In the spirit of the first amiibo birthday today, members of the Nintendo Inquirer team have come together with their most cherished amiibo experiences over the past year and to compile a list of unique memories related to their favorite toys-to-life line.

Thank you, Nintendo, for giving us a constant stream of toys filled with such vibrant characters to add to our collections! Our gaming lives have forever changed for all the better because of you.

NintendoInquirer-BrittinShauers

Brittin’s amiibo memory

Collecting amiibo has been an unexpectedly social experience, for me. When I picked up my first couple, around launch, I didn’t plan on buying many, and I certainly couldn’t envision myself lining up at Best Buy or Target in the wee hours of the morning to get my hands on them. As rarity reared its ugly head, and my weakness toward these collectibles grew, waiting in lines for hours on end became a pretty regular, and surprisingly enjoyable, experience.

This exercise even made me some great new friends. A co-worker, a guy I would pass by and give a casual nod to a couple times a week, started appearing in some of these lines. The hours of conversation that the wait, the obvious common interest, and the other amiibo hunters afforded us, gave us plenty of time to get acquainted. Flash forward to today and not a tidbit of amiibo news can pop up online without us texting each other (often at the same time) about it.

Not-so-coincidentally, this harrowing hunt is also what led me to the @AmiiboNews twitter account, where I spotted the callout for contributing writers. That’s how I landed in this awesome position of sharing my love of Nintendo and amiibo with an absurdly talented team of passionate creators and fellow Nintendo fans around the world. As sappy as it may sound, none of it would have happened without amiibo.

NintendoInquirer-GeorgeComatas

George’s amiibo memory

It’s silly to think how much happiness a toy can bring you, but I’m always quick to defend them for obvious reasons. My collection has become a joint effort between my brother and I, with a lot of help from a few people I hold very close to my heart. And since a year ago, they have definitely grown from an obsession into something much more meaningful to me. I think, in particular, I have two favorites. My first is the Super Smash Bros. Princess Peach, not only because she’s one of my favorite characters of the series and the figure is beautiful to boot, but because she came out the day I got home from my first quarter ever away at college and there’s something special about having her tied to my homecoming.

Wii Fit Trainer has got to be my other favorite, and not just because of the rarity. When she was announced as a playable character, I was completely enamored by the idea of playing as her. Her amiibo was impossible to find, naturally, but just as I was losing hope in ever getting her, somebody very dear to me surprised me with her for Christmas. He was not a Nintendo fan or aware of the rarity she had, and had simply found the last one of her at Walmart. There’s a lot of sentimental value behind that figure because of that, and while there’s no fun story about waiting outside in the cold or trying to beat 100 other customers for her, there’s a sweetness there that trumps a lot of my other figures.

NintendoInquirer-LaurenMusni2

Lauren’s amiibo memory

Amiibo have affected my life in crazy-big ways, and not a day goes by when I’m not grateful for their presence in my life– not just for being adorable toys that help decorate my home, but for the giant impacts they’ve had on my personal and professional life.

Just one year ago, I spent a lot of my free time scouring the internet for Nintendo related news on a daily basis. I craved game talk and conversation among gamers there since none of my friends in real life carried the same passion for Nintendo collecting and gaming as I did. Then, something miraculous happened– a little bit of fate, if you will: I happened to bump into Jason (“Amiibo Jason”), an old friend from high school, at a local gaming convention earlier this last March. Already familiar with Amiibo News, I was shocked to discover that he was actually the founder and owner of the company. Before I knew it, I had joined the Amiibo News team and started on a whirlwind of an adventure with Nintendo Inquirer. Jason and I built up the rest of the team based on our passion for amiibo and other areas of the hobby, and before I knew it, I was surrounded by equally passionate people who loved amiibo as much as I did. Ever so naturally, I had found a very special group of friends who I cherish more than anything to this day.

Thanks to the presence of amiibo, I’ve become a more driven person and a much harder worker; I’ve found friends who genuinely care about the same things I do; and I’ve had the privilege of combining a favorite hobby with my career as a journalist and designer. To put it simply: I feel really lucky, and I have amiibo to thank for that.

