Bill Trinen amiibo
Image: Nintendo

10th June 2024 marks the 10th anniversary of the reveal of Nintendo's toys-to-life line of figures at E3 2014.

A stop-gap project for Nintendo to fill a void between the foundering Wii U and the company's next 'NX' hardware, it's hard to argue that the interactive potential of these little Near-Field Communication figures was ever realised, but looking at over our bookshelf, it's certainly been successful as a sideline gimmick. We've got a line of them in front of the Blu-rays, and that's only a fraction of the collection — most are in a bucket in the kids' room. Picking one up every so often, we've amassed dozens over the last decade.

As the quality of the figures has improved over the years (we've come a long way since pee-stick Link), it's always tempting to pick up a nice-looking one when you see it. Fewer of us these days would be prepared to pay scalpers' prices on eBay for the most sought-after examples (*sigh* we'll just have to resign ourselves to the fact that we're never going to get that delightful Japan-only Qbby amiibo), but if we see a cool figure for a fair price, it's hard to resist even now.

There have been various restocks of Smash Bros. and Zelda figures recently. We've seen replenishments on Nintendo's online stores, and reprints of cards in the Animal Crossing range, too. The arrival of Sora signalled the official end of Smash Bros. Ultimate's development and, with no other amiibo announcements at present, you'd be forgiven for thinking we'd reached the end of the line.

Have we, though? While an increased focus on Nintendo merchandising opportunities in recent years has seen plenty of other display-friendly character options come to market — LEGO, for example — the ubiquity, relative cheapness, and notional in-game interactivity made these figurines an attractive buy for Nintendo fans, especially compared to, say, a $300 Lego set.

Are people still buying amiibo in 2024? This writer picked up TOTK Zelda and Ganondorf at the end of last year, but time for a quick team survey. What was the last amiibo you bought?

"BOTW Guardian," says Ollie.

"Link’s Awakening Link," says Jim.

"I was gifted The Hero (DQXI) and Richter a few years ago. Haven't bought one since Shulk," says Alana.

Using Team NL as a barometer of dedicated Nintendo fans, it seems that interest has fallen off somewhat as new releases have slowed to a trickle. Would we like to see more amiibo announced? Yes, we would — we wrote as much last year and it seems there'd be interest from your lovely selves if the figures were cool enough. The success of the Super Mario RPG remake has us hoping for a direct sequel and another chance at a Geno amiibo, but there are hundreds of characters from Nintendo history that'd look great on a little round base. Throw in big third-party possibilities large and small (Shovel Knight is one of our favourite figures, and who could say no to a Silksong amiibo, eh?) and we'd love to see the support continue into Nintendo's next console generation.

Still one of the best — Image: Gavin Lane / Nintendo Life

Rumours that 'Switch 2' will be carrying the handheld-hybrid torch of its predecessor suggest that amiibo compatibility may carry over, too. Looking at the bigger picture, the manufacturing pipeline that's been estanblished, and how Nintendo has been reluctant to really exploit and integrate functionality in-game in interesting ways (likely due to the perception of locking content behind an add-on buy), there's really no need for the amiibo train to stop. They're fun little figures with some very light ties to the software which don't put undue strain on game dev resources. Adding amiibo functionality isn't nothing but throwing some paraglider fabric textures into Tears of the Kingdom is a cinch compared to implementing bespoke, unlockable mechanics or more complex content. Why stop now?

Ultimately, if Sora were the last amiibo to come off the line, 10 years is a good run, especially considering how other toys-to-life efforts came and went. Passion for them may have settled to a sensible simmer, but we've had fun with them over the past decade, they still look great on a shelf, and our kids continue to enjoy them. Long may the supply of slightly overpriced, seriously cool-looking little amigos continue.

Still think there's life in the ol' figures yet? What was the last amiibo you bought? Which one was your favourite? And what was the best in-game implementation of them? Let us know in the poll and comments below.

Do you think we'll see new amiibo in the future?