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The Great Amiibo Hunt

by Neal Ronaghan - November 22, 2014, 4:33 pm PST
Total comments: 13

Neal decided not to pre-order any Amiibo. Here's his report from the retail trenches as he tries to catch'em all.

When everyone was pre-ordering Amiibo a few months ago, I sat idly by. It wasn't that I didn't want the Nintendo figures; it was more that when I got them, I wanted to experience the thrill of going into a store and seeking them out. Instead of just waiting patiently for an Amazon package to arrive in the mail, I desperately wanted to experience the thrill of the hunt. That's how I found myself plotting out a lunchtime sojourn around every retailer in the area of my office.

I did have the fortune of starting ahead, however. Since I reviewed Super Smash Bros. on Wii U, Nintendo sent Mario, Kirby, and Link Amiibo alongside the review copy. So let's add three to the counter.

Stop Zero Report: 25% (Started with Mario, Link, Kirby)

My first trip was to a GameStop nearby my home. The store was having a midnight launch so I figured I'd show up at like 11:30 and see what Amiibo they had left. For those who haven't been to a GameStop midnight launch, they are incredible now. The stores open at around 10 p.m. and you can hang out inside. There were two TVs set up with Brawl for people to play for this Smash Bros. launch. It was also a StreetPass haven. When I went to this same GameStop for Madden in August, they even had pizza and soda for all who waited.

But here's the important news: this GameStop had five Amiibo in stock. Unfortunately, one of them was Kirby, which I already had. So after one stop, I added Fox, Samus, Donkey Kong, and Pikachu to my collection. I was already more than halfway there.

Stop One Report: 58% (Added Fox, Samus, Donkey Kong, Pikachu)

The next morning I figured I'd hit Wal-Mart on my way to work. It was the only place open very early and it was also a convenient stop. So, about an hour after the store opened, I strolled into the monolithic store. Heading back to the games area, I saw a setup for Amiibo completely barren. Poking my nose around, I saw a bunch of loose Donkey Kongs snuck in with Skylanders. Then, I saw the line about 20 people deep by the Electronics cash register. These people were waiting to get Smash Bros. and Amiibo. I saw Mario and Peach figures by the counter, but despite not having a Peach for my collection, I figured I'd skip the line and instead wait for my lunch break to scope out a wide swath of stores.

Stop Two Report: 58%

My nextstop, during my lunch break, was Toys"R"Us. For those not in the know, Toys"R"Us is having a 3 for $30 deal on Amiibo right now. However, Toys"R"Us being Toys"R"Us, all of their Amiibo are a dollar more expensive. So it's still a good deal, but c'mon, gang. That's awful. Anyway, Toys"R"Us was a great start to this lunchtime saunter. I was able to get Villager, Yoshi, and Peach. When I asked about Marth and Wii Fit Trainer, the clerk looked at me weird. Then he walked over to the Amiibo area and was just like, "Man, I don't know." Then I proceeded to look through a shopping cart filled with Amiibo they hadn't put on the shelf yet. No Marth or Wii Fit Trainer.

Stop Three Report: 83% (Added Villager, Yoshi, Peach)

While plotting out the next stop on my lunch route, I noticed there was a Target and a Best Buy right next to each other a little farther away (but in the direction of the Toys"R"Us). So, I decided to journey to this undiscovered land. It looked promising as the Target was one of those super gigantic ones. Walking into the Best Buy first, I wanderedover to the Amiibo area. It was empty. A Best Buy employee intercepted me. "You looking for the Nintendo figures?" he asked.

"Yes," I responded. "You guys sold out?"

"No, we never got any." We shared a mutual glance of 'you have got to be effing kidding me' and then he followed up. "You're like the fifth person that's asked so they must be popular. We never got any. We might get some this weekend."

I thanked the man for his time and bailed. I didn't have time to waste on this nonsense.

Stop Four Report: 83%

I walked to the Target next door. Marching straight to the electronics section, which was about a half mile from the entrance because this was a huge Target. They had nothing set up for Amiibo. I asked an employee and he cut me off before I could finish: "Nah we didn't get any in."

Stop Five Report: 83%

Disappointed, I went back to my car. I took a risk going to an unfamiliar area and it backfired. I only had limited time left in my lunch break, so I decided to tear ass back to the Best Buy down the road from my office. At the very least, I'll maximize my time and leave almost no stone unturned. Luckily, the Best Buy actually had Amiibo in stock. I found the last Wii Fit Trainer and then poked around for a Marth. An employee walked over. "Do you have any Marth Amiibo?" I asked.

"Who?" he responded.

