Nintendo's Action Figure to Video Game Tech: Amiibo

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press
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For many, E3 is a major highlight of the year.

It's a chance to get hands-on with the games and technology of the future.

Some of those flocking here even get into character - dressing up as the icons of their favourite games.

Nintendo is also here - hyping its new titles, including "Hyrule Warriors," "Smash Bros." and new "Pokemon" games.

"Splatoon" is taking centre stage on its stand.

It's a multiplayer shooting game, that puts users in the role of half-human, half-squids.

"Splatoon is a brand-new IP (intellectual property) for us and the best way to describe it is that our vision is that Splatoon will do to action shooter games what Mario Kart did to racing games," says Reggie Fils Aime, President of Nintendo of America.

He adds that 2014 is a bumper year for Nintendo.

"Obviously, we have Smash Bros. coming both for 3DS and Wii U. In total we announced some 15 or 20 different games this year."

The Japanese company is also taking a cue from "Skylanders" and "Disney Infinity," unveiling a toy figure line called "amiibo" that will work in tandem with its video games - like the toys-meet-games franchises from Activision Blizzard and the Walt Disney Co.

The first lineup of "amiibo" figures, due out later this year, features 10 characters from well-known Nintendo franchises: the Villager from "Animal Crossing"; the "Wii Fit" trainer; sword-wielding Link from "The Legend of Zelda;" intergalactic solider Samus Aran from "Metroid"; Pikachu from "Pokemon"; iconic gorilla Donkey Kong; pink shape-shifter Kirby; and Mario, Princess Peach and Yoshi from "Super Mario Bros."

"The way we see amiibo is that it's a brand new platform for us. And we use the word platform specifically. Today it is figures. In the future it can be other things that tie into the NFC (Near Field Communication) technology built right into the GamePad," says Reggie Fils Aime.

The characters' virtual histories will be stored on the plastic figures and transmitted through the Wii U GamePad, the controller for its slow-selling Wii U console that features a touch-screen and NFC capabilities.


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