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Let the nostalgia flow: Nintendo patents playable Game Boy smartphone case

If the Game Boy-inspired case becomes real, it would not be the first time Nintendo turns nostalgia into something that sells.

Published onOctober 5, 2018

  • One of Nintendo’s patent applications shows off what looks to be a Game Boy-inspired smartphone case.
  • The case features a cutout for the display, along with the traditional D-pad, B, A, Start, and Select buttons.
  • Patent applications do not guarantee that the product will become a real thing.

With Nintendo’s NES and SNES Classic consoles proving that there is still significant interest in the 129-year-old company’s older titles, might Nintendo channel that desire into a nostalgia-filled smartphone case that hits me and plenty of others right in the childhood? That is what the company’s recently-surfaced patent application suggests.

Filed this spring, the patent application shows off what looks to be a smartphone case that takes plenty of cues from the classic Game Boy design. From the D-pad and two slanted buttons to the start and select buttons, the design is straight from 1989.

The application suggests Nintendo might pull off some clever tricks with the design, however. All the buttons look to have corresponding touch inputs, with the square cutout theoretically able to turn the phone into a Game Boy-like screen. There are even cutouts for the earpiece and the bottom portion of the smartphone, presumably to allow folks to take calls without the need to remove the case.

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Keep in mind, there is no guarantee a patent application will eventually become a real product. There are also many questions that come to mind were that to happen, such as what game distribution would look like and which phones would support the case.

Also, games like Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes show that Nintendo has done a decent job translating some of its popular series into popular mobile games.

Then again, Nintendo is not afraid to turn nostalgia into something that sells. Nintendo will reportedly release a Nintendo 64 Classic in the near future, while the company’s Nintendo Switch Online service features a curated collection of slightly-modernized NES titles.

The case would also spell doom for smaller companies which released look-alike Game Boy smartphone cases. Many of these cases feature their own displays and batteries, though they do not play Nintendo titles. There is no mistaking where the design elements originated from, however, so many of these third-party companies will likely halt sales in an attempt to avoid lawsuits.

Do you see Nintendo releasing a Game Boy-inspired smartphone case? What approach do you think the company will take? Sound off in the comments below!

NEXT: Dragalia Lost, Nintendo’s next mobile game, is out now on Android

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