When Nintendo first announced the Labo, nobody saw it coming. While the company teased this project as a tailored experience for kids, few predicted the sort of DIY plus software combo that was eventually unveiled. Despite sluggish sales in its first week, the charming concept was Nintendo innovation at its best. Niche and experimental, yet unexpectedly complex, Labo allowed both kids and adults alike to build their own cardboard creations that correspond to specific software applications.
Up until now, the Nintendo Labo had been largely self-contained. Players had to buy specific kits to build and play what were essentially mini-game tech demos. Though the cardboard controllers –aptly named Toy Cons – could be built any way the players deem fit, the software varieties are constant. For example, a short racing game had players create Toy Cons in the shape of motorcycle handlebars. Except now, the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe experience is compatible. Mario Kart was one of Nintendo’s flagship pillars in the Switch’s first year, contributing to the console’s smashing success with an astounding 9 million copies sold. Consequently, it made almost too much sense that Nintendo would open the entire Labo experience to a well-established player base. The millions of players that already own Mario Kart could now emulate a true arcade experience, while casual Labo owners now have a reason to reuse their kit for more immersive play. Players can now twist, turn, and lean their way through all of the courses with a variety of customizable motorcycles.
The Labo encompasses a core Nintendo tenet, that despite having marketed the product to parents and children, the game still offers a degree of depth in its simplicity that makes it engaging and accessible to all ages. The new collaboration further underscores this point, as potential future crossovers with Nintendo’s many IPs now make the Labo an invaluable accessory to the Switch lineup.
The free software patch for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe that allows for Labo integration is available today on the Nintendo Switch.