This week in video games, April 23, 2018: Be a maker with Nintendo's inventive new Labo DIY game

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      This week, the annual NHL 18 simulation suggests sweet victory for the Winnipeg Jets, and EA Play will jump-=start the annual E3 festivities in June. But first, Nintendo Labo will have you crafting with cardboard to play with your Switch.

      Labo, Nintendo’s experiment with DIY video game peripherals, now available

      Nintendo Labo is like nothing you’ve thought a video game could be. Designed to be used with the Nintendo Switch, the Labo will have you constructing peripherals out of heavyweight cardboard that you can then use to interact with the game experience.

      It all works by integrating the Switch mobile console and wireless Joy-Con controllers with the cardboard creations.

      And although the kits come with instructions to build some creations, you can also create your own with the support of the “Toy-Con Garage”, a feature that unlocks after you’ve figured out how it all works.

      The Variety Kit ($90) includes instructions for things like a piano and fishing rod. The Robot Kit ($100) has you assembling a backpack so you can use it to control the movements of an on-screen mech.

      Nintendo is also selling replacement parts. Although the company says the Labo peripherals are robust, repeated use will most certainly risk breakage.

      EA Sports predicts Stanley Cup championship for Winnipeg Jets

      The Winnipeg Jets are through to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in the modern era, and as of the writing of this article, the Toronto Maple Leafs are on the verge of elimination by the Boston Bruins.

      Maybe EA Sports’ annual simulation has accurately predicted the result this year.

      Using detailed player data, the playoffs—as determined by the NHL 2018 video game—had Winnipeg defeating the Bruins in a seven-game final series.

      Last year, the simulation had Nashville beating Montreal, but in the end Pittsburgh defeated the Predators in the final series. In 2011, EA Sports predicted the Canucks would be Stanley Cup champions.

      EA Play back in Hollywood as E3 2018 looms

      The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo is back in Los Angeles this spring, and Electronic Arts is again staging EA Play at the same time.

      The event, which is open to the public, starts at 11 a.m. local time on Saturday, June 9, and runs through the weekend, ending just as E3 kicks into high gear.

      If you’re going to be near the Hollywood Palladium, you can get a ticket to join in on the fun. The picture above was taken last year and shows a massive mech from the game Titanfall.

      But EA Play is also about the publisher’s live show, which streams almost constantly for the three days. It kicks off with a big media event and continues with developer interviews, gaming competitions, and more. You can watch the festivities on any number of channels.

      In the spotlight are EA Sports titles like Madden and FIFA and  the Battlefield franchise in all its forms.

      I’ll be looking for more details on Anthem, the next game coming from Bioware. It’s an all-new action shooter franchise.

      Games released or releasing soon

      • Star Wars Battlefront II’s Night on Endor update, now available, lets players become an Ewok fighting against stormtrooper invaders. Or you can play as the Imperial forces trying to hold on until an extraction is possible.