Thinks and thoks: Nintendo Labo

So, okay. Nintendo teases a new something-or-other a couple mornings ago. This is a week after the Mini Direct, so it’s… weird. The first word that comes to mind is weird. Because why hold a separate thing for a single thing when you just did a big fancy thing for a bunch of things just a week before?

Oh. Because it’s something completely different.

Enter Nintendo Labo. What it is, as far as I can surmise, is a bunch of accessories for your Switch that make the games that go with them more immersive. Basically a much crazier extension of the whole Wiimote idea. The difference here is that all these accessories are made of cardboard, and you get to pop out the pieces and assemble them yourself. So now Nintendo is selling large-scale papercraft to accessorize their games with.

My knee-jerk reaction was something along the lines of “this is going to be an even bigger money sink that regular video games and also it’ll be a heck of a lot of cardboard clutter.” Actually, I think that’s still pretty on-point for how I feel about Labo a few days later. Only now I know the price of these Labo kits and LOLOLOL no way José. $100 for the starter kit? There’s no friggin’ way.

That’s not to say that I don’t think this is kind of neat. I could see myself buying into Labo anywhere as recently as five years ago. Heck, I’m sure that as I kid I would have died for these overpriced cardboard gimmicks. But now, I just don’t have the money or space to care (huh, exactly why I don’t care about VR). Plus, we still really have no idea what the games are going to be like. Labo is being marketed directly at actual children, so I’m thinking these are going to be pretty simple affairs. It’s not like I’m ever going to need a cardboard Master Sword to play the next Legend of Zelda.

What I think would make the whole thing more attractive -and it’s something that Nintendo (specifically) would never do- would be to make the Labo software free, and just charge more reasonable prices for the cardboard kits. Kids are going to ruin that stuff and need to buy replacement kits, so it’ll still be a fountain of income if consumers take to the idea. Unless, of course, the software is perfectly usable without the accessories, in which case that idea falls apart completely.

Anyway, those are my brief thoughts on Labo. Frankly, I don’t much care. But that’s okay. It’s not meant for me. I think it’ll probably be great for those who are interested in it.

But then again, it’s me. So don’t be surprised if I write up a post about how I love my new Labo Toy-Cons on the day after launch.

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