Nintendo’s New Cardboard Video Game Proves The Company Hates its Customers

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Nintendo)

There always seems to be a slight air of hostility behind everything that Nintendo does.

You can see it in the stock shortages for the NES and SNES Classics.

In the way “Splatoon” players are forced to relay all conversations through their smartphones in order to enjoy voice chat.

In the way that “1-2 Switch” was sold at full retail price instead of being bundled with the Switch.

Nintendo lowkey hates its customers – especially its most loyal fanbase.

Perhaps this is all penance for the failure of the Wii U, as the company punishes us for not flocking in droves to its overpriced, underpowered tethered tablet gaming console. Maybe Nintendo wants to make us suffer, so that we learn our place and stop getting ideas above our station.

Perhaps Nintendo is trying to drive away all customers that aren’t rabid fans, so that the only people left will be the ones willing to pay $80 for a few sheets of cardboard.

The Switch, despite all its flaws, has ended up becoming one of the fastest selling games consoles in history. The device is still within its first year on the market, but has flown off the shelves at an unprecedented rate.

So, naturally, with Nintendo generating so much goodwill among gamers for creating such an in-demand device, the company feels justified in creating “Nintendo Labo”.

In theory, this doesn’t sound like too terrible an idea – it’s a craft game, where you build DIY toys in order to create peripherals for a series of minigames. This game makes use of all the fancy gyroscopic tools that exist within the Switch’s JoyCons, which is good, as otherwise there’s really no point for the functionality to even exist.

There’s just one problem – “Labo” is made entirely out of ordinary corrugated cardboard.

Hope you enjoy your first ten minutes of playing your funky cardboard piano, as at about the point that the novelty begins to wear off, the entire device is going to start falling apart.

To a certain extent, Nintendo should be commended for creating something that’s more environmentally friendly than a series of plastic toys, but as the company is still making Amiibos, it’s hard to give them too much credit.

Instead, this feels like an exercise in ultimate planned obsolescence – Nintendo expects you to sink $70 or $80 (depending on the version you go for) into a game that can only be played a few times before it bends, breaks, and falls apart.

Cardboard Nintendo
Source: Nintendo

Then, you’re trapped: either your initial purchase is entirely useless, or you’ve got to buy more cardboard from Nintendo.

Plus, think of the papercuts. This is going to be brutal.

Hardcore fans of the company will insist that this is an innovative idea, and it is – the problem is that this innovation seems entirely designed around forcing consumers to spend more money.

Nintendo is proving, once and for all, that they don’t value their customers at all. It doesn’t matter whether we can play the games they make or not, all that’s important is that we keep endlessly buying literal garbage from them.

One has to wonder when Nintendo came up with the idea for “Labo”. Was this invented during the Wii U era, but the company decided that they’d better hold off until they’d earned some more goodwill from their customers? Or is this an entirely new idea, generated out of an eagerness to squeeze some extra pennies out of the wide new user base for the Switch?

Nintendo hates you. It’s something you’re going to have to get used to.

They’ll sell you as much crap as you’re willing to buy, but don’t ever think that they have your best interests at heart. If they can get away with it, they’ll sell you a cardboard box and tell you to like it or get lost.