"War. War changes things."
Once again, my wife is always correct.
When amiibo first launched... (Wait. Some of you may not know what amiibo are. Before you go any farther, skim this page, then come back. I'll wait... All set? Good.)
When amiibo first launched, it was a fun little celebration of Nintendo's history and classic characters. It was collection of fairly detailed little figures that also unlocked in game bonuses in various Wii U and 3DS software. I didn't want to buy into the hype, but I did want to play along and have a few figures of my own. On the day of the amiibo launch, I purchased three figures to go along with my copy of Super Smash Bros. - Link from the Legend of Zelda, Samus Aran from Metroid, and the Wii Fit Trainer from Wii Fit. A few days later I picked up an amiibo of Fox McCloud to represent my favorite Nintendo franchise, Star Fox. Things were great...until the bottom fell out.
In early December, a rumor got out that Nintendo was going to discontinue some amiibo. This didn't make sense as the line had just released in late November and appeared to be selling well. Then the confirmations came. The "Holy Trinity" of Marth, Villager, and Wii Fit Trainer were being removed from store systems and the Race to eBay was on.
Was it an issue of Nintendo manufacturing demand? Probably. No matter, as Wave 2 sold out equally as fast and with it, its own set of effectively discontinued figures. Nintendo couldn't (or wouldn't) keep up with demand and in order to get the figures you wanted, you did one of two things - you either formed an alliance with friends or you paid a scalper. Obviously, one option was way more pleasant than the other. Given the choice of sending a few bucks to a friend to mail you a Marth versus spending $120 for one on eBay is an easy decision. I chose the former. Between people I had met on social media and real life friends, we had Wave 3 covered. If one of us found a rare or "unicorn" amiibo and we knew of a friend who wanted one, you picked it up for them and mailed it off to them. I was proud of this. I was even interviewed by GameInformer magazine as the Yin to the scalper's Yang.
Polk decided he was going to assist those who couldn't find figures they were looking for. "Maybe I'm a believer in karma, but I've never asked for more than face value plus sales tax plus shipping costs," he tells us. "With the way demand has been for certain characters, your options are to pre-order everywhere possible or resort to paying extreme markup from scalpers. In that case, I'll go with the former everytime."Then came Wave 3. With Wave 3 came more amiibo, more attention, more hype, and more scalpers. With more people wanting to collect amiibo, be it for fun or for profit, more and more of the collectors that I was close with dropped out of the game. The time and stress surrounding these $13 figures just started being not worth it anymore. For whatever reason, I've stuck around, but with the exception of few twitter friends, I'm no longer looking out for the best interest of my fellow collectors. Instead I use those same collectors to subsidize my collection. Nintendo fans are a passionate, if not crazy, fanbase who will pay a pretty penny to get what they want.
Why'd I change my mindset? I don't know. I think I just got tired of seeing people pocket easy money while I shipped off rare figures for a song. Being the good guy wasn't giving me the "warm-fuzzies" anymore. I got much more of a rush from turning $13 into $40 without doing much more than uploading a couple of pictures to eBay and shipping off a box. Coincidentally, my "reselling" of amiibo started right around the time I stopped driving for Uber, so maybe I was just trying to fill that void. Who knows?
Wave 5 of the Smash Bros. line launches in July. With that we get a little bit closer to end of amiibo madness as we currently know it. Which is good, because the devil in me is getting tired of putting a muzzle on the little angel on my shoulder.