Nintendo was a latecomer to the toys-to-life market, debuting their first wave of 12 amiibo figures in November 2014, three years after the first Skylanders game had torn asunder the wallets of unprepared parents worldwide. The entire 56-character roster of Super Smash Bros figures were eventually released over a sixteen-month period, excluding DLC exclusive fighters such as Cloud and Bayonetta. Three Hundred grossly overpriced Animal Crossing amiibo cards are currently available, allowing players to invite beloved characters such as Joey or Stinky into their homes and heart containers. No less than four different variations of Bowser amiibo are available for purchase, despite ongoing claims about his rampant misogyny and discriminatory hiring practices in the Mushroom Kingdom.
To say Waluigi fans have been waiting a long time for his amiibo release is putting it mildly. Some have labelled Luigi’s arch-rival, first introduced in 2000 for Mario Tennis on the Nintendo 64, “one of the most unimportant characters in video game history”, but his popularity as a cultural icon has grown exponentially since. His relegation to an assist trophy in the Smash Bros series remains a heinous oversight, and the Wii U’s market failure is nowadays largely attributed to the absence of any major Waluigi centered games (citation needed). Now his amiibo has finally arrived, was it worth the wait?
The Waluigi amiibo is a member of the Wave 2 set of Super Mario amiibo, released to coincide with Mario Party Star Rush for the Nintendo 3DS. He features on the box art for the game in all regions, spared from the indignation of erasure that befell Rosalina. The amiibo is compatible with over 15 other Nintendo titles, but is typically treated as a standard ‘other’ amiibo, with functionality interchangeable with other figures. Other than unlocking his, admittedly excellent, 8-bit character in Super Mario Maker, there is little to get excited about here. The Nintendo Switch presentation sadly offered no new Waluigi-based news, but all amiibos will be compatible with the new console.
The level of detail in the Waluigi amiibo is sublime, from his striking arch eyebrows down to his firm, pointed boots. The sharp angles of his joints form a defiant, victorious pose of unrepentant confidence. There is no ugly transparent plastic holding him in place as seen in other amiibo figures, as if held upright by the strength of his own convictions. The first generation of amiibo were often criticised in comparison to other toys-to-life, due to uneven painting and simplistic detail. In contrast, the Waluigi amiibo exists as a near perfect model, flawless in execution, and on par with Disney Infinity’s greatest sculpts. An amiibo of this calibre can be excused for its limited digital capability on the basis of its stunning aesthetic. While Super Waluigi 64 remains an impossible fantasy, the Waluigi amiibo now exists in our reality, with all the boundless imaginative potential of a toy.