Nintendo’s decision to join the mobile market in 2015 surprised a lot of people, but it sure did not impact the company’s penchant for coming up with wacky new hardware. It has also given them a window to continue making more money than anyone understands on nostalgia for products that are decades old. This newly published US patent, discovered by Siliconera, seems to let you turn your smartphone into a good ol’ Game Boy. Not just for show, this casing will have entirely functional buttons, and seems to be made to allow you to simulate the experience of playing a real Game Boy. Whether the buttons will have that same satisfying chunkiness to them is a whole different (but important) question.
A conductive sheet inside the cover allows button presses to be sensed the same way a human finger would. The case leaves several parts of the phone unobstructed. The most obvious part is the Game Boy screen, where the image is displayed. The smartphone’s camera, speakerphone, and charging port are also free, allowing you to use them without removing the casing.
Nintendo has made no announcements yet regarding the new product, nor how games made to fit it will be made available. It is likely that the elves in Nintendo’s workshop are developing some form of emulation software. Perhaps we will see Pokémon Red and Blue on the App Store and Google Play one day. One can certainly dream. Nintendo mentions in the patent that the cover is not limited exclusively to smartphones, which leaves open the possibility of it being used on a Switch or on tablets.