Starting the franchise in 1999 on Nintendo 64, Super Smash Bros. has become a celebration of video games having characters ranging from Pikachu to Steve from Minecraft. With the fourth installment on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, amiibo were introduced. amiibo are static figures placed on top of a round stand containing an NFC chip that are able to be scanned using a Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii U, or Nintendo Switch. These figures can either give you bonuses in certain games or act as a CPU fighter that you can personally teach in Super Smash Bros. Each week here at Exclu Magazine for Gaming Month, we’re looking back at the characters that were introduced for each Super Smash Bros. title and checking out how they’ve been represented as amiibo figures.
Super Smash Bros. began as a fighting game that didn’t feature any Nintendo characters. In fact, it was originally known as Dragon King: The Fighting Game and its characters resembled faceless color variants of what looks like Captain Falcon’s character model. At that time of development, they weren’t aware that they would be able to use Nintendo characters, but it was suggested to give the players a sense of identity. The change in character representation led to the All-Star cast of nearly 100 characters that we have today.
The debut title introduced a cast of 12 characters, many of them being very popular and recognizable to the public. We’ll be taking a look at the amiibo for these 12 fighters and give you some facts about them along the way!
Mario made his first appearance as “Jumpman” in the Donkey Kong arcade title in 1981, but he wouldn’t receive his own debut title until 1983 known as Mario Bros. Mario has many hats, but he’s most known as an Italian plumber who sports a very iconic mustache. This was one of the first amiibo released from the amiibo debut in 2014. His overalls are textured to mimic the look of denim and his pose perfectly demonstrates his fiery personality even without the fireball effect that’s attached to his hand.
He’s the leader of the bunch, you know him well. This is the ape that made Mario famous and helped popularize the electronic game craze. Today, Donkey Kong has a very different demeanor than he did back in his first game in 1981 where he kidnapped Mario’s original love interest, Pauline, though some theorize that who we see today is a completely different Donkey Kong. This amiibo was part of the first wave and is one of the first that we see supported by clear plastic to help maintain the pose he is in.
The bearer of the Triforce of Courage, Link, first learned that it was dangerous to go alone back in 1986 on the Famicom Disk System. Many know him well by his green tunic, Master Sword, and Hylian shield. This amiibo was released as part of the first wave and this model more closely reflects his design as seen in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, his character model was updated to use his Breath of the Wild design though it’s unlikely we’ll receive a second amiibo release in the Super Smash Bros. line for our green clad hero.
Would you be surprised to find out that the person wearing this suit is a woman named Samus Aran? Of course not because it’s 2020, but it was a big deal in 1986 because having a strong female protagonist was almost unheard of. Metroid introduced us to a whole new cast of aliens and helped create a genre of video games known as Metroidvanias. This amiibo was released in 2014 as part of the first wave and is one of the more highly detailed figures having to get the Power Suit just right.
Mario’s trusty dinosaur, whose full name is Yoshisaur T. Muchakoopas, was introduced to the world in 1990 with Super Mario World. Since his debut, Yoshi began to join Mario and his friends at parties, races, and various sport matches. Yoshi would eventually earn his starring role in Yoshi’s Island where he would protect a lost baby Mario and deliver him to his worried parents. This happy green dinosaur is well represented in this 2014 amiibo figure. One thing that could make it perfect would be to adjust the pose a bit to show off his rather chameleon-like tongue.
Resident of Dream Land and creation of Masahiro Sakurai himself, the director behind the whole Super Smash Bros. franchise, Kirby’s first appearance was in Kirby’s Dream Land on the Game Boy released in 1992. Though he is loved by many for his cuteness, this pink puffball is no pushover and has a wide array of abilities being able to copy those he’s fighting against. Kirby’s design is rather simple and has been relatively unchanged since his introduction. This amiibo was released in 2014 as part of the first wave and the cuteness still holds up.
Star Fox 64, also known as Lylat Wars in the PAL region, was released in 1997. When considering characters to add to Super Smash Bros, Fox was a relevant choice. He is the leader of the Great Fox space aircraft battleship, which his team of anthropomorphic animals manage within the Lylat System. Fox was released in the first wave of amiibo and is one of the many that are compatible with multiple titles outside of Super Smash Bros, such as unlocking costumes in Mario Kart 8 and Yoshi’s Woolly World when scanned.
In February 1996, the pop culture phenomenon known as Pokémon was first released in Japan as Pokémon Red & Pokémon Green on Nintendo Game Boy. It wasn’t long before the electric mouse that we all know and love took over the rest of the world in 1998. The increasing popularity this franchise was receiving through video games, the trading card game, and anime made it clear to Masahiro Sakurai that it needed to be included in Super Smash Bros. This amiibo was released as part of the first wave and accurately represents Pikachu, though the pose is quite standard.
He was always known as “player 2” until he starred in his own series in Luigi’s Mansion, unless you count Mario Is Missing. Luigi’s amiibo was part of the second wave which was released in December 2014. This was the beginning of the hype that has become associated with these figures having limited quantities of certain “unpopular characters” and creating scalper culture, reselling them for more than double the retail value. Luigi is in a rather strange pose, but it caters well to his quirky personality.
Ness’s inclusion in Super Smash Bros. is a bit of a surprising one as the Mother series, also known as Earthbound outside of Japan, wasn’t quite as popular for a character to represent Nintendo’s All-Stars. When you find out that Satoru Iwata was also assisting with Super Smash Bros, it doesn’t seem as much of a surprise as he also is credited with developing Mother. Ness is a 13-year-old boy that seemingly is gifted with having psychic abilities and his move set provides welcome variety among the cast of Super Smash Bros. This amiibo was released in May 2015 as part of wave 5.
Captain Falcon’s first 3D model and appearance out of his vehicle, named Blue Falcon, was when he was added to Super Smash Bros. As a character that primarily is known for driving a racecar, the developers had to employ some creative ideas when considering his move set. The Falcon Punch that he’s famous for originated in Super Smash Bros. This amiibo was released as part of the first wave. Since his character wears a helmet, he doesn’t receive quite the same fate as earlier released amiibo with human faces.
For those of you who are fans of the early seasons of the Pokémon anime are probably already covering your ears. Jigglypuff might seem like a strange inclusion to the roster today, but this Pokémon was popular amongst fans and they were trying to cater to their audience. It also helped that Kirby’s character model was already very similar to Jigglypuff’s. Their amiibo was released in May 2015 as part of the fourth wave and it perfectly captures their menacing personality that can be seen in the competitive scene.
You’ve reached the end of this article, but we still have over 70 more characters to take a look at. Stay tuned for the next post where we’ll look at the amiibo for the characters that debuted in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Keep it locked to Exclu for all the latest news and previews from across the toy community.
Seattle based musician and photographer playing a lot of video games.
Last modified: November 1, 2020