Nintendo’s Bill Trinen on the Origin of the Amiibo Name

A while ago, Always Nintendo posited the origin of the name “amiibo”, the moniker of Nintendo’s fast-approaching NFC toys. Initially designed to take advantage of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, their naming remains a puzzlement. Is it a reference to “ameba” Just call Bill Trinen’s name, he’ll be there in a hurry to explain the intent behind the name. In an interview with TIME, he explained that amiibo comes from a Japanese turn of phrase for “friend”. He says:

They came up with the name in Japan, and the ‘amii’ portion comes from a little something in Japanese that conveys the sentiment of friend, of playing with your friend. That’s what they’re really trying to convey with it. I think for us it sounds a little like amigo. That’s not the origin of the name, but it conveys the intent.

So while we were right that the naming could come from “amigo”, it’s a meaning more relevant to us in the west, whereas amiibo’s name actually comes from the Japanese language. That makes sense as the very Japanese Nintendo came up with the concept of NFC toys to use across multiple games. And the fact that the toys are fighter companions in Smash Bros. makes it even more relevant.

Now that Nintendo put out an explanation on the amiibo name, are you satisfied about the unconventional name?

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A man with a plan. My favorite video game franchise is Pokemon, but his favorite video game is Resident Evil 4. I can also tell you trivial cartoon factoids.