Nintendo Labo Revealed

Nintendo goes DIY!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 01/17/2018 15:45 1 Comment     ShareThis

Nintendo surprised everyone this morning when it announced that it would be revealing a new “interactive experience” for Switch geared towards “kids and kids-at-heart.” Without any real inkling of what the announcement would entail, fans tuned into the company’s official YouTube and Facebook feeds to find out what all the hubbub was about, and this is what greeted them:

Here’s Nintendo’s official press release:

Nintendo Labo Combines the Magic of Nintendo Switch with the Fun of DIY Creations

Make, Play and Discover with Interactive DIY Kits for Nintendo Switch

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 17, 2018 – Introducing Nintendo Labo, a new line of interactive build-and-play experiences designed to inspire kids and those who are kids-at-heart. Building on the 129-year history of Nintendo, which is rooted in innovative entertainment and game-play experiences, Nintendo Labo continues the company’s mission of putting smiles on people’s faces.

Together with the Nintendo Switch system (sold separately), the Nintendo Labo kits provide the tools and technology to MAKE fun DIY creations, PLAY games with your creations and DISCOVER how the magic of Nintendo Switch technology shapes ideas into reality.

With each Nintendo Labo kit, kids can transform modular sheets of cardboard – specially designed to interact with the Nintendo Switch console and Joy-Con controllers – into creations called Toy-Con. From a piano to a motorbike, a robot and more, each Toy-Con comes to life when combined with Nintendo Switch in different ways. As you build, you will have fun discovering how the technology works, and might even invent new ways to play with each Toy-Con!

For example, you can build a functioning 13-key piano that brings your musical creations to life once the Nintendo Switch console and Right Joy-Con controller are inserted. As you play, the IR Motion Camera in the Right Joy-Con detects which keys are pressed and translates them into unique notes that are heard through the console. You can even take control of your very own motorbike by constructing a functioning set of handlebars, with a Joy-Con inserted in each side and the Nintendo Switch console cradled in the middle. Simply hit the ignition button, turn the right handle to engage the accelerator and watch your adventure unfold on the Nintendo Switch screen, as you race to new destinations.

“Nintendo Labo continues our longstanding mission of making people smile by surprising them with new experiences,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s President and COO. “It is an exciting evolution of the Nintendo Switch platform – one designed to inspire curiosity, creativity and imagination in people of all ages.”

With Nintendo Labo, building is just as much fun as playing. Every Toy-Con creation presents exciting challenges and varying degrees of complexity, making each one a unique experience. Building Toy-Con is especially fun with family and friends, as you collaborate and share each other’s Nintendo Labo experiences. Once built, you can customize your Toy-Con creations with your own markers, stickers and paint to give them a personal touch – the only limit is your imagination!

Nintendo Labo launches on April 20 with two kits: the Variety Kit and the Robot Kit. With the Variety Kit, you can create many different Toy-Con, including two Toy-Con RC Cars, a Toy-Con Fishing Rod, a Toy-Con House, a Toy-Con Motorbike and a Toy-Con Piano. With the Robot Kit, you can build an interactive robot suit with a visor, backpack and straps for your hands and feet, which you can then wear to assume control of a giant in-game robot. Both kits include everything you need to assemble your Toy-Con creations, including the building materials and relevant Nintendo Switch software. The Variety Kit will be available at a suggested retail price of $69.99, and the Robot Kit will be available at a suggested retail price of $79.99. A special Customization Set that includes fun stencils, stickers and colored tape will also be available to purchase on April 20 at a suggested retail price of $9.99.

Each Nintendo Labo kit packs plenty of value, with a range of ways to make, play and discover in each kit:

Variety Kit ($69.99MSRP*)

  • Toy-Con RC Car: Insert the Left and Right Joy-Con into your newly built RC Car and control its movement using touch screen controls on the Nintendo Switch console. The HD Rumble feature in the Joy-Con controllers will cause vibrations that move the car in the direction you choose. Materials to construct two RC Cars are included.
  • Toy-Con Fishing Rod: Construct the Fishing Rod with an active, rotating reel that is attached by string to a cradle holding the Nintendo Switch console. Catch one of many exotic fish shown swimming on the Nintendo Switch screen by casting your Fishing Rod and unwinding the reel to lower the hook. Once you feel a vibration from the Joy-Con inserted in the reel, you must tug the Fishing Rod upward and crank the reel quickly to try and complete the catch!
  • Toy-Con House: By inserting various assembled blocks into openings in the sides and bottom of the House, you can interact with, play games with and feed a cute creature on the front-facing Nintendo Switch screen. Each differently shaped block is detected by the IR Motion Camera on the Right Joy-Con inserted on top of the House.
  • Toy-Con Motorbike: Insert each Joy-Con into an assembled set of handlebars to drive a motorbike on the Nintendo Switch screen. Pressing the ignition button starts the engine, while twisting the right handle activates the throttle. Leaning your body or turning the handlebars left and right controls the motorbike.
  • Toy-Con Piano: After assembling a beautifully crafted 13-key piano and inserting the Nintendo Switch console and Joy-Con, you can experiment with your own musical creations by pressing different keys. You can even insert different assembled knobs to create new sound effects and tones!
Robot Kit ($79.99MSRP*)
  • Toy-Con Robot: Create a wearable Robot suit, and insert the Left and Right Joy-Con into the designated slots on the backpack and visor to assume control of the robot, which is shown on the TV when the Nintendo Switch console is docked. Enjoy a variety of fun game-play experiences, including Robot mode, in which you can destroy in-game buildings and UFOs.
For more information about Nintendo Labo, visit You can view a special introductory video about Nintendo Labo here.

As the video demonstrates, the Toy-Con are deliberately clunky and simplistic in their appearance, emphasizing the feeling that the constructs are DIY, or do it yourself, extensions of their creators. Being able to customize them with whatever materials the maker has in mind is a nice touch, as well.

Fascinating though Nintendo Labo may be, it will certainly face some challenges when it launches on April 20. Will its pricing deter fans? Will the hardcore or even the average gamer be lured to the new initiative? Even the prospect of luring children might be tough in this digitally pervasive age we live in. Time will tell, but whether or not Nintendo Labo goes the way of Wii Music, it’s certainly a fascinating departure for Nintendo that is firmly entrenched in the company’s history of experimentation.

One Response to “Nintendo Labo Revealed”

  • 745 points
    OG75 says...

    I believe I fall right into the targeted market for this product. I’m a Switch owner with two sons (aged 7 and 5) who are both “hands-on” types and heavily into S.T.E.M.-focused products (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). We’ve definitely built a few robots and experimented with our share of “snap-circuits” and the like in our home.

    That being said, my reaction to the debut of Labo has been kind of “meh”. I’m guessing it will be a successful product, and I (and my wife) may yet be convinced to purchase a set or two. However I’m currently just not enthusiastic for this product.

    I admire Nintendo’s mission and ability to innovate and experiment. I dig the fact that they’re a “toy” company at heart, but I’m just not feeling this. I do hope it brings a lot of joy to many consumers, even if my family aren’t among them.

    Dear Nintendo, Less cardboard, more virtual console.

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