NintendoInquirer-JasonGanos

Jason’s amiibo memory

It’s been one crazy roller coaster ride for me over the past year and amiibo have been at the center of it all.

Ever since I was five years old, I’ve been a Nintendo fan. I still remember the first time my sister and I picked up that rectangular controller and played Super Mario Bros. after school. I grew up with Nintendo, and Nintendo grew up with me. I still remember the magic I felt when I opened up my Nintendo 64 on Christmas morning in 1996 and the hours upon hours spent playing Super Mario 64 or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. When it was announced at E3 2014 that Nintendo would be creating its very own toys-to-life series called amiibo, I knew that it would instantly be something that I would be drawn to.

When I first started Amiibo News late last year, I had no idea what I was in store for and I had no clue it would turn in to what it is now. Now, one year later, I can truly say that I am grateful for the opportunities that amiibo have given me and for the friends that I have made in the process of creating this site. I still get excited every single time a new amiibo has been announced, and I get even more excited to be able to share that news with you. This community is the reason I continue to do what I do, and I could not have asked for a better one! Happy birthday, amiibo!

NintendoInquirer-RickyBerg2

Ricky’s amiibo memory

There are a handful of amiibo moments that are going to stand out to me this last year. My first amiibo purchase was a pre-ordered Kirby and a spur-of-the-moment decision to buy the store’s last Villager, and ever since then I’ve been hooked. That purchase, along with my Wave 4 Ness and Robin grabs (my other two favorites in the game) have been fond enough memories. The real smiles come, however, when I think back to the people I’ve met and the kindness I’ve received by the community. Simple things like playing Smash with everyone waiting in lines, co-workers gladly changing shifts so I could make it to store exclusive releases, and even becoming a contributor for Nintendo Inquirer, are all joys brought to me via amiibo.

The real standout is simply from being in the right place at the right time. Well after their official release there were rumors of a Toys”R”Us restock of Pit and Captain Falcon. Having still been in college at the time, I got to my local store as early as possible just to see if I even had a chance. The amount of people there already let me know I wouldn’t be getting Pit, but I recognized one of them and decided to hang out and wait. After they opened I used my place in line to secure him a Captain Falcon for a friend who couldn’t make it, parted ways, and went about my day as normal. The next time I saw him, he walked up to me and handed over a Pit he had managed to get from a different location. It’s now on my shelf as a part of my collection– and a constant reminder that anyone can be an angel.

NintendoInquirer-TomBrown

Tom’s amiibo memory

The amiibo situation in the U.K. has always been pretty different compared to the U.S. and Canada. Store exclusivity is a non-issue, figures are typically released a little earlier over here, and the competition to get them isn’t nearly as hectic. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though; plenty of times Nintendo has failed to meet demand for some of its more obscure characters, like Shulk and Little Mac, resulting in pre-order cancellations days before release and very few updates.

That’s why it was a strange surprise when I discovered a Shulk amiibo in a pretty small seaside town retailer on the west coast. After losing my pre-order months before, I was happy to finally snag him without having to resort to ridiculously overly inflated eBay prices. Of course, just a few weeks later, I learned a major stealth re-stock had happened, and now you can go into pretty much any store here and pick up almost any amiibo, be it Palutena or Ness, for a reasonable price.

The amiibo craze is definitely global, and things have been rough, but after one year it seems like Nintendo is finally figuring things out, one country at a time.

NintendoInquirer-JoshBrown

Josh’s amiibo memory

When Nintendo announced and released the first wave of amiibo, it was a monumental moment not just for the company, but for the entire toys-to-life genre. Never before did fans have the opportunity to collect such wonderfully made figures and merchandise representing their favorite Nintendo characters and franchises. That first Mario amiibo, for the Super Smash Bros. line, was incredible for me, personally, to get my hands on and just admire up close and personal. But that’s not my favorite amiibo, as much as I would like to say it is.

In fact, my favorite amiibo is one that most “hardcore” amiibo collectors write off as an actual part of the whole collection, because it’s not quite like all of the others. Hammer Slam Bowser may not be an amiibo in the minds of in-box collectors who obsess over the integrity of aspect of the amiibo brand, but for me, it is the apex of five years of the toys-to-life genre. I’ve been a Skylanders fan since day one, but Nintendo has always been part of my life. With Nintendo and Activision working out a deal to bring the Donkey Kong and Bowser characters to the Skylanders universe, it was a dream come true. But for them to create Skylanders figures of the two characters, who also work as amiibo with the quick rotation of the base, was the best of both worlds.

