How about that Nintendo Labo, huh? Video games built around cardboard! What a nutty idea! Or… is it? In truth, Labo fits perfectly into Nintendo’s lengthy history of creating interesting play experiences with low-cost materials. The company has been spinning fun out of mundane, unexpected objects for half a century, ever since the late Gunpei Yokoi got bored on assembly line duty and invented the company’s first-ever hit toy (the Ultra Hand) for his own amusement.
Yokoi’s legacy lives on in Labo. He once described his core philosophy as a toy and game maker as “lateral thinking with seasoned technology”—that is, coming up with fun and surprising concepts built around common, inexpensive tech. From calculator watches to chunks of cardboard, this unconventional, economic approach to design has always been one of Nintendo’s greatest strengths. In honor of Labo, we’ve combed through history and found the 10 most brilliant examples of the company turning boring ideas into boundless fun.
Swipe through our gallery below!
Which strange and wonderful Nintendo creation is your favorite? Let us know!