Tag: Nintendo Labo

Nintendo Labo

Nintendo Labo

I know I said it’d be three days, but, well, it’s not every day we get an announcement from Nintendo like the one we just received.

So yesterday Nintendo announced Nintendo Labo for the Nintendo Switch. We were warned beforehand that the mysterious announcement would have the internet in an uproar, and, well… it does. For good reason, I think; there aren’t many companies that could charge you eighty dollars to play mini games with cardboard accessories and get away with it.

In fact, I’m tempted to say that Nintendo is alone in that regard. If this announcement had come from Sony or Ubisoft or EA, everybody would be screaming about it being the blatant cash grab that it is. They’d be ranting and raving, wondering how they could possibly expect consumers to be stupid enough to fall for such a lazy trick. But it was Nintendo who announced it, and so while there are many people calling them out on it, there are many more who are supporting the move.

I hate to admit it, but… this DOES look pretty cool.

There are two reasons for this support.

The first is that Nintendo are masters of play. As many, many people had analyzed better than I ever could (although because I’m a huge fan of Game Maker’s Tool Kit, I’ll link you to Mark Brown’s video on the subject), Nintendo is always searching for new ways to play. Once they find that new, core gimmick, they design the entire game around it. Sometimes this is pulled off masterfully (such as the cap throw in Super Mario Odyssey, or turning into a painting in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds), and sometimes it backfires (the emphasis on coins in New Super Mario Bros. 2, or the car in Mario Party 9). Not every attempt will be successful, but Nintendo never lets their failures impact this mentality; for every failure right now, there will be a success down the line.

If you’re a Nintendo fan, then chances are you understand this already, even if only at some subconscious level. This doesn’t mean you’ll be on board with all of Nintendo’s ‘innovations’, because I’m certainly not.

(Curse you, Paper Mario: Sticker Star).

It does mean that with each new gimmick, however, Nintendo will have a whole host of fans who are willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. There are some who will be excited no matter what, because they love having something new to try each time Nintendo pulls out a new idea – and in this particular case, it’s a delightful remix of old and new ideas.

While I doubt that Nintendo Labo will ever be added onto any core games, nobody can deny that it is a new way to play.

Having the instructions on the Switch itself is a genius move for idiots like me who can’t fold paper or cardboard to save their life.

The second reason is that Nintendo are masters of out of left field ideas (credit to the fantastic Youtuber Arlo). In other words, they are masters of coming up with concepts that nobody would even realize could exist. There are so many examples of this in Nintendo’s history; some (such as the two screens and stylus touch pad of the DS, or the motion controls of the Wii) were revolutionary for their time, while others (turning Mario into an auto runner with Super Mario Run) were less so. Heck, just look at Super Smash Bros. – who else would have thought that pitting their family friendly mascots into a giant crossover where they beat the ever-loving crap out of each other would work?

Nintendo has established a habit of coming up with these sort of ideas that nobody else would ever consider on both a small and large scale – and while they have had their failures, it’s their successes with these odd ideas that are truly memorable. Whether it’s the motion controls of the Wii or re-introducing video games by disguising them as a toy, or deciding that yes, you can play games both on the go and on your television with the same system, Nintendo’s history and reputation speaks for itself.

That’s why they can announce an idea like Nintendo Labo, and it works. They can point you to a collection of cardboard and tell you ‘follow these instructions. Build yourself a car, or a piano, or a backpack, and use this cardboard to play video games in a whole new way’ and you believe them.

Other companies throw a giant plastic peripheral at you. Nintendo shrugs and asks, “why not build it yourself?”

I am excited for Nintendo Labo. I doubt I’ll purchase it for myself (I can’t do papercraft to save my life even with the simplest of instructions, and on top of that, I simply don’t have the space to store it), but I hope it does well. It looks like an excellent way to help draw out the artistic side of children in today’s media-driven landscape, and I can see it being a fun family activity as well. If I was a kid – or a parent – this would be near the top of my wish list.

Only Nintendo could get anybody this excited about cardboard.

What are your thoughts on Nintendo Labo? Feel free to share them in the comments below, and I’ll see you all in 2 days with my next entry.

Until then, game on.

-Voltex

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