I never originally planned on talking about this, but really? ‘Nintendo Labo’ bringing you overpriced cardboard? Now I have always thought this to be a ridiculous concept, but upon seeing everyone being blatant yes-men I knew I had to say something about it. Yes I get it is targeted to young children as a toy and is more than just the cardboard, but I can’t look past the basic variety kit starting CAD $89.99, pretty insane for pretty much just a toy.
Now for point of reference let’s look at what some people have to say about it.
Kotaku : “One of the great fallacies of children’s entertainment is that kids need things to be simple. Kids love diving deeply into complicated things, accumulating knowledge that is out of reach of the adults around them. Nintendo has always understood this, but Labo is a unique expression of this understanding, something that extends beyond the virtual world. More of a madcap engineering kit than a game, it feeds and rewards creativity and curiosity. As an adult, you’re along for the ride, but if you’ve got imaginative children in your life, seeing how they respond to this marvelous toy factory will be a great joy.”
TechRadar: “Creativity and problem solving skills are definitely engaged and developed here and, honestly, we can’t help but wonder if Nintendo is quietly creating the next generation of game designers. It’s like an early introduction to the thinking processes behind programming – while many games have us learn their mechanics to successfully play, in some ways Labo has us play to learn more about mechanics. ”
Destructoid: “The software is broken up into three sections: build, play, discover. Build is basically your construction manuals, while Play is the games you use with your Toy-Con, and Discover is instructions and other details. The coolest part for kids about discover is that it’s not just basic instructions. Through three lively characters kids can get outside-the-box ideas for how to play with their new Toy-Con, construct add-on items that expand the initial build’s abilities, and even learn the basic mechanics and programming that let their new toys do what they do. It’s far more in-depth than I thought it would be, and really opens up the educational and imaginative aspects of the game.”
Now these are just a few people as examples of the universal praise that seems to be floating around the Nintendo Labo. Now I get what people are getting at, it is a toy for children, but for that much money? Want to talk about fun learning and education? Get your kids to play with Lego, get them to read books, and all for less than the damned Labo. You can even print off replacement pieces, so it is obviously a fine product that requires nuance. I know there is more to it with the “Toy-Con” and the programs that go along with them, but still…
Want to talk about toys for fostering educational and engineering interest? Knex has got you covered and for much less of the cost and Lego as mentioned works as well. It just seems ridiculous to me that people are willing to spend the amount that Labo asks for just because it is Nintendo asking for it, and you know that is actually the reason for it too. It is in essence a neat concept, and without it being so damned pricey it could be worth someone looking into. As it stands however, it is hard to see it being worth it with that massive price value when there are far better alternatives to be had for toys since that is the primary argument people are going for here. Maybe it is actually as great as people claim it to be, but as a skeptic I believe it really is just the fact that it is the almighty Nintendo pushing it onto people especially for that kind of price point.