Nintendo announced a collection of do-it-yourself cardboard construction kits and games for the Switch today, they’re called Labo.
They’ll be available in two different kits, each one holds the Switch and Joy-Cons to make something new.
Toy-Con 01 is the Variety Kit for $70 and includes 5 different cardboard projects for building a house, RC cars, motorcycle handlebars, a fishing rod, or a piano.
Toy-Con 02 is the Robot Kit and is entirely focused on building a cardboard mech suit for some smashing mech games. This set will be $80.
Labo looks like a lot of fun for anyone interested in building fun toys, and both kits will be out on 4/20/18 here in the US, and 7 days later in Europe.
Nintendo also has some trials set up in New York City and San Francisco for parents with kids 6-12. Check here for details.
The more complex constructions are a telescopic fishing rod with a working reel, attached to a base with elastic bands and string for realistic tension; a cardboard model of a piano with springy keys; an abstract motorbike, with handles and a pedal; a little house. Each contraption is made out of cardboard and string, and transforms into a digitally augmented toy when you slot Joy-Con controllers and the Switch screen into it. The piano, especially, is quite amazing, and takes about two hours to build. The infrared camera on the Joy-Con controller can see reflective strips of tape on the back of the keys, which come into view when a key is pressed, telling the game software to play the right note. Cardboard dials and switches modify the tone and add effects to the sound.
The principles behind each construction – Toy-Cons, as Nintendo calls them – are explained by cartoon characters, putting a child-friendly spin on coding and engineering. On the Switch screen, you can view a cross-section of each model that illustrates what the Joy-Con camera can see and how it works. This educational element is geared towards curious children, but it’s also illuminating for an adult – seeing how these toys work only increases your appreciation of their ingenuity.
The most complex construction, which will be sold separately, is a cardboard mech suit that transforms your entire body into a Transformers-style robot in the game, translating your punches and kicks into building-levelling virtual smashes.
It’s great that some of these kits can take two hours to build, that’s on the order of some of the more difficult Lego sets. Although, the Switch’s battery might be very low after getting through construction.
The video ad also includes some projects that Nintendo hasn’t talked about yet, like a camera, maybe those will be in future sets.
I’m pretty psyched for these kits, but it’s going to be a few years before my son is ready for playing with the finished projects.