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Nintendo Will Sell a Cardboard Piano and Mech Suit to Fulfill Your Childhood Dreams


Nintendo never does what you expect. While everyone else in the console space is focused on 4K gaming, Nintendo makes a portable console and sells ten million units. And now, while everyone else is making insane VR rigs, Nintendo is launching some absolutely incredible cardboard accessories. It’s weird and it works.

Nintendo announced its newest initiative, Nintendo Labo, a collection of intricately engineered cardboard gadgets that you and your kids can build at home. The accessories, including a fishing rod, a remote-control robot cars, a fully-functional piano, and a giant robot suit, are made largely of cardboard, with a bit of string, rubber bands, and sponge sheets.

Each gadget—which Nintendo calls Toy-Cons, because of course they have a cute name—is a little feat of engineering on its own. The only electronics involved in the gadgets are the Switch console itself and a Joy-Con controller. It’s a testament to the complexity of the Joy-Con controllers that they have enough sensors and components packed in such a tiny space to power a wide variety of gizmos.

The Labo kits look particularly good for kids and parents to play with together. Each gadget comes with a detailed explanation for how to construct it and how it works, making it something of an educational engineering program. You don’t have to turn these games into a learning experience, but how anyone could see these things and not be curious how they work is beyond me.

Labo will launch on April 20th with two main kits. First, the Variety Kit ($69) which includes 2 RC cars, a fishing rod, a house, a motorbike, and the working piano. The second kit, Robot Kit ($79) which only (only) includes a wearable cardboard mech suit, which is rad as hell.

It’s unclear if Nintendo plans to release more Labo gadgets, or if users will ever be able to make their own, but it would feel like a missed opportunity if that’s not the road this goes down. A continuing, evolving makerspace for cheap Switch accessories would certainly give the console extra longevity, but for now the kits that Nintendo has announced look exciting.

Source: Nintendo Labo

Eric Ravenscraft Eric Ravenscraft
Eric Ravenscraft has nearly a decade of writing experience in the technology industry. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, PCMag, The Daily Beast, Geek and Sundry, and The Inventory. Read Full Bio »