Tech: A new Nintendo patent shows how a smartphone case could turn your phone into a working Game Boy

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A design sketch for Nintendo's planned Game Boy phone case.

This Nintendo phone case would turn the face of your touch screen into a Game Boy with functioning buttons.

  • Nintendo filed a US patent for a Game Boy-style phone case in March 2018.
  • The case is designed to turn a smartphone's touchscreen into a functioning Game Boy with a working control pad and buttons.
  • Nintendo does not currently have any Game Boy software available for Android or iOS devices, but the case design suggests that a line of handheld games are on the way.

Nintendo has filed a patent for a phone case that would turn your touch screen into a Game Boy with functioning buttons.

Siliconera discovered the design documents for the case, which was first submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in March 2018.

Based on the images provided, the case would open like a book, with the front cover serving as the face of the Game Boy. The smartphone would snap into place on the bottom layer of the case. When the case is closed, it would limit the view to the classic Game Boy screen and the buttons would be fully usable with the touch screen.

Like the original Game Boy, the case has A and B buttons, a directional pad, and start and select buttons. The L and R buttons featured on the Game Boy Advance are not present.

Nintendo does not currently offer any Game Boy software for Android or iOS devices, but this patented case could mean retro handheld games are on the way. Nintendo jumped into the smartphone gaming market in 2016 and has been wildly successful so far. "Pokemon Go" was a global phenomenon when it launched in July 2016 and "Fire Emblem Heroes" has grossed more than $400 million worldwide since its launch in February 2017.

Still, it's important to take this news with a grain of salt. Companies patent ideas all the time, and a very small number of them see the light of day, or make it into actual products you can buy. Still, we could see this smartphone case being a bit hit, especially among Nintendo fans.

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