Let’s take a moment to forget all about Nintendo Labo’s terrible name and the controversy over its pricey cardboard nature. Instead, I’d like to take a look at how yesterday’s announcement of Nintendo’s twist on the interactive toys-to-life genre has me clamoring for Switch virtual reality.
For those that missed out on the announcement or are otherwise unaware, Nintendo Labo is a new endeavor from Nintendo that bundles games and toys together into one. There are two bundles currently slated for this April, one with various gadgets like a playable piano and another that is focused on a mech backpack suit.
Half of the fun of these bundles comes from building the gadgets yourself using the cardboard pieces provided before hooking them up to your Switch system in cool and inventive ways. Once the items are built and hooked up, it will allow you to utilize them in exclusive games that come with the bundle. For more info on Nintendo Labo, check out this post. With that out of the way, let’s dive into why I think it’s perfect for Switch VR.
Everything about Nintendo Labo screams “put me in VR!” From the aesthetic to the somewhat easy-to-grasp controls, it all feels ripe for virtual reality. For example, controlling a racing game using the motorcycle-like mount that you built with your own hands would work extremely well with a headset on.
You wouldn’t have to fiddle around with the buttons on your controller because what you’d see in the game’s virtual world would be a direct (and prettier) version of the vehicle mount you have in real life. This would make controls work together simultaneously in both worlds. Not only would this make VR a simpler process for younger children to grasp, but it could even alleviate motion sickness for people like myself.
That racing minigame is just one example; there are endless possibilities. The fishing rod could be used for a potential Animal Crossing VR experience, Project Robot could become its own full-fledged VR multiplayer game, and virtual reality could be a great place to teach people how to play piano in an Art Academy-like music game. In fact, a small sample of minigames like these could be included with the headset, giving a taste of the bigger and more fleshed out titles.
Nintendo’s Signature Take
Nintendo pioneered virtual reality games long before anyone else attempted to do it. Of course, we all know that ended in utter failure as one of the biggest red marks in the company’s entire history. But, it doesn’t have to remain that way. Perhaps one of the reasons the big N hasn’t attempted VR again is because it is trying to come up with its own unique take like it’s done with other features in the past.
Nintendo Labo is that unique twist on virtual reality that would set it apart from PlayStation VR, Vive, and Oculus Rift. Showcasing the ability to build your own creations and then jump into VR with it is something that every kid imagined growing up. Suddenly, that make-believe toy you were playing pretend with is actually real in the virtual world.
This is a unique take that calls out to every person’s inner child, regardless of age. Feeling the investment of creating your own personal VR experience is one that truly captures the pure joy of what a video game is like nothing else. Nintendo Labo VR could also be the first step towards making virtual reality a mainstream phenomenon, which is something that everyone should want. More money and interest being poured in means more software and better hardware for everyone to enjoy in the long-term. Get on it, Nintendo.