Nintendo has removed the lid on their latest innovation: Labo. This new way of interacting with video games—through cardboard—could not have been predicted. I always allow room for Nintendo to surprise me with something that would never occur to me, and once again, they did not disappoint. We’ll be unboxing our boxes this April.
Or will we? I’m still not completely sold on the concept. This is no fault of Nintendo’s marketing department; the messaging for Labo is clear: kids and kids-at-heart get to Make, Play, and Discover functioning cardboard creations with the technological help of Nintendo Switch.
I’m no longer a kid, and my heart is still trying to decide how old it is. Were I to invest in multiple sets of cardboard kits, I would definitely need to find a place where I could tuck my creations away to keep them out of my cat’s reach. She would utterly destroy my hard work, and then meow at me with a mischievous glint in her kitty eyes.
But there’s the distinct chance that Nintendo could release Labo kits in the future that would be irresistible. Labo is all about imagination and creativity, right? For the purposes of this blog, I’ve let my imagination run wild and conceived 5 Labo Toy-Con I Would Insta-Buy…
You know this needs to be a thing. Arcade games are coming back in a big way thanks to Nintendo Switch. ACA (Arcade Archives) have been releasing arcade ports like crazy, and recently started porting some first-party Mario content as well. Additionally, indies have made a few unique offerings on eShop like Mutant Mudd Collection’s “Mudd Blocks,” Pinball FX, and more—all playable in portrait orientation. If Nintendo were to officially support portrait arcade games by creating a cardboard stand for the console… man, that would be totally tubular!
Here, I’m essentially asking Nintendo to please give me cheap DSLR lessons. Video games have been a good teacher to me before (I learned the basics of drums on Wii Music with two motion controllers and a balance board for foot pedals). And after kids get done learning piano on a cardboard keyboard, why not move on to photography? Nintendo actually showed a brief glimpse of this product in the initial Labo trailer, though it won’t be available as a product in either of the launch kits. A Joy-Con was shown both in the lens and the main body of the camera. If Nintendo could “gamify” learning the foundations of photography; aperture, exposure… lens… speed? See, I clearly need some help in this department and pointing a cardboard camera at some Pokemon on my TV might just do the trick.
Samus Aran’s Arm Cannon
Did I just blow your mind? Because with a cardboard Samus Canon, you can bet that some heads would be exploding. Imagine shooting with 1:1 pointer controls, but instead of holding a remote in your hand, your arm is the weapon. And with a mounted Joy-Con within reach, you’d be able to use your free hand for inputs like changing beams, calling in an attack from your gunship, and more. Just like our favorite bounty hunter does in-game.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that I want to play through Metroid Prime 4 dressed up like a poor cosplayer. The Prime series must be treated with great care and respect. But a Labo spinoff title (a la Nintendo Land) would be incredibly enticing.
Poltergust / Flashlight Combo
With a new coat of paint and a few different extensions, the Robot suit’s backpack could easily be transformed into Luigi’s Poltergust Vacuum. Having donned Luigi’s equipment, we would be scouring haunted mansions like never before. We’d be in the action. We’d be flashing lights and sucking baddies like no tomorrow. And HD Rumble could make us feel like we’re actually lugging around specters on our spines.
While first viewing Nintendo’s promotional video for Labo, I thought that VR was becoming a reality for Nintendo fans. I was wrong, and the headset I saw was simply a decorative visor for Project Giant Robo—I mean—the cardboard robot suit. It’s probably wise for Nintendo to hold off on Virtual Reality for the time-being. With the Switch tablet’s 720p resolution, it’s not quite pixel-dense enough to hold up under the demands of VR. However, I believe that Switch and Labo are both initiatives that will last longer than a single traditional console generation. In 5 years, we might have a 4K Switch and a nice cardboard set of goggles to hold it. When that happens, Nintendo will transport us to another world.
There you have it! 5 Toy-Con that would be in my cart before I could say “Lab…Oh…No…”
What do you want Nintendo to craft from cardboard in the future?