Video Game Laboratory | Preview

Video Game Laboratory | Preview

We had the opportunity to attend a Hands-Off event, organized by Nintendo, entirely dedicated to the new Video Game Laboratory due out for Switch on June 11th. A project that is in some ways ambitious and that seeks to shift the focus from creation alone, already seen in similar productions released in previous years, to a mixture that groups within it: fun, education and creation.

To achieve this difficult goal, Nintendo has "simply" shifted the center of gravity of the entire experience towards entertainment, focusing primarily on providing a playful system that can make this Videogame Laboratory a fun product first and foremost. A system of interactive lessons that is able to involve even less creative users, accompanying them in all the basic aspects that lead to the creation of a video game.

The concept behind the Videogames Laboratory is very simple: imagine you can detach the front panel of your monitor while you are playing a video game and find behind it, a set of interconnected animated buttons that work to perform all the tasks useful to realize in real time what you are playing. Here it is! Videogame Laboratory is comparable to all that typical imagery of the 80s and 90s, where when a technological object was disassembled, there was a group of creatures inside it designed to keep it constantly operational.

These creatures, in the case of the Videogame Laboratory, they are called Nodon. They are animated buttons, all characterized with the usual style that distinguishes Nintendo and all used to perform a certain role. We will find the Nodon who will take care of managing the audio sector, the one who will take care to trigger a visual effect at a given moment, those who will collaborate to make the characters move on the screen and so on.

Managing the numerous Nodons present in the videogame laboratory is very simple, although complex to master when you want to create elaborate creations. We will have a grid of considerable size, with a section inside that will show the player the part of the screen visible at that precise moment. Taking advantage of the grid we could place all the Nodons we want, both inside the game area and outside it, to achieve obstacles, enemies, goals and all that the numerous options made available by Nintendo will offer us.

In the same way we could change the appearance of our character, add background music, start a Jingle to gather a certain object, define the consistency of the various elements that we will put on the screen and indulge ourselves with a series of MACROs that they will allow us to obtain specific effects based on the actions we are going to perform in the game we are creating. All this with an incredible ease of use and with the possibility of switching in an instant from the game screen to the background composed by Nodon to make all the necessary corrections to make our creation more and more interesting.

Se Up to now everything might seem similar to other creation software, with just a few variations on the theme dictated by the timeless style of Nintendo, Videogame Laboratory manages to reveal its real potential when you get closer to its more playful aspect. Other similar productions have always offered two very specific realities: the creative one, where we are simply offered a digital canvas with which to practice, and the playful one, where we can spend hours and hours playing the creations of other users. Videogame Laboratory changes the cards on the table, mixing these two aspects in a series of guided lessons, which allow the user to start from one of the pre-packaged games from Nintendo, to learn more and more complex notions until you find yourself having the right baggage of skills to move in total autonomy.

In the presentation we attended, we were shown various games inspired by other famous Nintendo Blockbusters. We find, for example, Tag Showdown which is trivially inspired by Super Smash Bros or Super Person World which is clearly a three-dimensional platformer that recalls a certain mustachioed plumber. The artistic style of these creations is deliberately anonymous and undoubtedly original for this very reason. The polygonal models are only apparently rough, embellished by a design that releases a mixture of inspirations ranging from the typical construction games for children, based on colored blocks, and the polygonal models typical of pre-productions

Returning to how the lessons present in the Videogame Laboratory are composed, we find a system that step by step will require the player to use the different types of Nodon to modify practically every aspect of the final experience. We will obviously start with the rudiments that will allow you to learn how to make the character move, make him make jumps and make him follow or not by the camera, all, of course, learning how to connect the various Nodons to each other, defining the actions that they will have to perform in a certain moment.

With regard to Nodons, it is appreciable how banal tools have been made fun, different and characterized with unique personalities. It may seem a childish and excessively disengaged aspect but we can assure you that a clear and immediate visual input can prove to be a game changer for the whole experience, allowing you to quickly recognize a work tool through a simple and clear iconography.

What surprised us during the entire presentation of the Videogames Laboratory was the apparent immediacy of the whole structure set up by Nintendo. The host moved the protagonist in a two-dimensional environment, entered the section dedicated to the Nodons, inserted a couple of elements on the screen, tested them in real time, returned to make corrections on the fly and in a few minutes a rudimentary complete level appeared in each of his part. A simple and practical system that, combined with the different lessons present in the software, could very quickly allow you to create convincing and satisfying creations with a naturalness that is currently unthinkable through other creation tools.

Obviously, in the Videogames Laboratory there will be the essential aspect of sharing and although the information in our possession is still nebulous, Nintendo has already communicated that it will be possible, through the exchange of Creator IDs, to consult the libraries of other players in order to test, evaluate and learn new solutions through the projects of other users.

Ultimately what we have seen so far regarding the Videogames Laboratory has convinced us, there are undoubtedly some aspects that will be evaluated during the review phase, to understand how much the offer proposed by Nintendo can breach those users who are normally refractory to this type of project. The qualities to become a Must Have for Nintendo Switch seem to be all there but the future of this production, as usual for this type of software, will be almost all in the hands of the communities that will be created around the project, as well as constant support that we are sure that it will not fail from Nintendo.

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