Nintendo eventually had to pull me away from my fishing rod (I was trying to catch a really big marlin in the game!) to bring me to a demonstration area where it had set up completed versions of the Labo cardboard creations. In addition to the ones we tried, there was a motorbike racing game, an odd house-controlling contraption, a tiny, working piano, and a large backpack and headset combination that lets you pretend to be a giant robot smashing buildings.

Even though I am ostensibly an adult with a job, a 401(k) account, and back problems, for a brief period that day, I felt like a kid again. I was doing something that was just fun in and of itself. It’s impressive how often Nintendo manages to elicit this feeling, and I’d say it’s something it does better than any other games company. It continues to produce games like Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that are both challenging and engrossing, as well as hardware that’s revolutionary. And every so often, it peppers in completely zany ideas like Labo that few other companies would consider even trying.

Nintendo may well have weaponized nostalgia to sell adults new variations on the same things it produced and loved as kids in the 1980s and 1990s, but the kids at the event weren’t even glimmers in the eyes of their parents then. Nintendo is winning over a new generation with great new ideas, which means it has yet another generation of people to repackage products to in the 2040s.

Its future is secure.

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