Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer amiibo cards are an unusual thing. After all, we’ve only seen figures until now. The Skylanders, Disney Infinity, Super Smash Bros. and even Lego Dimensions toys have all occupied valuable desk and shelf space in our homes. They’ve become dual-purpose collectibles. Yes, they make a game more interesting, but isn’t it cute how the Wii Fit Trainer looks like she’s using Dive-Clops to maintain her balance?
But when you think about it, amiibo cards are a more practical solution to a NFC population problem. The toys are like rabbits. The second a new game goes out, it’s like you sent the paid to play seven minutes in heaven in a closet. You open the door and suddenly you have two boxes full of figures instead of one. The Animal Crossing amiibo cards still offer a collecting conundrum, with 100 cards in the first volume and three more on the way, but at least they’re more easily stashed away in a binder or box, waiting for the day when they’ll finally be useful. (Soon, Animal Crossing Wii U? Maybe? Please?)
The cards are available in packs of six for $5.99, which isn’t too outlandish a price for such a thing. Compared to trading card games like Pokemon or Magic the Gathering, where booster packs are just under $4 for 10 or 15 cards, they’re expensive. These do have NFC chips inside each one, however, so the technology makes the $1 a card price more acceptable.
Surprisingly, the tech isn’t that evident in the Animal Crossing amiibo cards. Yes, they’re only slightly heavier than a standard collectible card, and the NFC chip is very obviously stowed in the upper center of the card under the amiibo logo, but it’s a relatively seamless partnership. The card isn’t weighed down by the technology and doesn’t feel as though it’s going to split in two, yet it also has a bit of give and bend to it. They don’t feel fragile.
All amiibo cards have a matte finish. There’s not much glare if they’re under direct light, which is appreciated if someone does happen to have some means of displaying them. There isn’t much flash to the “special” cards, the NFC characters that come one to a pack. They do offer some distinction, with a glitter background that shimmers a bit, even in photos, but it’s more subtle than the metallic and holographic “rares” present in other collectible card sets. It is still noticeable enough to be captured in photos.
Should someone work at it, however, it isn’t difficult to split a card in two. I recommend keeping them safe in a case or binder when not in use, as I found it quite easy to pull apart a duplicate Walker card. By bending at the upper edge, then gently tugging, it was possible to separate the two halves and see the NFC chip within. Said chip is circled in the photo above.
Nintendo’s first run of amiibo cards feels like a quality endeavor. They are well made, the technology is presented in a way that you can’t feel the chip unless you’re thoroughly groping the cards and the finish is such that all information is presented clearly and crisply, without any concern about immediate wear. As long as you don’t, you know, purposely tear into a spare Walker, these amiibo cards should last.