Resisting The Urge To Buy Amiibo Has Taught Me A Lot About Myself

Resisting the Urge to Buy Amiibo Has Taught Me a Lot About Myself

My name is Keza MacDonald and I have a debilitating addiction to buying pointless plastic items. Things got really bad when I moved to Japan in 2008 and discovered a whole new world of tiny things; robots, miniature food and video game merchandise.

I have two display cabinets full of the fruits of years' worth of addiction to plastic tat, and that is probably less than half of my collection. I have all the Spelunky miniatures in a box in my desk because there is no room for them. I didn't know what to do with all of it, so I started a blog documenting it all that I always forget to update.

I also grew up Nintendo, and am still a very big fan. I literally have a version of the Hyrule Crest tattooed indelibly on my body, the result of a questionably wise decision that I made when I was 21.

But I have not bought a single Amiibo. Resisting the temptation to do so has turned into a revealing exercise in self-discipline.

Resisting the Urge to Buy Amiibo Has Taught Me a Lot About Myself

A bit of my display cabinet. I am not proud.

There's no good reason that I should resist Amiibo more than I should resist any of the other overpriced toys that I covet. If anything they are more useful than most of my collection, because they do actually have some utility in games. As a big Nintendo fan I should be all over them. The one good reason to abstain from them is the expense; but then, I can hardly feel noble about that because I have, in the past, spent upwards of £150 on a single figure. More than once.

When the figures were announced, I fully expected to end up buying them all. I saw some pre-production figures at E3 last year and was seduced by the level of detail; I've got an eye for this stuff, now, and those figures were nice. The embroidery on Zelda's dress was moulded, not painted. Donkey Kong's fur was meticulous. Naturally, the actual production figures aren't nearly as beautiful. I got sent a few Amiibo when they launched - a Mario, a Link and a Pikachu - and it was jarring to see how different they were. That was when I suddenly thought: hey, maybe I don't need these things. But it has now become a matter of personal pride.

Resisting the Urge to Buy Amiibo Has Taught Me a Lot About Myself

Here is a tiny little PlayStation from my collection, just because I think it's cool.

I'm awful at self-discipline. I can't diet, I struggle to stick to a regular exercise routine (or any kind of routine), I can't resist chocolate that is put in front of me for even 30 seconds, I am appalling at getting up in the morning. (Thank God I'm a vegetarian who doesn't like junk food, or I'd probably be about two stone overweight.) I'm extraordinarily impulsive with my money and time. So my battle with Amiibo has become a complexly symbolic way of proving to myself that I do have some form of control over my whims. If I can resist these toys, my internal logic seems to dictate, then I am not in fact completely at the mercy of whatever I feel like doing or buying or eating at that precise moment. I have some control over myself.

I'm fully aware that it is ridiculous to frame a decision not to buy some toys as a kind of monumental personal achievement, but I am embarrassed to admit that's honestly how it feels.

It does not help that my friends are terrible enablers. Today, my friend Matt posted a picture of his new Toon Link and I felt a real twinge of longing. Here's how that went.

Resisting the Urge to Buy Amiibo Has Taught Me a Lot About Myself

This, meanwhile, is the collection of my former boss Peer Schneider. He's bought a special stand and everything.

Resisting the Urge to Buy Amiibo Has Taught Me a Lot About Myself

I know that I can't buy even one of these things because if I do, I will have to own them all, and I will have to spend £300. My partner - who has lived with all my stupid collectibles for many years now - reckons that I will eventually crack and end up spending twice as much as I otherwise would have on the rare ones, which will by then be eye-wateringly overpriced. He's probably right.

In the meantime, though, I am enjoying the sense of self-control that not buying them is giving me. It is a rare feeling, for me, and it instils a small measure of hope that I can introduce self-discipline into other areas of my life, and maybe one day be a person who can get up more than 5 minutes before I have to be somewhere and go to the gym three times a week.

Plus, I've got that extra £300. And there are some really nice Wind Waker figurines on the horizon.

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This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK, bringing you original reporting, game culture and humour from the British isles.


    For someone with an 'addiction', that doesn't look like much of a collection.

      Perhaps it's one example, but if it is, that's terrible space management. Toys only occupy about 10% of the available space, if that.

