back to article Nintendo Labo: After a day spent fiddling with flaps, you may be ready to, er, Lego

There's a scene in Showtime's Billions where a forward-thinking hedge fund manager is interviewing prospective quantitative analysts and gives them a flat-packed cardboard box. The candidates come and go until one finally correctly supposes that the box is impossible to put together, and recognition of this apparently shows the …

  1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  2. Elledan
    Happy

    That warm, fuzzy feeling

    Right from the moment that Nintendo Labo got announced I had this feeling that it might just turn into something awesome. Sure, the functionality that it brings isn't world-shattering. As the fine article rightly points out, Lego (and others) have been there already.

    The biggest innovation Labo brings is that it's _cheap_. This enables the children who get a Labo kit to start glancing at all this wonderful cardboard, rope and tape lying around the house and beginning to picture their own creations, reusing a Labo kit or taking inspiration from it.

    Compare this to Lego Mindstorms and kin, which when all comes down to it, is rather dull. The contraptions you can build with it are fairly limited, you're not going to build a grub-stumping robotic exoskeleton with it any time soon. Buying additional Lego kits is expensive, and as I have noticed over the past years, Lego has become less about 'here's a pile of bricks, make something with it' and more of a 'here's a design, build it according to the instructions' kind of thing.

    It's hard to beat the cost, flexibility and wide availability of cardboard here. Want to repair or extend something? Just grab that cardboard Amazon box before your dad throws it into the bin and scurry off with it like a prized possession before turning it into another marvelous invention.

    The parents will no doubt also appreciate the lack of constant pestering for $200+ Lego kits by their offspring :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That warm, fuzzy feeling

      "The parents will no doubt also appreciate the lack of constant pestering for $200+ Lego kits by their offspring"

      Er... no, they'll be nagging for a £280 Nintendo switch plus £54 for labo. My kids are the right age for it, but I'd only consider Labo if we already had a switch, which we don't.

      Unfortunately for my kids, I've blown my budget for toys on a 3D printer instead.... Unfortunately for me, my kids have discovered it and are using it to print school projects rather than making things out of clay and papier mache. (Er, thanks for making things easy for them, TinkerCAD.)

      1. Joe Werner Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: That warm, fuzzy feeling

        Yeah, I was a bit (read: a lot) shocked after I realised that the "cheap, throwaway, experimental" stuff needs a 300 quid or so games console. Thanks, I'll skip that. (let's wait and see, if the kids want one in the future I'll have a say in what they will get *rubs hands*)

        One thing I really like about LEGO Mindstorms is that it lets me use all the skills (ok, a number of them) from the time I was still doing experimental physics. The control software is LabVIEW which we used in our lab. Still enjoy that! Only thing is that I need to visit my brother and ask nicely so he lets me play with his toys (he got it for his 30th birthday a few years ago). Not that I don't like visiting him and his family, but it's a bit of a drive... and his LEGO is currently stored because of a toddler who does not yet get the "this is daddy's toy, and also please don't stick it into your mouth, you'll suffocate".

        I'll look at TinkerCAD. My kids are too young for that (at the moment), but you have to start at some point ;)

        1. Killfalcon Silver badge

          Re: That warm, fuzzy feeling

          "Er... no, they'll be nagging for a £280 Nintendo switch plus £54 for labo. My kids are the right age for it, but I'd only consider Labo if we already had a switch, which we don't."

          Which is why the Lego comparison works, IMO. Lego make a lot more than two sets, so the Lego hobby rapidly passes Nintendo Labo's cost. Once you have the Labo software, you can make new cardboard toys that still work with it: it's not so easy to make Lego-compatibles from old cereal boxes.

          But obviously, the Switch's cost is front-loaded. You can't buy a £20 switch mini-kit as a starter like you can with Lego. Once you have a Switch, Labo becomes a much more reasonable looking cost. If you don't have a Switch... I don't blame you for baulking at the bill.

        2. J. Cook Silver badge
          Go

          Re: That warm, fuzzy feeling

          I use tinkerCAD to make parts on my 3d printer; occasionally, It's been used to modify other people's parts to fit my needs. (such as adding holes, or slapping a solid bit to the shape and then adding a hole to that as an additional mounting flange)

          The UI is... mostly intuitive, but can be infuriating at times. But, hey, it's free, so I can't complain overmuch about it. :)

          Amusingly enough, I broke my old lego set out of cold storage a month ago to prototype a frame to hold a set of small (1.5") TFT displays and rig up something that can open the lid of a wooden chest; I have this neat idea for a halloween prop and figured it'd be faster to protoype the structure in lego and then build out what I need using lumber and 3d printed parts.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That warm, fuzzy feeling

      > Compare this to Lego Mindstorms and kin, which when all comes down to it, is rather dull.

      The old "LEGO Technic" was great. One could build almost everything and combine it with regular LEGO blocks. The "New LEGO Technic" isn't really compatible with regular LEGO blocks - what a dumb decision.

      Lego Mindstorm is very niche, it's just an outdated robotics controller. Hasn't anything with Nintendo Labo in common.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    only nintendo

    Only nintendo could get idiots to pay nearly 2x the price for a shrunken (6inch) nvidia shield tablet and £60 for some cardboard..

    Fools and money are easily parted comes to mind...

    1. David Nash Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: only nintendo

      Did you read the article?

      You're paying for the software.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: only nintendo

      Fucking right! Nintendo know how to make games fun, something Nvidia haven't got a single clue about.

      And as you need two shields to emulate what a switch does (their TV product is separate to their handheld) twice the price isn't unreasonable. Oh, and shield portable doesn't have a pair of detachable controllers for two player portable fun.

      You don't really know what you're talking about, do you?

  4. gregthecanuck

    I had to say it

    How long until Microsoft tries to copy this idea?

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: I had to say it

      And loses $9 billion.

    2. RyokuMas Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: I had to say it

      About as long as a reg commentard who is still stuck in the 90s has to drag their anti-Microsoft bias into a thread that otherwise has nothing to do with Microsoft?

      1. onefang Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: I had to say it

        Or maybe Apple will "invent" it, and charge three times as much.

  5. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    How does this differ...

    ...Labo joins a host of build-and-play toys already on the market...

    ...from the model boats, planes, trainsets and Meccano which were standard fare in the 1950s and 1960s, and which you had to put together before you could play with them?

    A case of re-inventing the Wheel, methinks....

    1. LeahroyNake Silver badge

      Re: How does this differ...

      Mainly because you can make the stuff from cardboard and program it... if you have meccano laying about I'm sure you can use it to make something more solid and use the software to improve on the features ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How does this differ...

        "[...] if you have meccano laying about I'm sure you can use it to make something more solid [...]"

        Nowadays Meccano seems relatively flimsy. Looking to build something with decent gears - the only source was buying individual antique components on eBay - at a price. Made me wonder what my parents did with my Meccano No2 set in its wooden chest - with all its beautiful brass gears. Making a differential gear was an education in itself.

        1. Keith Oborn

          Re: How does this differ...

          Go here for Meccano buts:

          https://www.meccanospares.com/

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "But all this comes with a hefty £300 tag miles away from the essentially throwaway price point of the Labo. "

    My neighbour's teenagers are into Lego - they think nothing of splurging their birthday money on a £350 Lego model. Even though they have been introduced to electronics and programming at school - they have no interest in applying that to Lego.

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