Toy-Con Piano

Make, Play, and Discover With Nintendo Labo

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Toy-Con Robot
image: Nintendo of America

For the second week in a row, Nintendo has delivered an unexpected video presentation. Yet, unlike last week’s Nintendo Direct Mini, today’s reveal was something much different than the standard new game sizzle reel.

What Is Nintendo Labo?

Introduced this very afternoon, Nintendo Labo is a new line of DIY cardboard build kits that promises to have fans and families playing piano, fishing, and even controlling giant robots through the power of origami and, of course, the Nintendo Switch hardware itself. Nintendo of America describes it thusly:

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!

Make Play Discover Robot Kit
image: Nintendo of America

When Can I Buy Nintendo Labo Kits?

Arriving April 20, the initial Labo release comes in two flavors. The Variety Kit (Toy-Con 01) will retail for $69.99 and includes five projects: Piano, Motorbike, House, Fishing Pole, and two RC Cars. There’s also the Robot Kit (Toy-Con 02), which retails for $79.99 and includes a multi-component buildable “robot suit.” (The site also mentions a Customization Set with stencils and stickers, but no pricing information is presently available.)

Still got questions? Of course you do! Check out the video below for a bit of a better idea of what the Labo system offers.

What Else Should I Know About Nintendo Labo?

If that’s not enough (and you can’t wait until the April release date to get your young inventor’s beak wet), Nintendo is also planning three-hour Labo Studio events in New York City and San Francisco for families with kids 6-12. Space is limited, but you can enter via the official Labo site now until January 21.

Toy-Con Piano
image: Nintendo of America

While we currently have more questions than answers regarding the Labo system and its inherent creative constraints, I can’t help but think it represents a product very much in the GeekDad wheelhouse. And while sanctioned hardware hacking kits are great, I’m much more interested to see what creative, dedicated minds can come up with once we better understand how these cardboard creations interact with the wonderfully unique Switch console.

Make Play Discover Variety
image: Nintendo of America
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