True Life: One man’s descent into deliriumiibo

Save yourself; it’s too late for me

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It’s 11 p.m. on a Tuesday night, and I sit at my laptop writing. That’s a half-truth; the bulk of my time is spent on a large retailer’s website refreshing a page for a children’s toy. Sorry, “collector’s figure.” F5, F5, one poorly thought-out sentence, F5 — repeat ad nauseam, and I ain’t gettin’ sick of this anytime soon. Not when amiibo are on the line.

I was having a great night. I was over at a friend’s playing music, talking, laughing. You know, acting like a social creature. Well-adjusted, and all that. That all changed when I pulled up reddit to see a thread informing anyone and (unfortunately) everyone that King Dedede was finally available on Target’s site.

If you’ve lived this nightmare, you know how the story it goes. Any time lost is an amiibo lost. By the time I reacted, I was met with the unsightly message telling me that the product is “not sold online.” Bullshit. It’s just not sold online to me.

I immediately left my friend’s place. I had to be in the comforting glow of my computer monitor. I needed to be in my safe place where all my cookies are saved and my accounts are logged into.

Remember Steve-O from Jackass? He hasn’t really been relevant in a while, but I’m sure his name paints a crystal-clear image in your head. MTV did a special about him a few years back, and it opened with him surrounded by hundreds of nitrous oxide canisters. That’s where I feel like my life’s gotten with amiibo, except in my rock bottom, I’m drowning in a sea of plastic toys, new in-box, North American versions only, and there better not be a fucking crease in the cardboard.

I’m not sure how I’ve gotten here. It’s all happened so fast. Last November, I just wanted the Zelda line and Marth (my main) as loosely scattered desk toys — fun little knick-knacks to keep me company through the work day. I refrained from giving a damn for months. Then, I got a small taste of the good stuff, and it spiraled out of control.

If my thoughts seem scattered, I’m sorry. Sadly, telling a tale isn’t my primary concern right now. There’s an oversized penguin with a giant fucking hammer that I’m after.

Chasing amiibo is sort of like peeling an onion — there are layers to get through. It’s easy to half-heartedly wander over to the display when inside a Best Buy and see what’s in-stock. Beyond that, it might be intriguing to see if it’s possible to get a hold of any of the rarities. Before you know it, you’re up to your neck in tracking apps, inventory sites, sub-reddits, Craigslist ads, and boxes from Amazon.

Or, at least, that’s how I fell into it. Visiting a rural Target while on vacation with friends, I found an abundance of Rosalinas and hardly a soul in the store. Justifying it to myself, I reasoned that these weren’t sought-after by anyone in the area. I could give them a better home with some of my pals.

They never got to their intended destination. Instead, they got traded for other elusive amiibo. Less than a week later, I turned them into a Pit, Wii Fit Trainer, and Lucario — all new, in-box, with North American packaging, mind you; I’m not some fucking plebe.

I was wheelin’ and dealin’. My friends thought I was reelin’. Each conquest came with a more bewildered reaction from them. How could I, the guy who doesn’t even like owning too much clutter, drop his work in the middle of the day to drive to GameStop because more Shulk pre-orders opened? I didn’t know what to tell them. I don’t plan to sell these eventually, and I don’t even really care for the figures. I just want them. So, I duck their questions.

I duck their questions further and further down into my own rabbit hole. Where will this end? After Smash Bros.? Maybe, but then again, maybe I already have the first characters in the Super Mario Bros. series pre-ordered. My conversations have begun to resemble a coke addict’s: “How many lines you gonna do?” I don’t know; I’ll probably just keep going until my brain’s fried or my heart explodes.

At least I can lie and tell myself that I’m partially doing this for work. Driving to stores at odd hours of the morning, trying to sweet talk sales associates, constantly tracking online trends to try to get a hop on the next in-stock item — it’s all investigative journalism, right? It’s all an effort to piece together the next rumor to inform an audience.

Who am I kidding? Even I’m not buyin’ what I’m sellin’. But, I will buy what Nintendo’s sellin’. I don’t know how long that’ll last and if there are new lows to succumb to. Just don’t make the same mistake I did. Let my tale serve as a cautionary one: Stay far, far away from amiibo.

That way there’ll be more on the shelf for me.

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