Nintendo Labo has just arrived for the Switch. At first glance, I was not pulled in by Labo and did not understand it fully. Now that it is out in the hands of consumers, I have been able to really see how it works, and I have to say it is incredibly innovative.
Labo, at first blush, is just cardboard with a game. The cardboard is made to be folded into various controller shapes such as: a fishing pole, piano or even a robot suit.
At the time of this writing, there are two sets available— the variety kit and the robot kit. The variety kit contains the fishing pole, piano, motorcycle grip, house and two RC cars. The robot kit contains the cardboard needed to build your own robot suit. Both kits come with their own software to interact with the cardboard “controllers” using either the joy-con or the Switch console its self.
While the kits seem like a great gimmick, that is all I saw them as. I viewed it as a great project for a child but didn’t see much replay-ability. The magic comes with the software, which includes games and the Toy Con Garage, software included with both kits, that allow the user to use some programming concepts to let input and output come from the Switch’s joy-con controllers. What this means is that you can now create your own inventions and simple games.
Just days after the release of Labo, the internet is already inundated with people’s creations, some neat, some not so much. I have seen drums, a cat toy, a guitar and even a simple playable version of Donkey Konga. With the available options the sky is the limit for Labo. The most important feature to me is that Labo not only teaches the basics of programming, but also makes the process fun and instantly rewarding. I am a huge proponent of learning coding and logic skills at a young age to get ahead of our fast paced, high tech world.
Nintendo continues to innovate and surprise me at every turn, this is the main reason I will continue to be a fan. Labo also went above and beyond my expectations of what it was and what it could do. Not only are the games and software top notch, the addition of the Toy-Con Garage was new information to me and in my opinion increases the worth of the overall product. Coming in at $69 for some cardboard and a game seemed steep, but the quality of the overall product changed my mind.
If you haven’t even heard of Labo before this article, do yourself a favor and go check it out online. There are many Youtube videos available that will explain the ins and outs of what Labo is and how to use it.