On June 10th, 2014, the term “Amiibo” was introduced to the world, and Nintendo fans hit the ceiling. Like unto Skylanders and Disney Infinity, these Amiibo figures are collectible figures that enhance the gameplay of several Nintendo favorites on WiiU and The New 3DS, adding additional gameplay and progress tracking using the miniatures. The figures are small, posed versions of their video game counterparts, and include iconic characters such as Mario, Link, and Star Fox.
The first “wave” of Amiibos was released in November of 2014, and many of the figures were never seen on store shelves again. Finding a highly desired Amiibo in store or even successfully pre-ordering one online is so improbable that it’s become little more than a joke to fans and collectors. Figures such as Jigglypuff, Ike, Little Mac and Lucina have been dubbed “Unicorns” by Amiibo fans, poking fun at the idea that you are more likely to see an actual Unicorn than find one of the rare figures.
The enormously popular internet forum Reddit has an entire “subreddit” dedicated to the discussion and trade of Amiibos. This subreddit is consistently updated with members posting collections, rumored release dates, possible pre-orders and discussions about Nintendo, sales, and their own opinions on how the releases are being handled. These discussions are the main pull of the subreddit, allowing Nintendo fans and collectors alike to unite in a mutual distaste for the lack of provided Amiibos. The group even managed their own Twitter trend at one point, with thousands of tweets directed at Nintendo, all bearing the hashtag #pleaseunderstand. Nintendo, who originally coined the hashtag, responded to the trend with their own tweets, all including the same hashtag almost outwardly making fun of their desperate fans.
So far, no obvious attempts have been made by Nintendo to remedy the Amiibo situation, and fans remain despondent. Pre-orders on Amazon, Target, and Best Buy all consistently sell out within seconds, and so-called Unicorns can only be found on eBay and similar websites at an enormously inflated cost, thanks to secondary sellers and scalpers. Occasionally a “#pleaseunderstand” will show up on Twitter, but for the most part, Nintendo fans are quietly outraged, and their feedback seems to make little difference.
There is a fine line between “Collector” and “Casual Fan,” and this line has become more defined as the Amiibo situation continues to spiral. It is quickly becoming an impossibility to obtain all or any of the figures from any particular game release, and those with complete collections are either extremely lucky, or willing to pay a hefty price for their beloved figures. Right now, there is little hope that many figures will ever be available again. For those who are still waiting, it seems there is nothing left to do but continue to explain that we’re done trying to #pleaseunderstand.