Late last week, Nintendo revealed Nintendo Labo; a collection of cardboard assembly kits that allow you to turn your Switch into the centerpiece of some interactive toys. Prior to the reveal of Labo, Nintendo noted that their next reveal was going to be something intended for younger gamers. They’ve since stated some similar sentiments.
That hasn’t stopped some people from complaining that Nintendo Labo is aimed at too young of a demographic.
While there are many, many people who have poked fun at Labo. After all, the idea of a “high tech” cardboard device is pretty humorous. We’re not talking about that group of people, though. We’re talking about the Nintendo fans who can’t quite understand why Labo isn’t a device marketed towards them.
Before you completely dismiss their arguments as a by-product of missing the point, consider the Nintendo fanbase. Yes, Nintendo has done quite a lot over the years to ensure that they continue to appeal to young groups of gamers, but there are still many Nintendo fans who were born in the ’80s and early ’90s. They’ve been following the company through good and bad years. You could even argue that they’re the core of Nintendo’s fanbase.
What those Nintendo fans are saying, then, is that it’s strange that Nintendo would release such an ambitious – and potentially costly – series of add-ons for the Nintendo Switch that seemingly isn’t intended for the amusement of anyone above the age of 10. That’s actually a valid argument.
However, believing that argument requires you to truly believe that Nintendo Labo is only for kids. It isn’t.
You may not remember the exact last time that you sat down with some legos or some spare art supplies in order to build something, but we’re willing to bet you have vague happy memories of doing just that at some point in their lives. There’s something almost universal about the idea of building, crafting, and engineering. It’s part of the reason why Minecraft is one of the biggest games in the world.
We often associate these playful activities with our childhoods because many adults simply don’t have the time to sit around building and designing unless they so happen to have chosen a line of work that requires they do those things. Besides, adults have much more entertaining distractions to amuse themselves with.
That’s kind of why Nintendo Labo is so brilliant, though. It gives us an excuse to go back to those times. Labo cleverly uses the Switch as part of its technological makeup – the playable Labo piano is a particularly brilliant piece of design – but Nintendo’s use of the Switch with Labo is even more clever than that. The Switch’s role in the Labo design makes it feel like a far more worthwhile entertaining distraction. That’s especially true of Nintendo fans with kids – Labo is absolutely brilliant for families – but there is something appealing about the Labo concept no matter what your age is.
We hear the term “the kid in all of us” too often, but Labo does feel like it’s really for anyone that doesn’t care if people look down on them for playing with toys. It’s a clever invention that Switch owners should be able to purchase without shame.