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The Nintendo Labo is $70 of cardboard that could actually be worth it

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Jan 17, 2018, 10:35 PM EST

Nintendo has the fastest-selling console in U.S. history, with one of the best-selling games they've ever seen. Now the legendary gaming company has got its first exciting peripheral, made out of cardboard no less, and honestly, it looks kind of awesome.

Nintendo teased us all about an upcoming interactive experience announced today: the Nintendo Labo. The bending, crafting, DIY cardboard add-ons to the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers can make a fishing rod or a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robot, or any number of other cool things, depending on the configuration of rubber bands and other kid-friendly materials involved. When transformed, these are called Toy-Cons.

If that sounds a bit nutty, you may be right, but watch the video introduction before you write this off completely:


These transformative additions make the mini-games that come along with them feel less like video games and more like those in an imaginative, interactive arcade, with much more physical involvement similar to Nintendo’s innovative motion-controlled Wii console.

In a press release, Nintendo of America’s President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime said the Labo “continues our longstanding mission of making people smile by surprising them with new experiences,” adding that the Labo “is an exciting evolution of the Nintendo Switch platform – one designed to inspire curiosity, creativity and imagination in people of all ages.” Which makes sense for a company whose target demographic has always erred on the older and younger ends of the gamer spectrum.

Launching April 20, Nintendo Labo will start off by offering two kits, Variety and Robot. The Variety Kit includes 2 RC Cars, the fishing pole, a house, a motorbike, and a 13-key piano that uses the Switch’s camera to read what keys are being pressed.

The Robot Kit allows you to strap the configuration to your back and control a Transformer-like mech. Both kits come with the hardware and software necessary to play their games. The Variety Kit starts at $69.99, while the Robot Kit comes in at $79.99.

$70 or $80 for a lot of cardboard sounds a bit risky, considering the kids it's aimed at may need a sturdier substance for their gaming hardware. But the customizable combination of LEGO-like crafting and video games seems like an intriguing experiment that has plenty of room to grow and change if the Labo becomes more than a novelty, don't you think?