OK, Nintendo, we did not see this one coming.
After dropping a hint early Wednesday morning, the colorful gaming company has introduced a hot new product called Nintendo Labo. They’re basically cardboard cutouts that can be used with your Nintendo Switch console.
The buildable cardboard contraptions (to be sold by Nintendo as kits) combine with software to turn your gaming console into stuff like a piano or a fishing rod, complete with sound effects and minigames.
After Nintendo said it’d be debuting “a new interactive experience for Nintendo Switch that’s specially crafted for kids and those who are kids-at-heart,” we weren’t sure what to expect. Fans and gaming insiders alike speculated Wednesday about everything from a new game to a Switch Power Glove. Instead, Nintendo rolled out a product that’s ridiculously, delightfully analog—and kind of genius, if you look at it from a kid’s perspective.
Who among us hasn’t shunned our shiny toys and gadgets to instead play with a big cardboard box? Here, Nintendo takes that concept and adds digital visuals and sound effects. You exercise a little engineering putting the pieces together, a little creativity decorating them, and you have a fun new game to play at the end.
It looks like Nintendo has two versions of its new Labo kits. The variety pack ($69.99) comes with cardboard cutouts and software for two RC cars, a motorbike, a house, a fishing rod, and a piano. There is also a robot kit ($79.99) that looks it offers a low-budget version of virtual reality gaming. Both kits will be available starting April 20.
These new Nintendo Switch add-ons are unlikely to capture the interest of most adult gamers, but we bet they’ll be a big hit with kids and parents.