Nintendo Game Boy Getty

Report: Nintendo developing case that turns cell phone into Game Boy

Contributed by
Oct 5, 2018

Just what we all needed but didn’t know we should be asking for: a Nintendo-developed cell phone case that magically transforms our overpriced modern-day communication leashes into 1990s-vintage Game Boys.

The Mario manufacturer has patented a folio case for smart phones that dials today’s devices all the way back to the days of Pokemon Red and Blue, Metroid II: The Return of Samus, and Tetris. If that doesn't sound like the ideal grown-up stocking stuffer, then you must be living in Kirby’s Dream Land.

Siliconera first reported the news of Nintendo’s March 16 patent filing, which aims to recreate the Game Boy experience on touch-sensitive smart phone screens with “the ability for inputs on the buttons on the casing to be sensed by the touchscreen beneath the buttons.”

Nintendo Game Boy Case Patent

United States Patent and Trademark Office

If made into an actual product, the design appears to allow players access to the tactile D-pad and A & B buttons that were once hard-wired into the handheld-addicted sense memories of gamers of a certain age. Per the filing, the device could be in development for other present-day devices, including smart tablets and possibly even the Nintendo Switch itself. 

As you can see from the patent illustration above, the idea seems to hinge on displaying Game Boy games at their original screen size and shape, isolating only as much screen real estate on modern smart devices as is necessary to take in Mario Picross or Pocket Bomberman in their intended aspect ratios. That leaves just enough room beneath for the throwback tactile buttons, giving gamers a package that pretty closely approximates the handheld dimensions — minus the thickness — of the Game Boy handheld. 

We don’t know which devices Nintendo may be developing its Game Boy case for, but we do know that Link’s Awakening is a classic worthy of being continually rediscovered by new generations of smart phone-toting fans. In a mobile gaming world crowded with pay-to-win and microtransactions, we’re definitely keeping our fingers crossed for a Game Boy-style revival.

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