After writing up Nintendo’s Wednesday reveal of its new Labo playsets (coming April 20 to the US and Japan and April 27 to Europe), I realized I’d forgotten to add an important word to the article’s introduction: “what.”
More specifically, the drawn-out, question-marked version I shouted when the product’s reveal video played out. (“Whaaaaat?!”) I’m a big fan of Nintendo’s physical-toy era in the ’60s and ’70s, back when company legend and Game Boy creator Gunpei Yokoi came up with engineering wonders like the Ultra Hand and the Ten-Billion Barrel Puzzle. As a result, I was immediately charmed by the physicality and toy-controller possibilities of the reveal video, which included everything from a motorcycle steering chassis to a 13-key piano to a string-loaded fishing rod—all built by players with a mix of pre-cut, pre-marked cardboard, sensing stickers, plastic, string, and more.
But then I began wondering: exactly how does everything work with Nintendo Labo? In particular, what the heck is going on with Labo’s most insane offering: a full-body robot suit?