It can never be said that Nintendo lacks imagination in its products, because time and time again the gaming company manages to innovate while others simply maintain. Indeed, the Japanese expression for “leave luck to heaven” in which the hardware manufacturer based its name on is more than just a monicker, instead making it known that it’s an entire way of thinking for the firm. An identity, if you will.
This much was made clear with the debut of the home/portable hybrid known as the Nintendo Switch in March 2017, but just when fans thought they’d realized what to expect from the console, they’re greeted with something entirely different.
Cue Nintendo Labo.
There’s something so fantastical about the newest Nintendo venture from a creative standpoint. The title looks to be one of the most engaging means of interacting with kids – and kids-at-heart, as the branding proclaims – in recent memory, allowing hopeful consumers to create predesigned cardboard devices (referred to as Toy-Con) in order to interact with software running on the Switch unit.
Simply named but surprisingly complex in design, Nintendo has provided a tantalizing prospect to consumers looking for a different approach to interacting with its hardware – one that removes initial barriers and promotes accessibility in a similar manner to that of the Nintendo Wii. That’s not to say that Nintendo Labo stands to become the next Wii Sports, but the easily marketable and unique premise sets it apart from some of the other games en route.
As of this writing, there will be two lines kicking off the Labo initiative on April 20, 2018: Variety Kit and Robot Kit. There’s little doubt that each bundle offers some genuine appeal for parents and wannabe inventors alike, and while the prospect of building intricate toys was a field previously best left to LEGO in the past, there’s now suddenly a much more intriguing option on the marketplace for gaming-savvy parents.
It’s brilliant how this endeavour plays to the ever-desired imagination of the masses, allowing them to create through instruction pamphlets. Once fans set aside the whimsical-ness of the newest initiative though, there’s something financially spectacular for shareholders to cling to – all of these peripherals are made out of cardboard.
There would be a big question mark surrounding Nintendo Labo‘s success if it required consumers to purchase plastic accessories, but the house of Mario realized that there’s actually more appeal in the D.I.Y. approach to this product line than there would be if the premise was reduced to dropping the Switch into a 13-key piano and attempting to self-teach Hot Cross Buns. The bonus to this design and the material is is comprised of is, of course, that it suddenly becomes a lot less expensive to mass produce.
Meanwhile, the software that accompanies the kits seems to either be simple in design or based on prior tech demos and projects; the latter point stems from the Robot Kit and its eerily similar look to the defunct Wii U title Project Giant Robot.
None of this is meant to stand as a negative, especially given how complex and inventive both Nintendo Labo kits appear to be. Churning out a profitable and innovative product is also the furthest thing to highlight as a negative for any company, but instead this appears to be a brilliant move from Nintendo – a firm that seems keen on continuously upsetting the status quo.
It’s still too early to say how Nintendo Labo will perform once its premiere bundles arrive on the marketplace later this Spring, especially since a price point is still missing in action for Canadian games (although it’s $69.99 USD), but things continue to look up for a firm that many forecasted doom and gloom for roughly a year ago.
Nintendo Labo and its first two kits arrive exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on April 20, 2018.
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