Nintendo teaches kids to code with new cardboard gaming kits

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Announced today (January 18), the Labo set contains 25 sheets of cardboard that players can turn, IKEA-style, into playable objects - such as a miniature keyboard, a fishing rod, a motorbike's handles and pedal, a small house, and a vehicle - by following instructions on their Switch screen.

According to a press release distributed right after the event, "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". A year ago, rival Sony unveiled Project Field, a lightweight device the size of a kitchen cutting board that connects to real-world objects so they can be used for controlling games on smartphones and tablets.

Nintendo Labo has two facets: the games and the cardboard accessories.

Ever play a racing video game and wish you could build your own physical handlebars to drive? The slightly more expensive kit comes with the massive robot suit seen in the video (top).

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Yesterday, Nintendo surprised everyone by announcing the Nintendo Labo.

Called the Nintendo Labo, the cardboard accessories are meant to contribute to what Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima called the "new ways of playing". 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. For example, the bug-looking auto will only take about 15 minutes to build, but something more detailed like the piano will run you more towards two hours. It contains the fishing rod, a house, the motorbike, the piano, and two RC cars.

The new toy kits are priced at $70-$80, and have the potential to become another source of high-margin revenue to help Nintendo's bottom line.

Nintendo released a bunch of promotional images showing what construction will look like:source Nintendo So, yes, Labo is very much aimed at a younger audience. There'll also be a $10 Customization Kit available that includes stencils, stickers, and colored tape. Each toy will have a corresponding mini-game on the Switch that will bring the toy to life. Parents want more. And the Nintendo Switch is unlike anything the company has offered before. The Toy-Con Motorbike features an ignition button to start the engine and a throttle can be activated by twisting the right handle. Tune into the website over the week, and you'll see more from our time at the show, because there was just so much.

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