You’ve got to hand it to Nintendo: how many people in the business of making games could sell people cardboard, yet somehow have it be the most creative thing around. As well as encouraging families to get together and shape their Amazon packages into pianos, fishing rods, and motorbike steering columns, LABO is also special because you can create your own games using the included software.
Sony’s LittleBigPlanet tried something similar with the idea of encouraging the community to create and share, and although Nintendo’s cardboard has only just been released, people are already coming up with things that make our brains hurt. These are the very best custom-LABO jobs we’ve found so far.
Game & Watch
Yes, you read that right – someone has made a working recreation of the '80s handheld bundle of gaming joy that is the Game & Watch. This is no simple job, either. Even if you could find the time to cut out all of the parts needed, the programming involved on the software side is seriously impressive. God knows how the creator managed to do this in such a short time, but this is one that, even if they released the blueprints for it, we’d never be able to sort the 'game' part out for ourselves.
A dispenser for sweets
Remember Pez dispensers? The rectangular sweet holder that usually had a Disney character’s head on that spat sweets out upon the flicking of your finger? Well, some clever Twitter user has made a LABO version, sort of. There’s a box containing sweets (wrapped, let’s be hygienic) and you have to play a tune correctly to get them to be released. This is a cool learning tool that can help train your ear to get music right. Also, sweets are great!
Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat controllers
Remember in 2005 when Nintendo released a Donkey Kong game that came with Bongos? Despite making an awful noise while playing, the game was unique and fun, so someone has taken that idea and made a LABO version. The precision of the inputs is impressive, and there’s no telling where this could go. It’s wonderful to see people be so creative, and Nintendo’s own genius is clearly inspiring people to make an effort.
The hat and card game
This probably has an actual name we’re unaware of, but this game involves throwing cards into a hat to register points on a scoreboard. It’s crazy because it shows how much potential LABO has. For example, the screen is a scoreboard with cardboard covering the unused space up, could a more adventurous design include an actual basketball hoop and backboard? Fix a Joy-Con into the backboard so it can detect the basketball dropping through, and fit the Switch screen safely, somewhere, too. For now, though, we’ll be content watching cards drop past the sensor on the Joy-Con and registering our score.
The Labo Toy-Con-Tainer
If you’d told us we’d be praising a package delivery company here, we’d have called you crazy, but one of the things people have expressed concern over is how you can safely store LABO, and not have your homes and offices littered with cardboard, and UPS have come up with a solution.
The global package company say they've been inspired to be more creative with cardboard, so have made their Toy-Con-Tainer, a suitcase style box to hold your LABO creations, complete with a little cardboard padlock and key, and even wheels to pull it on. It’s such a simple idea, yet it’s straight out of left field. Bravo, folks.
The best lock mechanism ever
The mundane task of turning a key in a lock to reveal its contents is something that hasn’t changed in… well, forever, really. But what if you could hear the treasure chest opening noise from The Legend of Zelda whenever you did it? Step in, 96pen on Twitter. Watch, gasp, and then work out if you want to buy a second Nintendo Switch just to have it set up like this permanently. Amazing.
Given how early we are into LABO’s life cycle, it’s incredible that people are already doing this, but someone has made a working, if slightly rudimentary guitar. It works similarly to how a midi-based guitar would on an iPad, using GarageBand, with the Joy-Con buttons controlling variables, but drawn rectangular blocks simulating a strummable guitar. Given time, we’re sure we’ll see the Switch screen mounting to a pre-made, maybe even 3D-printed guitar. Sure, you could just use that iPad, or your phone, but that’s far less creative!
Undertale’s Sans' boss fight
We’ve saved the craziest until last, as this one recreates a boss battle (with Sans, the skeleton) from Undertale, only in real life. According to the creator, “The left joystick button turns the voice playback and BGM on, and the stick pushes the laser, and the rod is coming from the direction of the joystick. Right joy you can play with two people because of the sound of the knife attack.” But honestly, it’s best understood by watching it. Don’t try this at home, though, or you might end up making your brain explode. This one has floored us.