PFT: As a teacher, I love Nintendo Labo

After a lot of rumors and hype, Nintendo finally showed their new ways to play on the Nintendo Switch platform. Yesterday, the company told us they would reveal a new way to interact with the console, aimed at children and adults who are still young at heart. Needless to say, Nintendo fans lost it and started hoping for miracles. Nobody anticipated Nintendo Labo. Two new packs where you can create your own new tools with some cardboard, rubber bands and more. It’s not the thing hardcore Nintendo fans were hoping for but it’s something entirely new, something that makes me extremely happy as a teacher. Let me explain why I think Nintendo Labo has the potential to take over the world.

No, this isn’t The Legend of Zelda in Virtual Reality

First of all, let’s get that elephant out of the way. No, Nintendo Labo isn’t some kind of sick new Nintendo project aimed at the hardcore Nintendo gamer. This isn’t the new Super Smash Bros. or Legend of Zelda in Virtual Reality. Instead, Nintendo created something that isn’t even aimed at most of the Nintendo Switch players at this moment. Nintendo Labo looks like a joke at first sight, something you could easily discard as childish, cheap and disappointing. And yet, Nintendo Labo isn’t any of those. It’s a new type of product aimed at a young market and I’m sure they’ll love everything about it. If you’re an older Nintendo gamer who’s a bit annoyed with the reveal of this new product line, imagine having this as a kid. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Nintendo Labo enables young children to create something out of eco-friendly materials and combines it with the modern technology found in the Nintendo Switch console and its controllers (Joy-Con). The products are smartly labeled as Toy-Con and I’m sure they’re here to stay. Next to main games as Zelda, Mario, Pokémon and Metroid, I’m sure Toy-Con deserve all the attention they’ll get.

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Adress the creativity of children

As some of you might know, I do not only run a gaming website but I’m an elementary school teacher as well. Needless to say, when I saw the reveal yesterday, my heart skipped a beat. This is everything children need to enrich their learning experience. First of all, it addresses the creativity of the young minds in ways we haven’t seen before. Nintendo Labo forces the children to literally think outside of the box by creating a different kind of box. Looking at the variety kit, it’s simply amazing to see what cardboard can achieve. Nintendo Labo easily is a nice step towards expanding creative ideas. By following the blueprints, children will understand the possibilities of the cardboard more and I’m sure they can easily transfer this technique into other lessons where they’ll have to find different solutions using only the cardboard. As proven in the Toy-Con bundles, the possibilities truly are endless. To make everything even more creative, there’s also a customization set filled with fun stickers and stencils to make your creations your own. As a teacher, I’m extremely happy and can’t wait to see what my pupils will create with the help of Nintendo Labo.

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Make and discover

Creativity is of big importance during the development of younger minds but I’m sure kids in the higher classes will adore the Toy-Con even more since they can truly create and understand what they are doing. Based on the trailer, it looks like the Toy-Con aren’t that easy to make. By giving the children a visual plan on the Nintendo Switch, they’ll learn how complex constructions work and how everything stays in its place without having to use glue. Not only that but they’ll also learn how movements work and how they can, for example, reel in their fishing line with a couple of combined mechanisms. This is perfect for lessons where children have to learn more about old and new technology. Why should you learn about movements without having a proper example? The RC Cars found in the Variety Pack look simple but kids will learn and understand that movement can result from vibrations, which is something they would learn in a way lesser awesome way otherwise. I’m just touching the tip of the iceberg here, to be honest, I could list a lot of goals children should reach at the end of their elementary school and how Nintendo Labo helps them to achieve a lot of those, but I won’t bore you with this. I’m surprised with how close this new technology actually comes to the things children are obligated to learn in elementary school.

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Learn from your peers

The fun and possibilities don’t stop there yet. Nintendo Labo is the perfect peer-to-peer situation. Since the Toy-Con are rather complex and especially the Robot Kit seems to have some complex mechanisms, I’m sure children in school will have to help each other out in order to find the right solution. It’s a social experience where they’ll have to combine their knowledge to achieve their goal. A system used for a couple of themes, but again, using it to create a cardboard robot will most likely motivate the children even more to find the solution. Aside from children in schools, I’m sure Nintendo Labo can easily become one of the favorite things to create in families with younger children. Forget LEGO for a moment, this is the new big thing. Learning how to work together while learning how certain mechanisms work simply sounds like a match made in heaven for me.

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Accept the change

I could go on for hours but I think I made myself clear. No, Nintendo Labo probably isn’t what you were hoping for and yes, I understand why some of you are disappointed. Don’t worry too much about it, you’ll get your hardcore games soon enough. Instead, take time to appreciate what this new technology means for children. It offers them an eco-friendly way of combining old and new technology in surprising and innovating ways while learning a lot about different mechanisms and creativity. This isn’t just another one of those strange Nintendo side projects, in my opinion, this offers children a new way to look at the world and try to understand how it works. I can’t wait for the future of this product and I certainly can’t wait to try it out in my own class in the near future!

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.