I wonder if Nintendo is implementing them to their fullest potential. While they have the ability to store data on them like a memory card, most of the time they only seem to be used as a key to unlock content locked away in the game. Now I know that a handful of people don't usually have the money to spend on such luxuries, so as such I thought of ten things Nintendo could do with them that might make them better, and maybe even warrant a purchase from the non-collectors who feel cheated out of certain features in their games.
#1: More/Better Free-to-Start amiibo-Powered games
Nintendo has already done something like this once in the past with amiibo Tap on the Wii U (which I also reviewed), but I feel that it while it works on paper, the overall execution in amiibo Tap is somewhat flawed. In order to fully optimize the functionality of the amiibos, actual games that require amiibo to play need to be made, and I'm not talking like Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival or the amiibo Party game mode in Mario Party 10. I think games like Skylanders and League of Legends could provide inspiration for future free-to-start amiibo-powered games that would actually be worth taking a gander at.
#2: Cross Series/Cross Franchise Data Transfer
With the announcement that the Wolf Link amiibo that will come packaged with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD can use its saved data to do something special with the currently untitled Wii U Zelda game, it got me thinking, "Why Nintendo hasn't done anything like this sooner?" By saving data from one game onto an amiibo and using that data to directly influence another game in the same series or even an entirely separate franchise, it could open up many more customization ideas during gameplay. Imagine if you will a special area in one game that cannot be entered unless you do something in another and save that information onto a compatible amiibo, then you take that saved info and present it in the first game to open up the path. A remake of The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons could benefit greatly from this as the bonus missions unlocked from linked play were a real pain in the butt due to its inane password system. Amiibo data transference could solve this problem and that data could be used again in a future game to unlock a bonus later down the line. You know, as an example.
#3: Optional Gameplay Modifiers
I think I speak for everyone when I say that sometimes a little help in certain games is welcome, so when a game suddenly gets too difficult for you to complete it under your own power, where does that leave you? Frustrated, tired, and irritable, with a slowly growing level of seething rage. This is why many games used to have cheat codes in the late 80's and early 90's, but since that trend seems to have all but completely vanished, I propose that amiibo step up to take its place. Kirby & The Rainbow Curse on the Wii U already does something like this with the Kirby, King DeDeDe, and Meta Knight amiibo from the Super Smash Bros set. Scanning one of these amiibo into the game gives you a little boost to help you through a particularly difficult stage, but only once per day. Drop the once per day limit and this could be a very nice alternative to the all but forgotten cheat codes of yore.
#4: More/Better Bonus Content
Everyone loves bonuses in games. It gives you reason to keep playing or to come back to a game after its been finished. So why not make it so that even better bonuses could be unlocked through amiibo? Splatoon has something like this already, but I am talking about something a bit more extravagant. I think some future games should have special versions of NES games that can only be unlocked through scanning an amiibo. Super Mario 3D World kinda already did this once as well where if you have save data of New Super Luigi U saved onto the system's hard drive, you would unlock a special version of Mario Bros that has Luigi as both player 1 and 2. Nintendo definitely needs to do more of this.
#5: Card "Sets"
Amiibo figures are a bit pricey; there's no doubting that. But with the recent introduction of the Animal Crossing amiibo cards, it got me thinking why Nintendo hasn't offered whole card sets as an alternative to the figures yet? The Animal Crossing cards may be sold in booster packs, but I figure that whole decks that would encompass the entire series would make it much more affordable for non-collectors. Here's an example: if they sold them at the same price as the Animal Crossing cards, you could theoretically get all 58 amiibo for Super Smash Bros for less than $60. The only real downside to this is that the cards are much more fragile compared to the figures, and aren't nearly as stunning as them either.
#6: More/Better Figure Bundles
This one is pretty self explanatory. While Nintendo already does this, they need to do it more. Bundle packs of figures sold at a discounted price make it more worth the buyer's time to go out of their way to purchase a few, especially if it is some that they genuinely want. As an example, I think a double pack of Lucas and Ness from the EarthBound series with a $20 price tag would be a fair deal and a triple pack of Kirby, King DeDeDe, and Meta Knight for around $30 would also be pretty fair. Make it happen, Nintendo!
#7: Card "Games"
Amiibo cards are definitely a good idea by itself, but like the figures they don't really have much use outside of the games besides looking pretty. So I propose that "non video game" games be made that can take advantage of the cards. The Animal Crossing amiibo card series already has a good start to this already by having dice numbers and Rock-Paper-Scissors symbols on the cards themselves, but it seems they can only be used in the mini games in Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival. We just need board games and/or rules that can use them properly outside of the video games they're compatible with, and maybe even a board game bundle that comes with a bunch of cards as well. And while we're at it, Pokemon TCG amiibo cards would also be pretty cool.
#8: Multiple Profiles
As useful as the data save feature on amiibo is, it can only save data from one game. That means if you want to use that amiibo with a different game, you would either need to buy a new amiibo of the same character, or delete the existing data on your current one. This has made things a little frustrating for some people, namely me. The thing is, Activision has already solved this problem with their exclusive Donkey Kong and Bowser Skylanders by having them have a twistable switch on their base. This allows them to be used as both Skylanders and amiibo with both settings having their own unique save data. So why hasn't Nintendo taken notice of this and implemented it in newer amiibo so they could store data from multiple games? If they did this some time in the near future, I'm sure it would probably make a lot of amiibo fans like myself very happy.
#9: More Third Party Characters
I'm sure that a lot of you agree that the current selection of amiibo is pretty good right now, but at the moment only seven third-party characters have been confirmed so far. When you consider that that is 7 out of roughly 100 different figures (at the time of writing this), it makes for a rather non-inclusive experience for fans of other series. This is why I think there should be amiibo of other characters for games that will eventually be released on a Nintendo system. I'm sure a lot of fans would love to have a Rayman, Shantae, or Commander Video amiibo. I know I would.
#10: Better "Special Edition" Figures
Special edition amiibo are an odd case. Usually they are just the same characters in the same poses as the previously produced models, but with a different paint job (usually in a shiny variant). It wasn't until recently when a friend of mine put this thought in my head: Why can't they be more like action figures? And honestly, he's right. Poseable figures with interchangeable or luminescent parts, would make for fantastic special edition amiibo. It would give the figure a much bigger reason to use it outside of the game(s) it is made for. Most of the Skylanders Superchargers vehicles have wheels or propellers that can spin in place, and some of their earlier special edition figures would glow when placed on the Portal of Power. It's confusing that Nintendo hasn't implemented these features in there own product; I would assume it is to keep production costs down, but is that really a reason to not do it in its entirety? Nintendo occasionally likes to call themselves a toy company after all. As such, they need start making actual toys then.
Well, those are my thoughts on the matter. At the moment, amiibo only really appeal to hardcore Nintendo fans and avid collectors. They are having a bit of trouble finding the right mix of demographics, but if Nintendo were to see these ideas, I'm sure they would take a few of them seriously (I'm a bit partial to numbers 2, 3, and 7 myself). If you have any suggestions of your own, please let me know in the comment section, but until then, I'll be seeing you.