Using an emulator to play classic Nintendo games on one’s mobile device isn’t anything new, and even the idea of Nintendo themselves publishing unique takes on games for mobile devices is old news at this point. But Nintendo bringing their retro titles to mobile devices officially? Well now, that’s something else entirely, now isn’t it?
Such a thing could happen, perhaps even sooner than we would have expected, if a recently-discovered U.S. Patent and Trade Office patent filing from March 16th, 2018 is anything to go by.
What the patent filing shows is a case in which a capacitive touchscreen device (that is, the type which only respond to direct contact with your skin, such as an iPhone, versus those which respond to stylus taps and other inputs) would be placed, with buttons on the casing able to interact with the device, regardless of whether the user is bare-handed, wearing gloves, etc. (something Mario would find handy, no doubt). Above the buttons is an opening, where the part of the screen displaying the game would be visible. Other openings for functions such as the device’s camera and speakers would also be placed as necessary.
Nintendo’s filing specifies that while a mobile phone is an example of the potential use for this device, it’s not strictly limited to that and the technology could be applied to other devices as well.
This does open up all sorts of new questions — that is, assuming that Nintendo has any intent of following through on the application with a retail release (patents are filed for things that don’t make it to market all the time, after all). For instance, could this be related to the rumored “Game Boy Classic“? Regardless, would Nintendo also consider using this device as a way of playing titles from their Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) library on mobile devices? And above all else, could we just get a re-release of the Super Game Boy version of Donkey Kong already?
Only time will tell, but for now, it should be interesting to see what this patent will bring — and if it spawns any imitators.