What do you get when you combine cardboard and gaming software to create a DIY children’s Toy-Con toy? The Nintendo Labo.
Launching in April 2018, the concept behind the Labo is pretty simple: purchase a kit, pop out the perforated pieces of cardboard, snap them together, customize to your heart’s content, launch the software, and play.
The Labo will be offered in the following three kits:
*The Variety Kit ($69.99) will contain these projects:
a) A fishing rod – a functioning cardboard rod and reel
b) A motorbike – handlebars that can be manipulated to mimic riding an actual bike
c) A house – uses various cardboard inputs to work with software
d) A radio-controlled car – a wheelless cardboard vehicle that actually moves
e) A piano – a small 13-key piano that allows the playing and recording of music
*The Robot Kit ($79.99)
The more complex of the kits, this one will allow children to assemble a wearable robot “suit” and pretend they are an out of control robot tearing through a city.
*The Customization Kit ($9.99)
Small accessories and decorations will make up this add-on kit.
Labo kits will allow children to explore and understand the mechanics behind the toys they build, thus providing them a better comprehension of how each one works when they are played with. Coupled with the color, paint, and stickers of the Customization Kit, children will also be able to creatively personalize their creations.
The likelihood of parents working with their children to assemble each kit exists. Forbes reports: “The building process is extremely intuitive; the software shows animated steps that you can fast-forward or rewind through, and with the touchscreen the blueprint can be twisted and flipped around for better viewing. It’s very obvious how this could involve both parents and children working in conjunction to create these builds.” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattperez/2018/02/02/after-hands-on-time-nintendo-labo-looks-like-a-sure-hit/#47552ffc6ab4)
Aside from the advertised learning aspects of the product, one potential drawback is that each kit requires the use of a Nintendo Switch. The $300 unit, which is available in stores and online now, may be a dealbreaker for some families.
Labo will no doubt help usher in a new era of interactive toys. If it proves a success, expect Nintendo to expand the product line to include additional and possibly even more complex kits, thus continuing to spark the creativity of tomorrow’s future engineers.