Arthur J. Villasanta - Fourth Estate Contributor
Redmond, WA, United States (4E) - The Nintendo Switch video game home console has gotten a do-it-yourself (DIY) accessory kit called the "Nintendo Labo" that allows kids to build their own physical, cardboard add-ons to go along with Nintendo games.
Nintendo Labo is a gaming and construction toy platform developed by Nintendo to be used with the Nintendo Switch gaming system. It will hit retail shelves and online stores in April and will cost $70.
Nintendo hopes its newest gadget will appeal to kids and their creative imaginations, giving them the chance to bring their favorite games into the physical world. The company also hopes this type of creativity will inspire kids to embrace engineering, science, technology and mathematics.
Nintendo Labo was such a hit it quickly became Twitter's top trending topic in the United States last week as people took to social networks to share their excitement.
For it to work, Nintendo Labo relies on Nintendo Switch. The main unit can be inserted onto a docking station to connect to a television, or it can be removed from the dock and attached to a tablet computer through its LCD touchscreen, or placed in a standalone tabletop mode.
Nintendo Labo uses kits that include cardboard cut-outs and other materials that can be assembled in combination with the Nintendo Switch console display and Joy-Con controllers to create "Toy-Cons." These creations can interact with game software and vice versa. Nintendo designed Labo as a way to teach principles of engineering and physics to children.
Nintendo Labo contains kits for five individual Toy-Cons. One is a remote-controlled car where the vibrations from the Joy-Con provide momentum and steering to the car. The game software allows the player to control the car like a normal remote-controlled vehicle.
Another is a fishing rod where the Joy-Con sits in the reel and the handle of the rod. The game receives motion input from the Joy-Con to simulate a fishing game.
There's a toy piano with a full octave of keys. The console sits atop this to serve as a music stand.
Another game is a motorbike with Joy-Con inserted into the handlebars on either side of the Console for steering. There a house with a slot to insert different components that can interact with the game software on the Console's display.
Probably the coolest kit consists of parts to make a robot mecha-suit. The kit includes a visor that holds the Switch and a backpack that holds the Joy-Con. This mecha-suit allows the child to traverse a virtual world.
An accessory set containing stencils, stickers, and tape is available separately.
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