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November 2015 Retro Gaming Article


November 22, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Small cardboard inserts prevent packaged amiibo from interacting with the Wii U gamePad

Small cardboard inserts in amiibo packaging When I go to the video game corner of Toys R Us, they have an aisle for each Toys-To-Life franchise and locked cases containing everything else. It always strikes me how prevalent these games are at TRU. At GameStop, It's hard to tell if they even sell Skylanders, Infinity, or Dimensions. It's a very different layout.

Regardless, I do like the Toys-To-Life kiosks at TRU that allow me to try each character and get an idea what they can do. It's convenient that you can put a packaged Skylanderskiosk figure on the kiosk portal and it pops right up on the screen. Similarly, the figures will integrate with my home portal while still in their packaging. Infinity figures follow the same scenario.

I began to wonder why there were separate Wii U and amiibo kiosks. It seemed as though the two would be integrated. As I became more familiar with amiibo I assumed their retail separation from the Wii U kiosk was due the way the figures interact with the game. They don't appear in-game the way they do in Skylanders or Infinity - they typically unlock things in-game. OK, fair enough.

My Inner Collector

I have since learned that amiibo will not interact with the Wii U gamePad while in their packaging! How odd. I bought a few amiibo before even owning a Wii U, so I left them in their packaging. Upon buying a Wii U for my son and I, the first game we bought was Splatoon. When we got it home, he was dying to rip open my amiibo 3-pack of Splatoon characters. I wanted to leave them packaged and suggested he try the Skylander trick of simply pressing the bottom of the package against the GamePad. Nothing happened!

Small cardboard inserts in amiibo packaging Since amiibo work differently from other Toys-To-Life figures, if you could use them without opening the package, it would be far too easy to scan them and simply return them to the store. This wouldn't be as profitable a venture if that were the case.

I'm not a serious collector by any means, but I wanted to preserve the figures in their packaging. It wasn't long before the 3-pack was restocked and I bought a second one. My son opened it up and they worked perfectly. Unlike our skylanders or Infinity characters, the bottom of the amiibo packaging had cardboard cut-outs where the base of the figure rested. One side was reflective.

Foiled By The Inserts

Poking around the web, it seems that early figures had a sticker on the base that prevented in-box scanning. It was similarly metallic or reflective on one side. I've seen a few videos in which people are slicing open the bottom of the package and inserting a sharp stick in an effort to scrape away this sticker. That strikes me as an odd work-around when you have to both break the packaging's seal and deface the bottom of the figure itself. Does that somehow retain it's value? I wouldn't think so..

It seems that Nintendo wised up to this and is now (not sure of the exact date) using cardboard inserts that can't be scrapped or removed in the same way. The well in which the amiibo's base rests has a slight depression that would make it difficult to remove or alter the cardboard without excessive damage to the packaging. From a collecting standpoint, I don't see the difference between opening the package versus slicing into it and damaging the base of the figure. It seems to me the value falls equally with both options.

This is also a good reminder for those purchasing figures from auction sites to inquire about the full condition of the packaging.

Small cardboard inserts in amiibo packaging

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