Ever since we learned that the Wii U's GamePad would have a built-in NFC receiver (the tech that makes Skylanders toys warp into the game and thus print money for Activision), we knew that Nintendo would find clever and unique ways to work it into its biggest games. The first implementation, though, leaves much to be desired: You'll be able to buy Pokmon toys and bring them to life... in Pokmon Rumble U, one of the least interesting Pokmon spin-off ever. Come on, Nintendo--we know you can do better.
While we're all for new IPs built specifically for NFC tech, we think some pre-existing franchises could benefit greatly from the interesting feature. Plus, Nintendo needs to jumpstart Wii U sales, and the best way to do that is with some familiar faces--especially if those faces are also printed onto little toys you can put on your GamePad to unlock cool stuff.
What the toys would be: A single unique Pikmin that looks unlike any found in the games.
How the game would use it: It's likely too late for Nintendo to bake NFC goodness into Pikmin 3 (unless it keeps getting delayed), but we're setting our sights on the future. Nintendo could sell "Hero" units (in little, adorable containers that would look like flowers or space ships) that would join your army, taking the place of a single standard Pikmin. Each would have unique powers, resistances, and vulnerabilities, as well as a different personality that makes it stand out. They could level up, too, growing in power as you use them. That way, if a friend needs help, you could lend him your hero to fight in his Pikmin army.
Super Smash Bros.
What the toys would be: Different versions of every character on the roster.
How the game would use it: While we're tempted to suggest the ability to buy characters, we think that might create some balance issues. Also, we'd run out of money. Like, literally, we'd be broke as hell. So, for balance reasons (and because we like not being bankrupt), we think different toys could be sold with alternate costumes. Real alternate costumes, not pallet swaps--we don't want to spend $4 to get a blue hat for Link. Better yet, you could store your wins/losses on the figure, letting you continue improving your ratio when you play local multiplayer at your friend's house. Oh, and there's the added bonus of being able to buy little figures of your favorite Nintendo characters, even if you don't even own a Wii U--it's win-win!
What the toys would be: Pokmon. Like, all of the pokmon. All 600-something pokmon. All of them.
How the game would use it: This is the most obvious one, but we're going to talk about it anyway because we want to and the more we talk about it the more excited we get so we're super excited right now (you guys). We think Pokmon Rumble U is a test for a real Pokmon game on the Wii U, one that actually has you buying miniature figures and then battling them against friends. Odds are it'd be more like Pokmon Colosseum than Pokmon Black/White (seriously, Nintendo would need to be in big trouble before throwing the "full Pokmon RPG on consoles Hail Mary pass). But we'd think it'd include the ability to transfer your toys into your 3DS game, too, further fueling the need to buy 'em all.
What the toys would be: Different animal residents (bearing gifts).
How the game would use it: Interacting with your anthropomorphic animal neighbors is the best part of Animal Crossing, so it makes sense that you'd be able to head to the store and buy a little figurine of one. They would come in little train car packages, then arrive via train in the game, because Nintendo loves doing stuff like that. Then they'd jump out, give you a table or a shirt or something, and build a house--moving into your neighborhood just like any other citizen. They'd also be able to be stored back onto the toy if you want to give them to a friend, or just bring one along for a visit. Imagine swapping citizens with friends at school/work, and you'll see why this would be an incredible use of NFC that totally has to happen.
What the toys would be: Karts and new characters.
How the game would use it: While adding new characters to Smash Bros. via NFC toys would likely cause balance issues, we think Nintendo could get away with including them in Mario Kart without a problem. Though most of the toys would be new karts that anyone could use, there could be super rare versions that actually let you race as a new character. Nintendo could give them out at events, or simply sell them in blind boxes at stores. Seriously--tell us you wouldn't spend all of your money trying to get a super rare, gold-plated kart.
What the toys would be: Characters, complete with their own quests and items.
How the game would use it: Fire Emblem's tactical brilliance is enhanced by its characters. Meeting new fighters and leveling them up is half of the game, and with the addition of a relationship system in Fire Emblem Awakening, bonding different couples plays a major role in the game. Being able to add in new characters via toy would be great--and they could each come with their own short mission set, making it essentially an awesome piece of DLC (that happens to come with a sweet toy).
Yoshi's Epic Yarn
What the toys would be: Little, knit versions of Yoshi in different colors.
How the game would use it: Hm? What? A game? We just want knit Yoshis for our desks. There's a game, too? Cool! Well, we suppose it could tie into that, with different knit Yoshis being... unlockable? Honestly, we don't care--we just want some Yoshi toys we can cuddle with.
All of the toys
There's likely a dozen things we haven't even thought of that Nintendo is planning right now. Maybe the next big Nintendo franchise will be an NFC-exclusive concept, with a new set of characters and a brand new world! Nah, it'll likely be an old IP with NFC-enabled toys--that's what it's going to be. What do you hope Nintendo does with the tech? Let us know in the comments, below!
And if you're looking for more, check out the best SNES games and a list of what the original 151 Pokemon would taste like.