Being old is overrated. We get wrinkles, a terrible amount of responsibilities and our entire existence is spent treading proverbial water.
That’s why when Nintendo announced a £60 cardboard box full of grommets and string, I was sold almost instantly. I love leaning into my childlike sense of wonder, and anything that pulls you out of the screen and increases tactile physicality in games is something I’m here for. Another example being the Vive’s excellent haptic controllers.
The only way games can evolve as a cultural medium is if we innovate, and Nintendo has looked to the past to ask questions. Humans, for some reason, have always been inventive and found time to ‘play’. Kojima would call this Homo Ludens (Those who play) when attempting to explain his similarly deconstructive game Death Stranding.
Nintendo are clearly building this project for children, but that’s not to say adults can’t enjoy it either
Both approaches are similar but aimed at a different audience each time. Nintendo are clearly building this project for children and families, but that’s not to say that adults can’t enjoy it either. Labo is like a Pixar movie, and I would say that every adult caught up in the idiosyncrasies of mundane everyday working life should build a fishing rod out of cardboard with someone they hold dear.
It’s a tremendously rewarding experience, from the perfect-popping cardboard satisfaction to the way things just fit together, its an experience that we never receive, especially when we’re so glued to the screen playing the same crop of Overwatch maps for hours. Put the controller down and turn the controller into the game is Nintendo’s response, and its absolutely a triumph.
Whilst I can’t speak for the robot (I can justify a range of cardboard experiences for £60, I can’t accept just one) everything I’ve done in Nintendo Labo has snatched my wig off.
Whether it’s fooling around in the garage trying to make dumb ideas happen or racing an RC car across a kitchen top, it is never boring, and they aren’t just games to be honest. You can modify most of the builds to create exciting new experiences when you grow tired of the initial pull.
It is pure wizardry. Jaw-agape madness and sharing the experience with another puts the icing on. Turning to a partner or friend in disbelief when you see the tabs click just right and the project comes together is unlike anything else.
Like Todd Howard famously said, “It Just Works”, and it will delight family and friends alike once you’re finished fooling around with it
The most gorgeous things about Labo isn’t the construction either, it’s the accessibility. The Switch is a tough sell for anyone over the age of 50, especially if they’re not into games. Labo is for absolutely everyone. People love D.I.Y, they understand how fishing works or how a motorbike works. The HD rumble is honestly revolutionary and makes you question its nature. A small piece of cardboard on the fishing rod makes it so the reel clicks like a real-world rod, and every part of its construction is intricate but endlessly fun to build. Like Todd Howard famously said, “It Just Works”, and it will delight family and friends alike once you’re finished fooling around with it.
A gift for yourself and an experience concerned primarily with sharing and imagination, Nintendo Labo is for the kids and the children at heart, or anyone who believes in play. It may look absurd, but every idea does before its world-famous and accepted. Give me more cardboard and string and pull me out of the simulation. Let me offer something to others and connect through the medium I love. Give me Nintendo Labo.