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In which, Nintendo attempts to drain my wallet

November 25, 2014

I have a dirty confession to make: I bought Disney Infinity 2.0 a few weeks ago and haven’t played it once.

It might, in plain fact, be an amazing game, or it might be awful, but it honestly doesn’t matter, because the toys are really neat. They’re representations of the characters done in a style that eliminates excess lines but which looks really good, they generally have very active and expressive poses, and the entire line seems calculated to reach down into that part of the geek brain that says “I want that on my desk” and give it a good tug.

I will deduct some small amount of points from Disney for releasing a Maleficent based on the live-action movie rather than the classic version, but that is a minor quibble considering that the Tinkerbell they released at the same time is, as the kids say, TOTES ADORBS and DO WANT.

Do kids actually say that sort of thing?  My exposure to them is limited.

Skylanders, by contrast, are these ugly spikey things that I have no affections for, even though I have personal reasons to think very highly of the Toys for Bob folks and am glad for their commercial success.

Anyway, TWO successful lines of NFC-enabled collectible toys inevitably spawned a third, so now we have Amiibos taking up an end cap in the electronics section of my local megamarket, and this led inevitably to me standing in front of this end cap trying to decide if I needed to add any of them to my shelves full of maids and similar figurines.

Most of them are really well done.  The Kirby and Yoshi figurines in particular are fun, Pikachu is good, the Mario is as top-notch as you would expect, and the Fox McCloud looks fantastic except for the heartbreaking way it raises the faintest spectre of hope that there will one day be a Krystal Amiibo and we all know that we will never actually get one.

Wait, no, I DO have a single complaint about Mario.  He’s shown as chucking a fireball and the purist in me screams that he should be wearing his red and white outfit if he’s doing that.  I’ll forgive it though as long as they eventually put out a variant though knowing Nintendo it would be a Japanese Club Nintendo exclusive and we’d never actually see it in this country.

But I digress.

The store was out of Samus but there was a picture of the Amiibo on the display and I suspect that it should look quite good in reality.

…and then I got to Link and Peach, who both look, well… out of place next to the rest of the characters.  They’re more realistically-proportioned and maybe have a little too much detail for a toy at their scale, and just don’t fit in with the more cartoony figures.

Personally, if I was in charge of making multi-million-dollar design decisions for an internationally-famous videogame manufacturer, I’d have gone with a Soul Calibur II-styled Link, but I appear to not be and nobody wants that anyway, as I would immediately cancel all other projects in favor of putting out a new F-Zero (It’s been ten YEARS, guys!) and Starfox Adventures II, in which you would play as Fox for the first level and then spend the rest of the game playing as Krystal.

Anyway, short version: they’re 90% great-looking toys, there are a couple I think they could have done a better job on, and I somehow managed to avoid tossing any of them into my shopping basket.  If Nintendo starts digging into its back catalog of characters, though, these things have a TON of potential.  I don’t expect we’re going to see a Starfy anytime soon, but I can at least hope for a little plastic Fawful to call my own.

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