Nintendo Wants You To Build Things Out of Cardboard and It’s Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Cool
By: Bill McCool
Pretty sure that Charlton Heston once famously said, “I’ll give you my joystick when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.”
Point is if you stick your kid in front of a screen at an early age - no judgment - it might be difficult getting them away from whatever video game they’re staying up all night to play. Yes, you have one of those indoor kids now, but you probably wish they’d try using their noggin for Pete’s sake and just build something.
Well, frazzled parent, Nintendo is here to change the face of gaming once again. They’ve just announced that they’ll be releasing Nintendo Labo, their brand new gaming experience that features a whole lot of cardboard accessories. Gamers are given cardboard sheets where they pop out shapes and build everything from a miniature piano to a fishing rod. Then, they attach their Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers to these cardboard creations and play a variety of games using the Switch tablet. Power a remote control car out cardboard? Yes. Build a robot suit and smash a village to bits? You bet. Play a piano that makes nothing but cat’s meows? Take our money, please.
Nintendo is capitalizing on the growth of STEM toys in recent years - toys that promote and teach kids about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. With Labo, simply pop in the game cartridge and the Switch runs through a series of instructions that assist you in building the cardboard toys. Not only are they giving kids insight into how their technology works, but Nintendo is ushering ins a whole new way of playing video games that’s much more hands-on while putting the child in the engineer’s chair. Better still, most STEM toys are gender neutral like Wonder Workshop’s robot toys, a necessity considering some of the depressing statistics around female representation in the sciences. Only 12% of all engineers are women and just 26% when it comes to computing.
Of course, Nintendo is hardly the only player looking to capture the hearts of young gamers. Bloxels recently released Build Your Own Video Game where kids construct game boards out of blocks, take a digital image of the board, and then design the actual game and characters themselves using the Bloxels Builder App. There’s also the Piper Computer Kit where you get to build your own computer from a blueprint and then actually program it by completing a series of Minecraft missions
It’s a type of gaming that makes perfect sense to the Nintendo brand - sure they have their fair share of first-person shooters, but Nintendo has always been at their best when they’ve been, well, fun? Nintendo’s various offerings from Wii Sports to Mario Kart have a communal feel that’s perfect for a gathering of friends or a family gaming session.
Labo will be released on April 20th, but Nintendo is currently accepting pre-orders. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity for your children to learn how to build and eventually be overtaken by their robot overlords.
Bill McCool is a freelance writer based out of Los Angeles. Though new to the world of design, he has always been a storyteller by trade and he seeks to inspire and cultivate a sense of awe with the work and artists he profiles. When he's not winning over his daughters with the art of the Dad joke, he is usually working on a pilot, watching the Phillies, or cooking an elaborate meal for his wife.