When people heard that Nintendo had another surprise announcement to make today, I don’t think anyone expected Nintendo Labo. This is essentially a range of DIY cardboard peripherals taking the Nintendo Switch and its Joy-Con and transforming them into all manner of things, from fishing rods and pianos to robot suits and motorbikes, and letting these interact with games.
It’s basically magic in cardboard form, as far as I’m concerned.
Magic doesn’t come cheap though, with the cardboard stencils priced at $69. Launching on 27th April, this range of “Toy-Con” – Nintendo have got their “punny” hat on today – will be shipped out to players in the form of modular sheets of cardboard that you then build at home following the instructions on the Switch. There will be two sets available to start with, the Variety Kit including an RC car, fishing rod, house, motorbike handle bars and piano, and the Robot Kit which is a wearable robot suit.
That magic is made possible by the features of the Switch and Joy-Con. The piano actually detects the keys moving using the infrared sensor on the right Joy-Con, while the RC car moves by channelling the sensitive HD Rumble of the Joy-Con through the cardboard. It’s simply ingenious.
All of this will be previewed at a Nintendo Labo Workshop event, where kids, parents, press and YouTubers will be able to go hands on and build some of this stuff. You can register your interest in the event here, which will run from 14th-16th February.
Finally, long term Nintendo fans may note that Nintendo Labo has replaced the Wii U tab on the Nintendo website. I’m sure some people will be shedding a tear for the disappearance of a hugely under-appreciated console.