Japanese gaming giant Nintendo has launched a line of interactive, cardboard build-and-play extras, Nintendo Labo, designed to complement its latest portable gaming console, the Nintendo Switch.

It sells the modular cardboard cutouts as printed flat die-cut sheets, which the user pops out, and puts together to make different designs such as a 13-key piano, car, and robot. Priced around US$70, when bundled with software, it turns a relatively-cheaply printed product into a premium price.

It works by combining the technology of its hardware, the Switch, which has motion-sensitive, detachable controllers called Joy-Con, with the 3D completed Nintendo Labo builds. When combined, the new creations, which the company calls Toy-Con, create a new experience for the user.

Nintendo explains, “You can build a functioning 13-key piano that brings your musical creations to life once the Nintendo Switch console and Right Joy-Con controller are inserted. As you play, the IR Motion Camera in the Right Joy-Con detects which keys are pressed and translates them into notes that are heard through the console.

“You can even take control of your very own motorbike by constructing a functioning set of handlebars, with a Joy-Con inserted in each side and the Nintendo Switch console cradled in the middle. Simply hit the ignition button, turn the right handle to engage the accelerator and watch your adventure unfold on the Nintendo Switch screen, as you race to new destinations.”

“With the Robot Kit, you can build an interactive robot suit with a visor, backpack and straps for your hands and feet, which you can then wear to assume control of a giant in-game robot.”

Nintendo says this novel use for packaging builds on its 129-year history, rooted in entertainment and game-play experiences.

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