Wandering around New York earlier this week, I found myself in the vicinity of the Nintendo World Store. I thought I'd pop in and have a look. I did not expect to encounter over 300 people queuing around the block.
They were waiting for a chance at getting one of the newly-released Wave 3 Amiibos. (Perhaps I shouldn't have been so surprised - Nintendo has sold 5.7 million of the things so far, according to the latest financial report.)
As a devotee of plastic tat who has so far resisted the temptation to buy Amiibos - a decision that has since become a complexly symbolic personal quest for self-discipline - I get the appeal of them, but I honestly had no idea that they were queue-worthy. Eli, at the front of the line, had been there since 10 in the morning. He's queued here before for other things, including some of the other Amiibo releases. " "I've been visiting this store since 2001, when I was like 11 years old," he says. It's worth pointing out that New York was in the grip of some extremely inclement weather this week.
"The main reason why people are here is for the special exclusive retailer ones," reckons Eli. "Nintendo has promised all the amiibos will be in stock, including Shulk and Rosalina - that's why there are a lot of people here. This is literally the only store in American that has all of them, you don't have to purchase them online or from Target, Gamestop, Best Buy, whatever."
Further down the queue, Caitlin and Fidel have been there for a little over an hour. "We're just on the hype train. That's why we're here," says Catilin.
"When it crashes, we'll cry," adds Fidel.
"We were thinking, what is it that Nintendo specifically has done to get so many people here excited to stand in line for Amiibo?" Caitlin ponders. "The answer is nothing. They're literally like, here's a thing. Are you gonna buy it?"
Fidel hasn't queued for Amiibo before, but he's got most of them. "I'm just missing the hard-to-get ones," he says. "I'm not getting the basic ones, they'll be in stuck forever. But Marth… that's one that got real for a lot of people. Everyone likes Marth but they only made like three of them for the whole country." Both he and Caitlin are massive Fire Emblem fans.
Suddenly, the queue starts moving. People brandish their IDs. Sales are limited to one of each character per person, the security guard at the door keeps repeating. I just hope they've got enough in stock.