Sure, there have been plenty of amazing amiibo released over the last year, and most of them I have very clear memories of collecting for one reason or another. But honestly, that moment during E3 when the crossover was announced, followed by seeing the hybrid figures in person, culminating in actually getting to add them to my collection was incredible– as not only an amiibo and Nintendo fan, but as a fan of the entire genre that amiibo has taken by storm.

NintendoInquirer-KellenMcIntyre

Kellen’s amiibo memory

When I think back on amiibo, I think of late nights spent refreshing Amazon listings and scouring foreign sites for the lowest price on something that wouldn’t be out in my own country for months. I think of disappointingly low stock numbers and distressingly high price tags. But I also think of many great times I’ve had, great times that had absolutely nothing to do with video games.

My best friend and I both got into this toys-to-life thing at the same time and slowly became addicts together. So when he suggested that we try our hands at doing an amiibo customization, I didn’t even hesitate to say yes. In hindsight, we got lucky. We went in with literally zero experience, bought materials that we thought were more or less right, and dove right in with no planning whatsoever. We spent nine hours that first day– with only one hour off for a break– slaving away on our Frankenstein monsters of plastic and clay.

The results could optimistically be described as rough. You kinda have to squint and look at mine from an angle for it to work, but to me, it’s an unqualified success. Just the experience sticks out in my mind as one of the best days of my life, as schmaltzy as that may sound. It was just so much fun, and so empowering to set out to accomplish something and have it actually turn out halfway decent. And because of that, in spite of all the time and money that’s been funneled into these little plastic figures, I still raise a glass to Nintendo and say, “Thanks.”

NintendoInquirer-FrankCostagliola

Frank’s amiibo memory

It’s hard to believe that Nintendo released its toy-to-life line, amiibo, just one year ago. Ever since then, their popularity has taken off and has become a Nintendo cultural phenomenon. Amiibo are so much more than plastic toys. They’re collectibles, DLC, display pieces, and many other wonderful things that have captured the essence of Nintendo’s best franchises.

My addiction for collecting spread like a wildfire, and as of today, I have nearly a complete North American amiibo collection. But it wasn’t always that way. I’ve spent countless hours doing research, waiting on lines, and going on “amiibo runs” to get to the point where I am now. So, I take a lot of pride in my collection. I love each one of my amiibo dearly, but two in particular hold a special place in my heart. My Villager and Marth Amiibo. While I wasn’t lucky enough to get them at launch, I still managed to get them a few months down the road.

Last January, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to study abroad in Italy. Going to Italy has been a lifelong dream of mine, and when I had the chance to go, I took it. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I would recommend studying abroad to anyone. With that said, both of my favorite amiibo from my entire collection came from Italy.

I got my hands on an original European Villager when I went into a record store in Florence, Italy. I wasn’t looking for any amiibo when I went into the store; I simply walked in out of pure curiosity. I was stunned when I saw it standing on a shelf all by itself. At that point, I knew I had to have it.
Marth, on the other hand, was purchased at a GameStop a block away from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Similar to the record store, I went in out of pure curiosity, and I am glad I did. It was surreal seeing all these rare amiibo out in the wild, something that very rarely happens here in America.

So why are those two my favorite? They are my favorite because whenever I look at them I am overwhelmed with a scene nostalgia. They remind me of my experiences in Italy. The food I ate, adventures I went on, iconic landmarks I saw, roommates I met, and parties I went to are all unforgettable memories. When I see those two plastic two toys, I see more than just pieces of my collection. I see memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

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Written by Lauren Ganos
Creative Director, Managing Editor

Designer and writer by day, gamer by night, Lauren dreams big when it comes to creative endeavors. Perhaps that's why she's taken on the roles of creative director and managing editor for Nintendo Wire. If she had a video game superhero alias, it might just be The Visionary, a true keeper of imaginative order.

Lauren Ganos