If there’s ever a brand that’s maintained relevance throughout the generations, it’s Nintendo. Those of us who grew up playing Super Mario Bros., Tetris, and The Legend of Zelda in our basements while our moms made us bologna sandwiches and Tang are now raising our own generation of Nintendo-loving kids. Only our kids have systems we never could have imagined, like the Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo’s evolution throughout its 129-year history (yep, bet you didn’t know they’d been round THAT long!) shows their ability and willingness to continuously adapt to modern times. Originally a company that produced playing cards in the late 1800s, Nintendo then jumped on the cash cow that was video game systems in the ’70s, debuting the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. Their first big hit? You guessed it — Super Mario Bros.
But how times have changed! Now it’s 2018 and kids want more. Parents want more. And the Nintendo Switch is unlike anything the company has offered before. Now, kids can add a DIY element to their video game world.
As described in a press release from company headquarters, the latest and greatest addition to the Switch is Nintendo Labo kits that allow players to create robots, motorbikes, cars, and pianos that can then be incorporated into game play.
Here’s how it works: “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.”
The press release goes on to say:
“For example, you can build a functioning 13-key piano that brings your musical creations to life once the Nintendo Switch console and Right Joy-Con controller are inserted. As you play, the IR Motion Camera in the Right Joy-Con detects which keys are pressed and translates them into unique notes that are heard through the console. You can even take control of your very own motorbike by constructing a functioning set of handlebars, with a Joy-Con inserted in each side and the Nintendo Switch console cradled in the middle. Simply hit the ignition button, turn the right handle to engage the accelerator and watch your adventure unfold on the Nintendo Switch screen, as you race to new destinations.”
Wow. As if the Switch wasn’t already the coolest thing out there, we now have this hands-on addition that merges STEM education with kids’ love of video games. “See, Mom? Video games are educational!” the kids will say … and they won’t be wrong.
Nintendo Labo kits launch onto market April 20, available as either the Variety Kit or Robot Kit. The Variety Kit (sold for $69.99 suggested retail price) will include options like the Toy-Con Fishing Rod. The press release describes this cool feature as an “active, rotating reel that is attached by string to a cradle holding the Nintendo Switch console. Catch one of many exotic fish shown swimming on the Nintendo Switch screen by casting your Fishing Rod and unwinding the reel to lower the hook. Once you feel a vibration from the Joy-Con inserted in the reel, you must tug the Fishing Rod upward and crank the reel quickly to try and complete the catch!”
And the Robot Kit is right up my son’s alley. At $79.99 suggested retail price, this thing lets you “create a wearable Robot suit, and insert the Left and Right Joy-Con into the designated slots on the backpack and visor to assume control of the robot, which is shown on the TV when the Nintendo Switch console is docked. Enjoy a variety of fun game-play experiences, including Robot mode, in which you can destroy in-game buildings and UFOs.”
Um, WHAT?! My 9-year-old just lost his mind and asked for a list of jobs he can do to earn money for it. Pretty sure he won’t sleep until he has a Switch and Robot Kit.
If this sounds as amazing to you as it does to me, check out this informational video to learn more.
And as always, Nintendo wants to remind parents that they can monitor what their kids have access to as they play with the Switch and new DIY kits.
“Nintendo Labo continues our longstanding mission of making people smile by surprising them with new experiences,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s president and COO. “It is an exciting evolution of the Nintendo Switch platform – one designed to inspire curiosity, creativity and imagination in people of all ages.”
Man, ’80s kids are going to be so jealous. I can envision lots of parents getting on this action … because it’s important to bond with our kids, you know? And hey, the super cool DIY kits are just a bonus. It’s all about the children.