Nintendo today announced Nintendo Labo, an add-on for the Nintendo Switch that looks nuts. A few years ago, Google pushed virtual reality hard with a thing called Google Cardboard, a contraption assembled out of folded cardboard that users could slide their phone right into, creating an impromptu VR device. Labo is kinda like that for the Nintendo Switch.
The basic concept is that these cardboard devices, when paired with the central Switch tablet and its motion-sensing controls, can perform like the actual object. A cardboard piano can sense which key is being pressed, the rumble in the control can cause a remote-control “car” to move, and so on and so forth. The screen of the Switch helps convey relevant information in each case. It seems very weird, and who knows if it’ll work and be good (which is, full transparency, also what everyone thought about the Switch itself). The cardboard contraptions are called Toy-Cons, a play on the Joy-Con controllers that come with each system.
There will be two Labo kits when the line of toys launches on April 20 for $69.99 (that’s 70 bucks for some perforated cardboard you need to assemble yourself and accompanying software). One is a variety pack with a cardboard piano, house, RC cars, motorbike, and fishing rod. The second kit has users assemble a robotic exosuit, which appears to let you to play a video game where you storm through a city punching skyscrapers into dust.
Weird! Cool! It’s just nice that the Switch’s enormous success hasn’t caused Nintendo to rest on its laurels and stop building insane things.