Did you feel like you had some unfinished business with Toy-Con Garage?
No, not exactly, but I did feel that we could evolve it further. The Toy-Con Garage tool is the final practical application part of the Nintendo Labo: VR Kit, and at first, we expected that only a handful of people would get to it. However, after holding a Toy-Con Garage contest, I realised that there were many interesting and rewarding games among all of the original games created by players using Toy-Con Garage, and I wanted more people to experience the joy of creating their own games. I also wanted to find a way to make it easier for people to have the fun of creating games through trial and error.
Even within the development team for Nintendo Labo, designers who don’t usually do programming have been using the Toy-Con Garage feature to create their own games. But sometimes, they’d stop part way through, because they didn’t know how to continue making the game they wanted to make. And then they would come and ask Masuda-san, who developed the Toy-Con Garage. And they gradually learned how to make games. At that time, Masuda-san answered all their questions, so you became like their technical support, didn’t you? (laughing)
After hearing all those questions from designers and seeing all the games created by players, I realised that this Toy-Con Garage portion is fun and that we might be able to expand that fun if we had a system that provides guidance on how to create games using Toy-Con Garage, making it more approachable for players.
In other words, the challenge with Toy-Con Garage was about explaining how to create, and your objective this time was to resolve that challenge?
That’s right. With the Nintendo Labo series, you learn how the hardware works by making and playing with the cardboard Toy-Con. And then, by applying that knowledge, some people could go as far as creating their own original games using Toy-Con Garage. By acting as “technical support” and answering those questions from our designers, I thought, “What if I turn this order around?”. To put it another way, Nintendo Labo started by providing an understanding of how the hardware worked and eventually led to the creation of software, while Game Builder Garage uses the creation of software as an entry point for the user to experience programming first-hand. Nintendo Labo has the “Make” portion, which I personally think are the coolest assembly instructions in the world, and I thought of applying this know-how to the “make” part of programming. I thought this would help people enjoy the “Make, Play, Discover” aspects of Nintendo Labo from a different angle.
In other words, you wanted to bring the final software creation elements of Nintendo Labo to the fore.
Yes, and just like Masuda-san became “tech support” for the designers, I thought if there were a guide or navigator for the players, they would better be able to enjoy the possibility of being able to make their own games!
Then, the tutorial guide for the interactive lessons is…actually, Masuda-san?
Yes, I guess you can say that it’s Masuda-san’s alter ego. (Laughing)