    I wish I could find a tiered acrylic display stand like that. Went looking for something like it ages ago and it's not an easy thing to locate it seems.

      Perspex + metal rod/bar + heat gun?

        I'm sure that with the right tools and experience they're easy to make. I have none of those things and want to just buy one. Or several, actually. That way you'd be able to see the entirety of my Nendoroid army rather than just the front row.

          I'm pretty awful at that stuff and I can do it. I did a similar thing for a secondary cover inside electrical cabinets I used to make at my old job. I think I botched the first one but there aren't many mistakes you can make so I got the rest looking nice.

          That said it looks like the author got theirs from Amazon.


            That also looks really cool but nothing like the one in the article.

          They have virtually idiot-proof instructions on how to make almost anything, from powering a coffee machine from your bed via wifi (awesome!) to molecular gastronomy, tesla coils, instructions on how to turn your spoons in to arrowheads and beyond.

          I'm not much of a handy person either but even I've been tempted by Instructables to have a go.

      KMart has some 3 tier display stands. Otherwise you can Google "acrylic risers".

      Daiso stock stuff like this.

        Interesting. Not sure if there's any near me though (Melbourne). Might be one in Chadstone but I hate visiting that place.

    Well this is amusing, in 2008 I had a 2 week trip to Japan and had the exact same problem - plastic crap overload. When I got back I realised just how much crap I'd picked up on a whim "because it looks cool". I gave most of it away, and now have a rule of 12" or larger.

    I swear I'm not talking about dildos.

    A bit of my display cabinet. I am not proud.


    Classic. Good level of self awareness here. I have some OCD like issues and I too have to fight not to get sucked into this kind of stuff.

    Which sucks cos I really, really like plastic robots, but I know if I let myself go I'll end up with at least 1 room dedicated to the stuff. And no offence to those who are into it, I just don't want to be that guy. I want to spend my money on holidays, and houses, and film gear. That's my thing. Booyah!

      Yeah. I'm the same. If it's a collection I need the full set. If it's a model I need the biggest most detailed version. I feel like if I break down and make an exception for one little thing the dam will burst and suddenly I'll have no room to sleep because the place will be jam packed full of models and collectables.

        My dad asked me a while ago why I was buying a Disney Infinity character I didn't really like that much, I thought it was obvious - you can't not have all of them.

        Yep. I kind of have a rule that I'll get one, and only one, PVC figure from any game that I've really enjoyed. I have to choose wisely. I picked Sephiroth from FFVII (passing over Vincent, Tifa and Cloud), Liara from Mass Effect (which is now worth a mind-boggling amount compared to what I paid), Rise from P4G and Claptrap from Borderlands. I kind of broker my rule with Miku, getting a Senbonzakura Miku recently to go with my standard Miku, but I reason that I've played both Project Diva f games...

          See, that's the path that ends with me buying everything I see. I say to myself 'just get Samus,' but then I get Samus and think 'well now it just looks stupid having Samus with no opponent, better get Mega Man, and Luigi has always been a favourite so if I'm making exceptions he should probably be there too'. Then when I've got three it doesn't make any sense so I have to pick up one for the fourth character slot. From there out it's just the tipping point where I figure I'm in so deep I might as well just go with it and finish the set.
          What I'm saying is I have no will power and I'm perfectly comfortable lying to myself to get what I want. =P

          Last edited 28/01/15 5:21 pm

            I haven't tried, but it should be possible to have 8 amiibo fighting at a time...

            Just playing devil's advocate here.

              You can. It might just be the way I trained mine but it's not easy to keep track of. Pretty interesting to watch though.

              My parents aren't big gamers but I can put 8 in a fight and they'll watch, commenting on who they think will win and backing their chosen figure. It's a lot of fun.

    To be able to buy all the Amiibo, you first need to find a store that actually has them in stock...

      And an interesting aside, it is virtually impossible to find Skylanders in Chatswood at the moment. Target (the self-proclaimed 'home' of Skylanders) has a measly selection, whilst EB Games and JB Hifi are all but sold-out and only have starter sets left.

    Oh man. You should see my friend's Kid Robot collection.
    Her cabinet literally looks like one of the display cases in Akihabara.

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