To unbox Amiibo, or to not unbox Amiibo?


Amiibo take the “should you unbox” debate to dizzying new heights.

As many collectors know, deciding whether or not to unbox your collectibles can be agonizing. Do you try to preserve your collection in mint condition, or do you let your figures run free? At first glance, most assumed Amiibo collectors would fall into the later category. These Nintendo branded figures aren’t just cool looking, they can unlock new perks and outfits in your favorite Nintendo games! Since Amiibo have to be unboxed to be usable with Nintendo systems, the decision to unbox seemed like a no-brainer. There is one exception to this, but we’ll get to that later.

The thing is, now that Amiibo have been on the market for a few years, the collecting scene surrounding them didn’t quite pan out the way people initially expected.

Let’s get this out of the way: The Amiibo functionality with most video games isn’t that big of a deal.

There are exceptions, of course. Metroid: Samus Returns controversially locked a ton of content behind Amiibo, for example. But in most cases, you’re talking food falling from the sky in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In other cases, you’ll get some outfits earlier in Super Mario Odyssey or Bayonetta 2. Either way, the actual gaming component of Amiibo is “take it or leave it” a lot of times. Are they nice extras? Sure! You better believe I love using my Mega Man costume in Mario Kart. But are they enough reason to unbox collectibles when you otherwise don’t want to? Probably not.

That said, if you’re a Shovel Knight fan, then you’re in luck. Yacht Club Games threw collectors a bone by making the Shovel Knight Amiibo work in box. We’re not sure if the upcoming Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove 3 Pack set will work the same way, but it’s reasonable to assume that’ll be the case.

The other problem with unboxing Amiibo is… well, the boxes themselves. Unlike other collectibles, Amiibo boxes are not designed to be preserved. The cardboard does look cool, but it’s impossible to get the figures out without tearing up the box it came with. This has led purist collectors to particularly desire boxed Amiibo on the second hand market. If the boxes can stand upright and the figures can still be appreciated, then why bother unboxing them?

Fortunately, there is a decent way to unbox Amiibo without totally destroying the box. By carefully using a box cutter, it’s possible to carve out the plastic casing of the figures without damaging the cardboard. For best results, I recommend leaving the top part of the plastic intact so it can be neatly folded out and back in after the figure is removed. I tried using this method with an old pair of scissors for the sake of science, and even without being super particular, the results were definitely acceptable. You can see the fruits of my labor in the Palutena pictures above and below.

How to Unbox Amiibo

How to open an Amiibo box without damaging the cardboard.

In the end, the decision to unbox Amiibo should be entirely up to your preference. On one hand, the allure of micro-DLC for your video games probably isn’t enough to unbox if you otherwise don’t want to. On the other hand, the box can be decently preserved with a little effort, and the figures look great on a stand. I love my unboxed collection, but that’s just me. Visualize whether you like your collection boxed or unboxed better, and you’ll definitely be happier than listening to what some stranger on the internet thinks is better.

I mean, what some other stranger on the internet thinks is better. Obviously my advice is indisputable.


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Written by TimM
Tim is a video game aficionado who is fascinated by pop culture. He built his first collection in 1999 by catching all 151 monsters in Pokemon Red, and he hasn't stopped collecting since. His work has been featured multiple times on Destructoid.com.