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You've Been Using Your Amiibo Wrong This Whole Time

As cute or cool as fans may find Nintendo's amiibo line to be, not every first-time collector may know exactly what they have in terms of their complete functionality. Nintendo revealed its take on the toys-to-life figurines popularized by "Skylanders" way back at E3 2014, when then-Nintendo Treehouse Manager Bill Trinen gave a direct comparison to the character trophies seen in "Super Smash Bros. Melee."

Nintendo's official amiibo webpage has grown exponentially since the original " Super Smash Bros. Wii U" wave of 12 fighters, reaching over 200 figurines and character cards from series both in and outside of the Nintendo universe — and with some becoming far more expensive than others. However, before aspiring collectors dive into this well of plastic nostalgia, it helps to know the different types of amiibo. They function using NFC; near-field communication chips (via Android Authority), and actually come in two varieties that function differently for their compatible games. In addition, a number of older amiibo possess surprising functionality for newer games. In other words, you may already have something in your amiibo collection that will work with the hottest new releases, and you may not even realize it.

Understanding amiibo functionality

Nintendo classifies amiibo as either "Read-only" or "Read/Write compatible." In short, the code belonging to each amiibo enables collectors of both types to unlock extra content in compatible games, but only the "Read/Write compatible" variety can save data. These amiibo store data in the figurines themselves, allowing collectors to bring them to any compatible Nintendo system. 

In "Super Smash Bros. Wii U," for instance, players can level up the character on their trophy to grow stronger and assign them custom moves (per IGN). This functionality carries over to "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate," but swaps out custom moves for Spirit abilities.

As mentioned previously, older amiibo may also function with newer games. The Wolf Link amiibo released for "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD" also brings Wolf Link into "Breath of the Wild" as a companion. Meanwhile, the Samus and E.M.M.I figurines for "Metroid Dread" caused an uproar when players found out the hard-to-get set granted them extra missiles and health. But if collectors do not want to deal with hunting them down and paying a pretty penny, and they only desire the free recharges, then they're in luck: The "Smash Bros." amiibo for Samus, Dark Samus and Ridley also provide these recharges (per Nintendo Wire).

For small models of everyones' favorite Nintendo characters, amiibo sure have a surprising depth to them.