Nintendo introduces pleasantly peculiar innovation in Labo

Yash Chitrakar

Nintendo seems to be going back to its roots with titles like Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey, adding the sheer, rich, child-like fun that was loudly present in their yesteryear. However, they seem to have gone back even further, harkening to their years as a toy company, with their new product, Nintendo Labo, that seemingly melds toys and video games.

The Labo is a set of cardboard and rubber bands that come in preset shapes that can be assembled to form accessories that are paired with the Switch’s controllers—Joy Cons—to play a game.

“Only Nintendo could have come up with this,” said Nick Nasca, a freshman at Washburn and an avid Nintendo fan.

As with anything new, especially technology, a public debate of varying intensity is incited. It is no different among Nasca and his friends.

“We are split,” he said. “My friends either completely see this becoming a mega hit or a downright flop.”

That is what the public consensus about Nintendo’s new release has been as well.

Some say the product will peter out without much of a bang while others believe it will significantly impact the video-game market. The personalization factor—painting the cardboard to your heart’s content—is what attracts its supporters. They are hopeful that this innovation could lead to another one, one that is infinitely customizable, one that allows for the imagination to come alive.

The detractors, however, denounce its DIY nature, saying that the setup itself is too complicated for the young demographic Nintendo seems to be aiming for.

The company seems to be catering to children. Even their event, Nintendo Labo Studio, plans to give a hands-on experience to their prospective customers—provided they are parents with children aged six to twelve years old. The games, too, are definitely not hardcore games.

The two packs, Variety Kit and Robot Kit, feature colorful games with graphics akin to the recent Mario games. There are games that use the vibrations of the Joy Cons to control a cardboard car. There is a cardboard piano with 13 playable keys that can be modified to create new effects. The Robot Kit comes with one game, in which players will wear a mesh suit to control the character on screen. The games themselves resemble mini games fit for the Wii.

While this may deter some gamers, the pleasantly peculiar innovation may do the opposite. The many maybe’s and could be’s in the air right now will only be quelled when Nintendo releases the Labo in April.