Nintendo Files Patent for Game Boy Emulator

Published: November 30, 2014 3:31 PM /


Game Boy Advanced

Nintendo may soon be bringing classic games to mobile devices everywhere a newly filed patent at the United States Patent Office reveals.

The patent is for the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advanced, to patent an emulator designed for lower-capability devices, including cell phones (some of which these days may surpass the Game Boy), PDAs, and even seatback devices such as those on trains and planes. Nintendo in it speaks of other emulators that have done a good job of emulating these older systems (most notably Virtual Boy Advanced), but says it can improve upon them and improve the quality of the systems.

In particular they call out that their version can improve frame rate, graphics and sound with proper optimization. Great optimization is likely to be most important in cases of back of seats devices if they are going to work there due to the lower quality devices often put in these locations. Nintendo’s goal here is to make a device that can run on basically any hardware, regardless of design and maintain acceptable frame rate, with close as possible to the original in graphics and sound.

The Abstract from the patent filing helps state exactly what Nintendo is going for and address some of its possible tactics:

A software emulator for emulating a handheld video game platform such as GAME BOY.RTM., GAME BOY COLOR.RTM. and/or GAME BOY ADVANCE.RTM. on a low-capability target platform (e.g., a seat-back display for airline or train use, a personal digital assistant, a cell phone) uses a number of features and optimizations to provide high quality graphics and sound that nearly duplicates the game playing experience on the native platform. Some exemplary features include use of bit BLITing, graphics character reformatting, modeling of a native platform liquid crystal display controller using a sequential state machine, and selective skipping of frame display updates if the game play falls behind what would occur on the native platform.
What do you think of Nintendo finally moving into the mobile market? What games would you like to try playing on your plane ride or on the phone from these classic Nintendo devices? Share your thoughts in the comments!


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