After kicking off with an epic fight scene between Nintendo heavyweights Satoru Iwata and Reggie Fils-Aime, one of the highlights of Nintendo’s Digital Event at this year’s E3 was the big announcement of a brand new physical toy line featuring characters from favourite franchises such as Super Mario Bros. and Metroid. The toys will interact with on-screen gameplay on selected games for the Wii U home system starting with the highly-anticipated Super Smash Bros. Initially referred to as Nintendo Figurine Platform (NFP) it’s now officially been unveiled as Amiibo.
Nintendo of America President Fils-Aime introduced the world to Amiibo figures during the first of a number of live presentations from Los Angeles this week and explained how the figures will work with the Wii U. A line-up of Amiibo figures will be launched alongside the new Super Smash Bros. game for Wii U with more to be released in the near future and through an intelligent chip in each toy’s base data can be transferred between the figure and the GamePad and vice versa.
The data transfer between Amiibo and Wii U happens when the figure is touched down onto the GamePad which uses NFC (Near Field Communications) and downloads vital stats about the figure into the game. Information is also fed back to the figure when playtime is over and stored so stats can be levelled up with experience points the more you play with them and characters can be customised with skills and abilities, meaning that despite similar appearances every player’s figure will be one of a kind.
As Nintendo explains, even if you and somebody you know both have a Link from Legend of Zelda figure they will be completely unique in their skills because you will train them yourself making them completely personal to you. This works on any Wii U console so figures can be pitted against each other if you visit a mate’s house and they have a Wii U and copy of Super Smash Bros. or you can team figures up with your own Mii character to gain an advantage in a fight. In a demonstration Iwata recruits Super Mario to help him defeat Reggie’s own Mii!
Figures in the starting range will include Super Mario, Link, Fox McCloud, Picachu, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, Kirby, Princesses Peach and Zelda and more with Super Smash Bros. becoming the Amiibo platform’s first compatible title. Support for Mario Kart 8, Yoshi’s Wooly World and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is being developed and Nintendo will introduce an Amiibo base as a peripheral for the 3DS/3DS XL handheld making it compatible with the figure range and games in 2015.