Nintendo Labo: Thinking Outside the (Cardboard) Box

Nintendo really had a great year. 2017 brought creative games and systems to the table, such as the Switch, the two well-received games Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, and a new addition to the still-popular 3DS family of consoles.

However, they weren’t done yet; they rang in the New Year with a unique accessory for their latest home console in mid-January. Named collectively as Nintendo Labo, this line of assorted do-it-yourself cardboard pieces for the Switch aims to increase the interactivity between players and their video games. In the words of Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime, it is “an exciting evolution of the Nintendo Switch platform.” The company plans to release two sets on April 20 of this year for a starting price of $70. Digital Trends noted it has already been a best-selling item for pre-order on Amazon.

From Nintendo’s website, Labo has three aspects to its design: make, play, and discover.

 Make different creations from a piano to a fishing pole or a motor bike with step-by-step instructions.

Play with those creations with a Nintendo Switch. Hold a recital, win a race, or catch a fish!

Discover the mechanics as you build and play with them.

According to The Verge, each set comes with a few cardboard sheets, strings, and a game cartridge that show step-by-step directions to construct them. The Joy-Cons each have an integral part in the process as well—for example, the Switch becomes the controller for the car (one of the many “Toy-Con” creations in one of the kits) by vibrating each of the controllers, effectively “steering” the car. Labo also teaches how basic set pieces work, explaining the concepts of infrared cameras and motion controls. Options exist for customizing each Nintendo Labo set (like paint, stickers, etc.) through a Customization Kit releasing alongside the two kits, selling for about $10 each.

Nintendo Labo’s announcement video has 11 million views on YouTube at the time of this writing and has garnered mixed, yet mostly positive reactions from consumers. “It’s just overpriced cardboard! There’s no special use from it,” remarked Chris Tapia, a freshman Mechanical Engineering student who thinks Labo is just a gimmick. An anonymous student praised its innovative mechanics and stated: “It looks pretty unique and quirky, but then again, this is Nintendo we’re talking about. Of course it’ll be something unexpected.” With about three more months until launch, only time will tell whether or not Labo will be the next big thing going for the 129-year-old company.

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