These confessions have ranged from shameless self-exploitation to silly. This one is pure shame.

The first confession I wrote was a rant about Pokemon and Skylanders. The real theme of the post was that Japan is good at selling crap to American children – by extension man-children. In general the video game industry has gotten fantastic at marketing nostalgia. I have a resistance to nostalgia. It’s a strength and weakness. It helps me write reviews and not buy stuff but it can prevent me from indulging in some simpler joys.

This confession shows a flaw in my armor. It also shows that I can’t resist Japan forever. Simply put, I have an Amiibo on the way direct from Japan. Little Mac specifically.

As far as I can tell Amiibo are the best example of Japan Selling Crap to Nostalgic Man-Children. It’s such a successful product campaign that even I have fallen prey. Apparently some of them are harder to get than others – exclusivity always sells. To understand how I ended up caving to impulse, we need to go on a journey.

Growing up most of my friends were older than me. It became obvious when we played video games together. Basically I was the one taking lives from my friends when we played NES TMNT game. Punch Out was the first time a friend had to pass the controller to me. It felt good.

Reflecting now, Little Mac really resonated with me even then. He might be the first character I felt a connection to. RPGs didn’t grab a hold of me until the SNES era. Mac’s story was immediately identifiable. Sure it was an archetypal tale but so was save the girl. Little guy takes on a pantheon of giants was just more compelling even then. I mean, I was the little guy after all.

And that is really at the core of my obsession with Little Mac. He’s the original NES underdog. His message is a simple one about hard work and grit. Basically Little Mac is a champion for the people. A sort of “People’s Champ” if you will.

Beyond that there’s some great analysis to be had with Punch Out. There’s something to be said for how each opponent serves as a caricature of male stereotypes for their respective countries. And there’s a neat little juxtaposition between Mac, who wears pink, and the beefcake traditional male views on masculinity he’s always fighting. But that’s a discussion for another time I suppose.

Fast forwarding a bit, my love of Punch Out became a convention tradition. I didn’t even notice it was becoming one until a friend pointed it out. Every year for the last ten (of the fifteen years) that I’ve attended a convention, I get drunk and play Punch Out at least once. There’s a lot of other behaviors I repeat but a convention doesn’t feel right until I’ve completed this particular ritual.

It’s appropriate that the Anime Milwaukee convention this year planted the initial seed for me wanting an Amiibo. There was a thoroughly entertaining tournament featuring them. That seed continued to grow each week at my friend’s house. We meet up for DND every Sunday and he often has his Amiibos fighting in the background when we game.

When a different friend, one currently residing in Japan, posted a message on Facebook featuring Little Mac and some other rarer prints, the stars aligned. I had to have one. I immediately messaged him and do not regret it. I’m not trying to justify myself here. I deserve my shame.

If I’m to own an Amiibo it should be one that is an homage to my past. One that solidifies old interests with new traditions. I own other collectibles. But this Little Mac statue is important. He’s a symbol. That he can beat up other robot statues in a video game is just a bonus. And besides he might be better at landing his star-punch than I am in Smash. Seriously… I suck really bad at that. Yet another thing to be ashamed of.