As someone who was 9 in 1999, do you know what Amiibos are starting to remind of me of? Beanie Babies. And also Blue Mountain Pottery, but I think I'm the only one younger than 60 that understands that reference.
Beanie Babies, like Amiibos, were stupid toys that people liked for some reason. And I had lots of them as a kid! Hell, I have a beanie armadillo propping up my Super Famicom games collection, and a giant beanie pterodacyl being all like, "Come at me, bruv!" on top of the bookshelf that houses 100% of my physical games collection.
If you weren't alive in the 90's, as most Call of Duty fans were not, Beanie Babies were these hyper-popular stuffed toys shaped like animals. And like 95% of them were generic bears for some reason. Just look at this shit.
But alas, the success was short lived. I knew many a white, impoverished Canadian who insisted that hoarding these things would one day bring them unimaginable riches. It was not to be, however, because by the mid 00's, they could not get these things out of stores fast enough. I distinctly remember buying some of these from a 3 for $10 bin before they just vanished into absolute obscurity.
Are there any Beanie Babies that have retained their value or become sought-after? I'm sure there are, but barring some exceptional examples of limited runs or desirable manufacturing defects, I'm hard-pressed to believe any more than 5% of the entire lineup sells for greater than their original MSRP.
But how does this relate to Amoomas? Amoebus? Amaabis? Whatever? Much like what we're seeing with Amiibos today, a large part of the Beanie Baby allure was that they were rare. Or rather, certain characters were. The success of the product was predicated less on the quality or perceived benefit of the product itself, and more on the hype behind them. And exactly like Ammajammas, there were certain characters that were literally impossible to find! Or worse still, being that a lot of these toys were being sold to pretty much every gift shop and greeting card store on Earth, the store owners themselves got up to some pretty shady shit; they would receive a Beanie that was perceived to be valuable or rare, put it in a transparent plastic box, and mark that shit's price up tenfold. And if your local store didn't have what you wanted, guess who did?
Beanie Babies were actually an interesting cultural artifact of the late 90's, because a lot of their success can be credited to technology. Beanie Babies were at their peak right as eBay was getting into the whole online auction thing, and from what I remember as a kid, the two products seemed to drive the success of each other. Like two lamprey eels stuck together. Just the same as with Amiibos, say it with me everyone, the items that were perceived to be rare or valuable were bought up, not by someone who got any value out of that product, but by people who knew they could turn a quick buck by abusing the low MSRP and offloading the item for a profit to people who've boarded the hype train.
Fast forward to 2015, year of the Amoobinz. Beanie Babies pretty much don't exist; they still inhabit their old gift shops and smelly flea markets, but they've taken their rightful place as a cute, cheap gift. I don't think Amiibos have a dissimilar future. Given that we've already seen doubles of the entire Mario cast produced in a different series, I don't think this fad will last forever. Sure, there are certain characters that may only have one production run... But I don't think we should pretend they'll never come back. They will. I mean, if the demand is there, they will come back in one form or another. Maybe these new cards dilute the market enough that used Marth figures start hitting eBay for only a Tenner over MSRP. Maybe they produce another Marth model for the next Smash Bros. Maybe we get one for one of the 16 different Fire Emblem games coming out this year. Maybe we wind up at a point where demand just dies and the scalpers who, let's not kid anyone here, have 40 of these fucking things in mommy's basement between the cat litter and VHS collection will be forced to drop the price.
(Admiral Snufflepaws doesn't like having that box of toys beside his poopyhouse, Benjamin!)
But I will close by saying this: If you're buying Amiibos just because you're on the hype train, and not because you actually like characters and enjoy displaying/using them, then stop being an idiot and save your money. It's not worth it. I have not paid a cent over MSRP for any of the Amblablas I own (Marth, Ike, Mega Man, Samus, Bowser, Sanic and Dankey Kang), and it's going to stay that way. I suggest everyone else do the same; if you feed the scalpers, then scalpers gonna scalp. If you don't get the one you want, just wait. Like Beanie Babies, it'll probably get a reprint if people raise enough of a stink about it.
PyramidHeadcrab, God-King of Caledon, is a freelance writer for himself. He is famously known for being a crotchety old bastard on the internet, and for starting fights over stupid bullshit like which Kingdom Hearts game is better, or for expressing the finer points of why Shadow of the Colossus sucks and all its fans are self-diluted hipsters. It's entirely possible he has an undiagnosed mental illness (on top of the diagnosed ones), but that's just part of the charm. :3 And Benjamin, for fuck sakes, I told you to get rid of those fucking things a week ago. This is why you never finished high school; you don't do as you're told.
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