"Marth. One of the Nintendo toys."

"What we have out is what we have."

Stop Six Report: 92% (Added Wii Fit Trainer)

I made one final stop, to the website of each major retailer. I checked to see if there were maybe any nearby stores I missed or any kind of in-store pickup for Marth. I found one on Target's website and placed an order. The particular Target is on my way home from work. With this simple stop at Target, I now own all of the Amiibo. I beat the Amiibo.

Wait, what? There are six more in December? And then 11 more in February? And some of those are retailer exclusive? Uh-oh...

Stop Seven Report: 100% of Wave One (41% of all currently announced Amiibo)


CericNovember 22, 2014

I have to say that Marth was a little bit cheating but, I totally understand at that point.

For my own experience I just got 3 for 30 from Toys R' Us.  Samus I got from and associate they were still putting them out and Pikachu and Peach were just there.  There was only a couple Fitness trainer and No Marth or Villager but the rest were there.

In my Walmart here in what we have established to be the Middle of nowhere.  You can get Peach, Mario, Link, Kirby, and Fox.

MythtendoNovember 22, 2014

At my local Walmart, the only ones they have are Mario, Peach, and Kirby. Literally those were the only ones they even had spots for.

MythtendoNovember 22, 2014

And that Walmart is in a pretty popular area, so I was surprised that they were only sent 3 of them.

CericNovember 22, 2014

Mine also had Yoshi.

NES_RPG_NERDNovember 22, 2014

The Wal-Mart closest to me had Mario, Peach, Link, Samus, Pikachu, Kirby, and Donkey Kong, and they were on display two days early.Picked up a Samus, as my usual GameStop sold out prior to the actual launch (still got my Link and Pikachu from them, though)

NES_RPG_NERDNovember 22, 2014

There MAY have been Yoshi there, as well...

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorNovember 22, 2014

I pre-ordered all of them and still don't have Marth.  Go figure.

Leo13November 22, 2014

Wow, the only thing I have close is a Walmart and they had every single character. 1 Marth 4 Wii Fit Trainers and tons of everyone else.

StratosNovember 22, 2014

I predicted that Marth would be the hardest to find because of his obscurity. Wii Fit Trainer is also turning out to be scarce.

GillgillNovember 22, 2014

That was quite an Amiibo odyssey, glad you were able to find them all in all their tiny Nintendo glory. I was fortunate enough to be able to walk right in and find all 12 figures at my local Target and now they all proudly adorn my Nintendo shelf.... Now, the Gamecube controller adapter, that, I wish I had the same luck finding...

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorNovember 22, 2014

So, to expand on what I said earlier.  I had pre-ordered all 12 amiibo figures at Toys R Us.  When I did, I spoke with the awesome manager (of some kind) who always hooks me up with Skylanders information.  I know how pre-orders work there and that they don't always set them aside like they're supposed to - and knowing that some of these were going to be hard to get, I asked if she could make sure mine got set aside - and she said she would (and I fully believe that she did).

Went in today to pick them up - waited in line at the counter, got to the counter and told the guy there I was here to pick up my pre-orders and showed my receipt.  "Ah - you ordered all 12.  Just go to the shelf and get them."  "eh... sure..." - go over to the shelf and they only have nine of the 12 - missing Wii Fit Trainer, Villager, and Marth.

So, I go over to the counter and say that they're missing three.  Guy tells me that everything they have is out, and that the pre-orders got put out by the stocking crew on accident.  I asked if there was any chance he could look in back - and, after a sigh, he agreed.

Came back with a Wii Fit Trainer and said I was out of luck on the other two.  Said he could refund my deposit or I could wait for the second shipment.

So, I bitterly say I'll keep the pre-orders for now, pay full price for the 10th figure (because they're only $10 when you buy 3 at a time).

I check out and go to my car - as I'm backing out, I see the manager walking towards my car - she flags me down and said she saw me walking to my car and wanted to make sure I got everything I had pre-ordered.  I explained that I didn't and told her my story.  She said she had them set aside and wasn't sure why he couldn't find them - she told me to come back in with her and she'd look for them.

Went in, she clocked back in, went to the back and came out with a Villager.  She said she wasn't sure were the Marth went, that they must have sold it to someone. :(

She's awesome, but I'm not feeling Toy R Us right now. :(

StratosNovember 23, 2014

You should have gotten the discount in spite of being short as compensation.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorNovember 23, 2014

Drove an hour in the other direction to snag a Marth at a Target.  They had all three of the "hard to get" figures on the pegs.  Only place I've seen Trainer, Villager and Marth on the pegs.

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