Ever since when, in 2006, the Wii console introduced a strange remote-like controller that registered arm movement as game control input, among other similar accessories, the gaming world has been certain that Nintendo is the weird video game tech developer that is not afraid to test new and quirky ways to engage its users in very different ways to play game titles. This was a markedly different approach to its current competitors, Microsoft and Sony, whose design direction had been to turn their consoles into gaming-oriented personal computers. But Nintendo has very different development ideas for the Switch hybrid portable/console system.
As The Verge tells it, Nintendo has just made its first presentation of a new technological initiative for its Switch game system. Called Nintendo Labo, this new series of Switch add-ons definitely ticks on the “weird” box in terms of development designs by the venerable video game giant. That’s because the Labo stuff is for the most part made out of cardboard. Said cardboard accessories act as conversion units for the base Switch unit’s Joy-Con controllers. Essentially, Labo can turn the Joy-Cons into some impressive motion-control device variants. It can be a fishing rod, musical instrument or even a robotic armor.
Don’t be shy. You’re not alone in thinking that this Labo system for the Nintendo Switch is like a coin flipped into the air. Heads, it will completely revolutionize gaming design; tails, it will be a flop that would make the Wii U look like a brilliant success. Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aimé is positive however, saying, “Labo is unlike anything we’ve done before.” And indeed, seen from an optimal perspective, the new cardboard accessories could encourage Switch players to further interact with their games in a physically hands-on and potentially fun way. Just look at how Labo rolls.
Each Labo kit comes with one Nintendo Switch game cartridge and a series of cardboard cutout sheets. The Labo cartridge helpfully has in-game instructions to help players cut out and assemble the cardboard pieces into accessory form, like a piano. Once complete, the Switch tablet and the Joy-Cons are inserted into the Labo setup, transforming all those cardboard into a game arcade machine. For example, the Labo piano game has the cardboard keys acting like real piano keys, with the Joy-Con interpreting the cardboard input and the Switch tablet (with game) producing the sound and providing some sweet visual accompaniment.
Nintendo plans to launch the Labo system in April 20 with two introductory kits. “Variety” has five different games and cardboard configurations worth $69.99, while “Robot”, priced at $79.99 is the ambitious “control the in-game robot via cardboard armor” title. The success of these first kits will decide Labo’s future.
Check out the preview video in all its glory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3Bd3HUMkyU
Photo courtesy of mymodernmet.com