Nintendo patents a Game Boy smartphone case with physical buttons hinting at an official GB emulator! – Exploring its potential from the point of view of someone who uses hacks
These days, various companies are milking the retro cash-bandwagon and Nintendo is no exception. Following the success of its micro-consoles, Nintendo is possibly taking its retro-themed products a step further with a potential Game Boy smartphone case with controls on the front!
What Do We Know About The Game Boy Smartphone Case?
A few days ago, the website Silicon Era discovered that Nintendo had, in March 2018, filed a patent for a Game Boy case for smartphones. From the published schematics, it’s been possible to discern the following:
- On the front, the case has physical buttons with a conductive sheet underneath in order to emulate a touch on the smartphone’s touchscreen
- This allows the user to pass input to the touch-screen with the case on even if one’s hand has non-conductive gloves on.
- Apart from conductive buttons, the front of the case also has a window which drops further hints about Nintendo’s possible intentions to make an officially sanctioned Game Boy emulator for smartphones
- It obviously includes the regular spaces for a USB connector, front-facing cameras and the speakerphone on the front. I’m personally curious about how this case would look if adapted to a notched smartphone like the iPhone X!
As of right now, Nintendo hasn’t released any official this case but it’s likely that they’ll do so soon as the patent has received substantial media attention on the internet.
Can this case be used for other games/emulators?
While Nintendo will most likely release a feature-lacking Game Boy emulator for this, I personally think that it has lots more potential due to its physical buttons. Some ideas of software that would play well with the button combination of the Game Boy are:
- Other emulators especially ones with moveable controls
- Consoles that would play well with this are the NES, GameBoy Advance (although there’s the lack of shoulder buttons), Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Sega Genesis/SMS (many Gensis games only use 2 buttons) and many others.
- Some retro-themed 2D platformers would also run well if their developers could be bothered to support such a button arrangement
- J2ME games, with software like J2ME Loader, would work great as many older mobile titles can be played with two buttons and a d-pad. The screen window would also be welcome as most J2ME games were designed to look nice on 2-3″ screens not 6″ ones!
As things stand right now, the only thing you could do is wait and hope that Nintendo will release this for your specific smartphone model. Prices may be somewhat steep but they may be worth it in the long run as this case offers physical controls without the added bulk of carrying around a controller!