toy-con garage labo


How to get creative with Nintendo Labo’s Toy-Con Garage

Players can dream up their own Labo projects.


Chris Reed


Posted on Mar 15, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 9:39 pm CDT

Nintendo Labo, the company’s physical add-ons for Switch, launches on April 20. Nintendo designed this series of cardboard peripherals in-house. Along with Labo comes a mode called Toy-Con Garage. Here, players can build their own homemade peripherals and program the Switch to react however they want to various inputs.

Because Toy-Con Garage can be tough to wrap your mind around, Nintendo is working on a series of video tutorials. The first one, covering just the basics, launched today.

So what can players do with Toy-Con Garage? Quite a bit, but it’ll take some creativity to make it fun. The most basic examples shown in the video include touching the screen to make a Joy-Con controller vibrate, shaking a controller to make an explosion sound, and tapping buttons to produce guitar sound effects.

Programming these interactions looks intuitive enough. In Toy-Con Garage mode, you simply need to swipe your finger on the Switch’s screen to connect two text boxes. The box on the left shows the input, and the box on the right shows the output. If you want the screen to light up when you press the A button, just swipe from the box with the A button to the box that says “screen lights up.”

That’s the core of it. You can also add a “middle node” to create conditions, making the interactions more complex. But from the look of it, the outputs are fairly limited. You can make the Joy-Cons vibrate or emit infra-red light, or make the Switch’s screen light up or make a sound.

That might not sound like much fun, but it gets more interesting when you combine these programmed behaviors with your own physical add-ons for the Switch. The video shows a kid holding two Joy-Cons and “strumming” a broom like a guitar. Because of the Toy-Con Garage programming, the Switch’s screen makes guitar noises and shows volume levels with each strum.

If all goes according to plan, people will come up with cool new ways to use the Switch that Nintendo never dreamed up. If players get as weird and creative with Toy-Con Garage as they have with Super Mario Maker levels, we’re in for a treat.

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*First Published: Mar 15, 2018, 8:33 pm CDT