On January 17th, Nintendo announced a new project that no one could see coming. Nintendo Labo: the fusion of DIY Crafting and the Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo has always been a company that has pursued innovation. It has led them to some of their greatest successes, and consequently, their greatest failures. This innovation is something that I have always admired about the company. Other gaming companies tend to play it safe, while Nintendo is never afraid to leap off the cliff. Nintendo Labo is one of those leaps.
About the Nintendo Labo
The Nintendo Labo kits are DIY assembly cardboard projects that interface with the Nintendo Switch. Within the Nintendo Labo Variety Kit, players can create five different unique cardboard projects. These range from a 13-key Piano, a House, to even a Motorbike. Within each individual project are unique ways that the joy-cons and the Nintendo Switch screen are used. For instance, with the Motorbike, the joy cons are in the handles. And with the House, by inserting one joy con into the side of the home, you can create all sorts of magic or havoc on screen. The Nintendo Labo Variety Kit will be available for $69.99
Another kit available is the Robot Kit. This kit is essentially a DIY Cardboard and VR Nintendo Switch fusion. Players can construct a “Robot Suit” that adheres to motion triggers in the arms, with the Switch screen placed in a visor. With this, players can physically control the robot they see on the screen in front of them. This kit is separate from the Variety Kit and is currently priced at $79.99. Finally, additional customization kits that include stickers, colors and other decors will be available separately.
What does the Nintendo Labo mean?
Perhaps the Nintendo Labo is the company’s way of solidifying a younger demographic for the Nintendo Switch and encouraging additional creative gameplay. The target audience for the project appears to be primarily children. On their website, Nintendo is even advertising free Nintendo Labo marketing events in New York City and San Francisco for kids ages 6-12.
This isn’t too much of a surprise. Family-friendly and Nintendo go together like peanut butter and chocolate. One of their best properties has constantly been targeted towards adolescent and family play (Mario Party, Mario Kart, all of the other Mario Games, etc). Currently, the Nintendo Switch seems to be doing well with gamers of older demographics. This is especially evident with Nintendo’s partnership with Bethesda. Rated R games such as Doom and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus are available on the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo Labo is Nintendo’s bridge to the youth.
Personally, I wouldn’t be opposed to owning a Nintendo Labo Variety Kit! The Piano and the Fishing Rod kits really excite me, a 25-year-old adult. However, the Nintendo Labo has not resonated as well with other adults. Upon its announcement, it received a bit of negative kickback from older fans and gamers. They cited the project as “too childish”. Furthermore, some have interpreted these as envious statements because the project is not necessarily geared towards adults. This is just a reminder that you cannot please everyone, even in gaming.
I am truly looking forward to the release of the Nintendo Labo kits in April 2018. I hope this new and brave venture is successful for Nintendo. Additionally, I look forward to the company’s continual innovation in the gaming front in the years to come.
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