Shortly after Nintendo’s unannounced, unexpected Mini Direct, it was teased that they would be releasing a statement about a new and interactive way to play on Nintendo Switch. In a three minute video, Nintendo Labo was introduced to consumers and no one saw it coming. I’ve watched the video several times still trying to wrap my head around it, still coming up with new possibilities, because once you see that short video you cannot unsee it, and it will change the way you look at your Switch as a modern gaming console.
Nintendo Labo will come in two packages at $70 and $80 price points, coming with a game cartridge and several sheets of cardboard cut-outs that you use to build peripherals that interact with the tablet screen and joy-con controllers. Fully assembled, they are referred to as toy-cons, and appropriately so, they are toys. Longtime Nintendo fans will not see that as strange, the company has forever projected itself as a toy maker, even going so far as opting out of the console wars that the original NES started.
The first toy-con in the video is a fully functional tiny piano, screen goes in front, one joy-con goes in the side using the optical sensor to determine which keys you are pressing to emit the proper tone.
Each piece of cardboard comes flat packed and perforated to be punched out and folded up like a cereal box toy, and Nintendo Switch components are inserted to bring the toy-con to life.
After the piano, the toy-con that blew my mind was the “bugs,” no one knows what these are going to be called yet but the bug gets a joy-con on either side and is controlled by using the touchscreen. You literally drive a tangible creation of your own around using the joy-con HD rumble functionality.
I pictured several critters skittering around the kitchen floor, but I wondered how I’m going to afford all the switches it would take to mobilize a cardboard horde of toy-con bugs. So many things popped into my head, Nintendo staff have been talking about hiring fresh talent that has never played games in their life. This makes so much sense after seeing the Labo video, I can imagine top Nintendo creators handing switch consoles, rugged cardboard and box cutters to a room full of structural engineer toy designers with the direction to make something new and exciting. Out comes a piano, critters brought to life, and this, a backpack looking device with rubber bands and pulleys you wear on your back, over your head and hold in your hand to operate an upright standing mech of some sort in what is sure to be a new sandbox type game.
Not long ago the numbers came out that Switch is outselling PS4 3 to 1. New console comes out and consumers want to know, what is the new AAA first party experience to be had using the fresh technology, Nintendo’s answer, DIY cardboard arts and crafts. Better yet, the cardboard cutouts will be available free online. So much has come from Nintendo over the past few days about the companies ambitions to topple Wii sales figures, reach “gamers” that have never gamed before, and come up with new ways to play. This short video shows that they are supremely committed to that goal like no other company could be. In one year Nintendo took back over the gaming console market, only to reinforce the fact that they are a toy company that is going to do what they want. Nintendo will always be known for thinking on their own about things no one else would ever think of.
Full video @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3Bd3HUMkyU