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KantriGrammer #5: "Gaming... It Figures"

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“Gaming, It Figures... Part III”


This is the final part of this three-part series on video gaming's marriage with collectible figurines and what better way to end this on than the series that seems to epitomize the collecting aspect: Nintendo's Amiibo line.


Amiibo is a line of figurines that can interact with many games for the WiiU and N3DS including Smash Brothers, Hyrule Warriors, and Mario Kart 8.


The first thing to mention is that you do not need the figurines to play any of the game's they're compatible with which allows you to enjoy a full gaming experience without dabbling into the world of figurines.


The next thing to mention is that you rarely play “as” the character on the figurine. In Hyrule Warriors, you load a figure to give you additional items and money for your save file and in Smash Brothers, you can fight your figure and boost its stats and moves (similar in a way to the Heroes of GW: Nightfall).


So if you don't need the figurines to paly any of the games, and you don't really play as your figurine, what's the point of Amiibo? One word: Merchandise.


Nintendo is an old company with many franchises and licenses that include characters that, for whatever reason, never had much merchandizing that was wide-spread (ie in your local Walmart rather than at your local comic book store) and widely affordable (all figures are priced around 13 dollars). Amiibo allows you to get a hold of a Samus or a Link, even a Mega-Man for your desk, shelf, or wherever you display whatever you get out of a Loot Crate.


At the end of the day, if you only intend to collect the figures you like, or simply just one to use in a game, you'll find 13 dollars an easier pill to swallow than the initial cost of a starter pack for Disney Infinity or Skylanders, assuming you're not buying a game just to go with the figurine, which would be kinda silly though I bet someone out there bought Mario Kart 8 just to race as a customized Peach.


The figurines are more expensive than the base models of the other two figure-game giants, but nostalgia for beloved and iconic games of yore, high quality paints, and the fact that there's only one price-tier, makes Amiibo a competitor for the other two series, even if the main draw has nothing to do with playing with them in a game.


So, which one should you get into?


If you're a collector on the brink of a melt-down whenever you can't finish a collection, go with Disney Infinity as Skylanders has many, many chase variants that are long out of production and Amiibo's distribution (a decent chunk of their figures are exclusive to specific stores which tend to sell out quick) make you rely on the secondary market (though you can order figures from foreign countries as they aren't region locked).


Otherwise, simply go with what you like: Disney/Star Wars/Marvel go with Disney Infinity, Gaming icons with Amiibo, and if you just like Spyro (or just zany critters) try Skylanders. Your wallet will hate you, but whatever! Thanks for reading, comments below, and next week we talk about templates!

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