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Nintendo's Amiibo Takes on Skylanders with Mario, Kirby

If you or your little one have shelves full of interactive toys for "Disney Infinity" and "Skylanders," it's time to make room for Mario. Today (June 10), Nintendo unveiled its Amiibo platform, which will allow gamers to use a series of near-field communication (NFC) figurines with select Wii U games starting this holiday season.

Classic Nintendo characters Mario, Link, Samus, Donkey Kong, Kirby and Yoshi are among the first Amiibo figurines shown off during Nintendo's E3 2014 livestream. Each figurine stores its own data and connects to the Wii U via the system's tablet-shaped Wii U gamepad.

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The Amiibo platform will debut alongside long-awaited fighting game "Super Smash Bros. for Wii U." Once you connect an Amiibo figurine to your Wii U, you'll be able to fight as, or against, that character in the game.

Your Amiibo character grows stronger the more you use it, and you'll be able to hang on to your favorite fighter's stats and abilities when you bring your figurine to a friend's house.

NFC-based figurines are typically associated with children's games, but Amiibo could find a niche with the devoted competitive scene surrounding the "Smash Bros." series. The platform could allow for more variety and strategy in tournament play, since players can take their unique version of Mario, Kirby or any other character with them anywhere.

While "Smash Bros" seems to be Nintendo's big focus for Amiibo, the platform will also support the newly released "Mario Kart 8" as well as upcoming Nintendo titles such as "Mario Party 10," "Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker" and "Yoshi's Woolly World." Nintendo also plans to bring Amiibo to its Nintendo 3DS handheld,via a wireless platform on which the figurines can be docked.

With Amiibo, "Skylanders: Trap Team" and "Disney Infinity 2.0" all launching at the end of the year, it's going to be an expensive holiday season for parents. Given the popularity of Mario and company, Nintendo could certainly shake up this ever growing toy-based gaming space.

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