amiibo is a brand of "Toys to Life" products consisting of near field communication-based figurines that can have data read and written on them, used as add-ons to games with amiibo compatibility. Originally referred to internally under the working title "Nintendo Figure Platform" ("NFP") in development, the first line of amiibo, based upon Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, launched on the same day as Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, the first amiibo-compatible game, and there are amiibo lines based upon various games and franchises, such as the Super Mario and Yoshi's Woolly World lines.
With Wii U software, amiibo can be used by placing a figure on the near-field communicator built into the Wii U GamePad under the D-pad; the console must also be updated to at least version 5.3.0. A peripheral for the Nintendo 3DS has also been released in the fall of 2015 that wirelessly connects to the 3DS to send and receive data; the New Nintendo 3DS, however, features a built in near-field communicator on the bottom touch-screen. They can also be used on the Nintendo Switch by holding them to the joystick on a Joy-Con (R) or the logo on a Pro Controller. The figures come with data already on them, but data can also be written on them by the hardware. Several figures will be compatible with multiple games; for example, the Super Smash Bros. line Mario figure can also be used in Mario Party 10. Multiple games can read an amiibo's data, while only one game's data can be written to the figure at a time.
In addition to figurines, a card format is also available. Additionally, an app released for the Wii U, amiibo tap: Nintendo's Greatest Bits, allows players to unlock demos of certain NES and SNES titles by scanning amiibo.
Mario-related games compatible with amiibo
Non-Mario games compatible with Mario-related amiibo
Super Mario amiibo line
1 - Exclusively at Walmart at launch in United States.
Other Mario-related amiibo lines
Super Smash Bros.
1 - Exclusively at Toys "R" Us at launch in North America.
Unlike other amiibo, the Yoshi's Woolly World amiibo are made of yarn rather than plastic, with an NFC chip and scan point in the underside rather than having a base with the chip in it. The Mega Yarn Yoshi, however, has the NFC chip underneath its left foot instead of its underside.
While they are primarily meant to be Skylanders figures, the bases of these figures act as a switch that, when twisted, switches between the Skylander mode, and an amiibo mode which allows the figures to be used in amiibo-compatible games compatible with other versions of the figure. These figures are included with the Skylanders: SuperChargers starter packs for Nintendo consoles; Turbo Charge Donkey Kong comes with the Wii U version, while Hammer Slam Bowser comes with the Wii and Nintendo 3DS versions; each figure also comes with a personal vehicle. The standard versions were later released separately alongside their vehicles.
The figures are later compatible with the Wii U and Switch versions of Skylanders: Imaginators.
Mario Sports Superstars
There are a total of 90 amiibo cards in this series. Each of the eighteen playable characters receive one card for each of the five sports. Unlike the Animal Crossing series cards, these are considered as separate characters and only supported specifically for Mario Sports Superstars, thus do not work or recognized as a generic amiibo in all other games.
The availability of certain amiibo has been subject to criticism. For example, the Target-exclusive shipments of the Rosalina & Luma amiibo were stated to be ceased permanently, limiting the availability of the amiibo in the U.S. until a restock at Target.com came mid-July 2015. Immediately following the preorder release of the Wave 4 amiibo, GameStop servers experienced a major overload and shut down temporarily for nearly an hour. The incident was met with intense criticism and frustration by fans who wished to purchase the amiibo. John Vignocchi, the executive producer of Disney Infinity, another game that uses NFC figures, stated "[An intentional shortage] is irresponsible and rude to your hardcore fans," referring to the amiibo shortages. Satoru Iwata noticed the issue and apologized for it; he promised that more will be manufactured to meet the demand in the future. The amiibo cards were released with the intention to address the amiibo figurine shortages.