Nintendo Patents Game Boy Emulator for Mobile Devices, Airplane Seats and More

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The Big N takes the fight to unlicensed Game Boy emulators by filing a patent for its own.

TechCrunch reports that NeoGAF supersleuth Rosti has uncovered a patent application filed by Nintendo Co., Ltd. for "Hand-held Video Game Platform Emulation," which was recently filed at the USPTO. The patent application focused on a software emulator that would let users play Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance games on small display screens that have low capabilities, such as cell phones, PDAs (do people still use those?), and chair display screens found on airplanes and trains.

Based on this patent filing, it looks like Nintendo wants to maintain a hold on its older collections of handheld games. This is likely due to the rise of unofficial emulation software throughout the smartphone and tablet markets. Most of this unofficial emulated software focuses on the older generations of games, which include the Game Boy and GBA handhelds since they were not graphics-intensive. Nintendo already has the Virtual Console system, which lets players play NES, SNES and Game Boy games on the Nintendo 3DS, Wii and Wii U. At the same time, there are massive faults with the Virtual Console, such as a small library (most likely due to copyright conflicts) and particular limitations on the 3DS' Virtual Console. It's quite ridiculous that the 3DS' Virtual Console still doesn't play SNES or GBA games.

Rosti's post contained the following excerpts from the patent filing:

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.

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