Physical figurines have become a small sensation in gaming thanks to the success of titles like Skylanders and Disney Infinity. At this year’s E3, Nintendo unveiled its own figurines, called Amiibos, and the first game they’re compatible with is Super Smash Bros. Wii U and Super Smash Bros. 3DS. Each of the figurines has a little chip inside it with some memory and an NFC transmitter. The Wii U GamePad also has NFC capabilities, so you can literally set your Amiibo — whether it be Mario or Pikachu — on the GamePad and it will load into the game.
How it works: Most Mario games (including Mario Kart 8) will soon incorporate Amiibos, but we only know how they’ll work in Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS. In these games, you can load your Amiibo, customize it with powers, give it special items, and level it up by facing it or co-operatively playing with it. Normal CPU characters can only go to level 9, but an Amiibo can get up to level 50, according to director Masahiro Sakurai. Types of items include vests, pants, gloves, hats — typical RPG stuff.
Amiibos will cost $10-$15 and should be out by the time Super Smash Bros. for Wii U arrives. The 3DS will get a peripheral later this year so you can use your Amiibos with the 3DS Smash Bros. game.