Back when I was a kid, I built a model of the Tardis Console from season 13 using my parent’s cable spool coffee table and a healthy supply of cardboard. Although I could travel anywhere I wanted to in my mind (Calvin & Hobbes style), I wasn’t able to leave the confines of my yard. Fast forward a few decades and Nintendo will make my cardboard dreams come true with the Nintendo Labo accessory for the Switch.
What is Nintendo Labo?
Nintendo Labo is an accessory for the Switch featuring kits that use cardboard cutouts and other materials you assemble and use with the Switch and Joy-Con controllers to create ‘Toy-Cons’–interactive constructs, such as a functioning piano, a virtual fishing game, robots and more. For me, the use of cardboard and other pliable materials is both a great idea and, perhaps, a wasteful application.
On the one hand, the Labo peripherals will undoubtedly spark creativity in both kids and adults while being easily customized and repaired if damaged. On the other hand, you can only fix them so many times before the cardboard wears out, a potentially concerning issue with DIY toys. Then again, users may merely create better versions with better materials, which is basically what Labo is all about–creativity.
That being said, the Labo accessory comes in two kit versions with the Variety Kit featuring materials to build five different Toy-Cons, including an RC car, fishing rod, toy piano, motorbike and house, each with their own interactive game. The second version is the Robot Kit, which features a wearable mecha suit that tracks the wearer’s movements (via the Joy-Con controllers), allowing them to rampage as a robot in the virtual world. The Switch is worn as a headset, giving you a complete view of what you are destroying in-game.
Nintendo will release the Labo accessory in April of this year (2018) with others planned for the future. You can pre-order the sets on Amazon–both the Variety Kit ($70) and the Robot Kit ($80). It seems like a lot of money for cardboard cutouts, but Nintendo’s banking on the ingenuity aspect in hopes of spurring creativity and, I have to admit, I would have loved to have this when I was a kid.
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