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Wednesday, January 17 2018 21:50

Nintendo Switch Embraces the Maker Movement with Nintendo Labo

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As the Nintendo Switch enters its second year, families have been eager to see what's coming next. While we know that there's a hefty slate of new games on the horizon, one unexpected addition to the lineup will arrive on April 20, 2018 with the debut of Nintendo Labo, a new line of interactive build-and-play experiences "designed to inspire kids and those who are kids-at-heart." Having visited Nintendo HQ myself (twice), I've seen the archives of where Nintendo has been as a company, and they're touting this as being something that's  "building on the 129-year history of Nintendo, which is rooted in innovative entertainment and game-play experiences." I can see that, because Nintendo has never been afraid to smash the boundaries when it comes to their systems and controllers. Get ready to watch a little video and take a look at this...

“Nintendo Labo continues our longstanding mission of making people smile by surprising them with new experiences,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s President and COO. “It is an exciting evolution of the Nintendo Switch platform – one designed to inspire curiosity, creativity and imagination in people of all ages.”

That's right - your Joy-Cons will become Toy-Cons, and kids will be able to build functional cardboard creations that allow them to use the Nintendo Switch (sold separately, of course) to power the action,  while the Nintendo Labo kits provide the tools and technology to MAKE fun DIY creations, PLAY games with your creations and DISCOVER how the magic of Nintendo Switch technology shapes ideas into reality.

More from the Official Announcement: With Nintendo Labo, building is just as much fun as playing. Every Toy-Con creation presents exciting challenges and varying degrees of complexity, making each one a unique experience. Building Toy-Con is especially fun with family and friends, as you collaborate and share each other’s Nintendo Labo experiences. Once built, you can customize your Toy-Con creations with your own markers, stickers and paint to give them a personal touch – the only limit is your imagination!

Nintendo Labo Toy Con Fishing Rod

Nintendo Labo launches on April 20 with two kits: the Variety Kit and the Robot Kit. With the Variety Kit, you can create many different Toy-Con, including two Toy-Con RC Cars, a Toy-Con Fishing Rod, a Toy-Con House, a Toy-Con Motorbike and a Toy-Con Piano. With the Robot Kit, you can build an interactive robot suit with a visor, backpack and straps for your hands and feet, which you can then wear to assume control of a giant in-game robot. Both kits include everything you need to assemble your Toy-Con creations, including the building materials and relevant Nintendo Switch software. The Variety Kit will be available at a suggested retail price of $69.99, and the Robot Kit will be available at a suggested retail price of $79.99. A special Customization Set that includes fun stencils, stickers and colored tape will also be available to purchase on April 20 at a suggested retail price of $9.99.

Each Nintendo Labo kit packs plenty of value, with a range of ways to make, play and discover in each kit:

Variety Kit ($69.99MSRP*)

  • Toy-Con RC Car: Insert the Left and Right Joy-Con into your newly built RC Car and control its movement using touch screen controls on the Nintendo Switch console. The HD Rumble feature in the Joy-Con controllers will cause vibrations that move the car in the direction you choose. Materials to construct two RC Cars are included.
  • Toy-Con Fishing Rod: Construct the Fishing Rod with an active, rotating reel that is attached by string to a cradle holding the Nintendo Switch console. Catch one of many exotic fish shown swimming on the Nintendo Switch screen by casting your Fishing Rod and unwinding the reel to lower the hook. Once you feel a vibration from the Joy-Con inserted in the reel, you must tug the Fishing Rod upward and crank the reel quickly to try and complete the catch!
  • Toy-Con House: By inserting various assembled blocks into openings in the sides and bottom of the House, you can interact with, play games with and feed a cute creature on the front-facing Nintendo Switch screen. Each differently shaped block is detected by the IR Motion Camera on the Right Joy-Con inserted on top of the House.
  • Toy-Con Motorbike: Insert each Joy-Con into an assembled set of handlebars to drive a motorbike on the Nintendo Switch screen. Pressing the ignition button starts the engine, while twisting the right handle activates the throttle. Leaning your body or turning the handlebars left and right controls the motorbike.
  • Toy-Con Piano: After assembling a beautifully crafted 13-key piano and inserting the Nintendo Switch console and Joy-Con, you can experiment with your own musical creations by pressing different keys. You can even insert different assembled knobs to create new sound effects and tones! Pre-Order now via GameStop.

Robot Kit ($79.99MSRP*)

  • Toy-Con Robot: Create a wearable Robot suit, and insert the Left and Right Joy-Con into the designated slots on the backpack and visor to assume control of the robot, which is shown on the TV when the Nintendo Switch console is docked. Enjoy a variety of fun game-play experiences, including Robot mode, in which you can destroy in-game buildings and UFOs. Pre-Order now via GameStop.
James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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