Nintendo Labo makes coding child's play

Nintendo Switch and cardboard controllers

Today saw the launch of a new product from Nintendo for its Switch console – Nintendo Labo, which makes coding and engineering child-friendly. Cartoon characters in a video walk users through how to turn the cardboard sheets into toys that, when combined with the Switch console and its detachable Joy-Con controllers, interact with augmented reality games like conventional games console peripherals.

The range of accessories includes a miniature piano, a fishing rod, and a small house among others. Included with Nintendo Labo are the 25 sheets of sturdy brown card required to make the controllers. To make them, simply punch out the cardboard nets and follow the assembly instructions. Depending on the complexity of the accessory, this can take anywhere between 15 minutes and two hours.

These controllers are the latest in a long line of innovative products from Nintendo. Just cast your mind back to when the Nintendo Wii hit the market and changed how players interact with games, thanks to the motion-sensitive Wii Remote.

The new controllers are geared more towards younger players, and it's easy to see how the cardboard Nintendo Labo accessories will encourage creativity among curious children. And parents are sure to welcome some hands-on play time as the different toys are made. Watch them in action in the video below.

Given that plastic peripherals only stay in use for as long as a game is popular – Guitar Hero axes we're looking at you – the release of cardboard accessories is sure to be welcome news to environmentally conscious gamers.

Having said that, it would've been a really nice touch if the Nintendo Labo controllers could have been incorporated into the packaging design to cut down on waste further. Either way, these accessories are sure to be a welcome addition to Nintendo's long line of entertaining products.

In a statement, Nintendo of Europe's president, Satoru Shibata, said, "Our goal is to put smiles on the faces of everyone Nintendo touches. Nintendo Labo invites anyone with a creative mind and a playful heart to make, play and discover in new ways with Nintendo Switch.

"I personally hope to see many people enjoying making kits with their family members, with big smiles on their faces."

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Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.