In a turn no one could have ever predicted, Nintendo has announced something called Labo, or various kinds of cardboard peripherals for the Switch that introduce new and unique interactive experiences for the console.
If anything, it's an initiative that will fuse Nintendo's strength in the software and hardware department with cardboard accessories that are easy to assemble. Before the announcement, Nintendo teased that the then-unnamed project is targeted for kids and "kids at heart." That indeed seems to be the case.
What Is Nintendo Labo?
So, what exactly is Nintendo Labo? Well, remember the Wii Wheel that turned the Wii Remote into a steering wheel that complemented games such as Mario Kart Wii and others? Well, Nintendo Labo is exactly like that, but the accessories are made of cardboard, and it includes all sorts of different physical interfaces, not just a steering wheel.
In a sense, Nintendo Labo is a kind of toy that is more apparent considering they're made of cardboard. As seen in the trailer, there are two "Toy-Cons": the Variety Kit and the Robot Kit. The former comes with different sets of cardboard templates to be cut out and assembled by the player, including one for a portable MIDI piano, a house, a motorbike, two RC cars, and a fishing rod. The latter comes with cardboard sheets that can be turned into a backpack accessory, plus headgear that mimics the look of a robot. Both kits, it's worth noting, come with their own software.
The peripherals integrate the Switch in a variety of ways. For instance, the console is inserted in the middle of the portable piano to make tunes. In another instance, the player docks their Switch faces the TV screen and uses the Robot Kit to punch enemies or constructions. It is less immersive than what virtual reality offers, but it does call back the ingenuity of motion controls, a form of play Nintendo championed.
The designs are absolutely novel and unique, and who knows if Nintendo plans on unveiling more sets apart from the two initially introduced? From the looks it, Labo is going to become a source of creativity and innovative ideas from some of the most crafty players who love tinkering with toys. Nintendo has always succeeded in appealing to kids and those who are kids at heart, and Labo is no exception.