Nintendo patents Game Boy emulation for mobile applications

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Nintendo has filed a patent for Game Boy emulation software for mobile devices, among others. According to the application, the emulation code could run on smartphones and games could be displayed on screens in the seat backs of trains and airplanes.

Nintendo claims in the application that it is sometimes desirable to play Game Boy apps on other devices. The developer then talks about situations in which a person is travelling, for example by plane or train. In images, Nintendo shows that a person is playing when displayed on a screen that is incorporated in a chair back.

On the other hand, Nintendo also gives more mundane examples. For example, it might be desirable to play Game Boy applications on computers or on mobile phones. Nintendo acknowledges that similar emulation software has been around for years, but the company believes improvements can still be made. For example, the graphic options and sound effects are mentioned.

However, there are some obstacles according to the Japanese concern. Nintendo acknowledges that the required hardware is generally not included in the target devices. Creating these opportunities is therefore seen as a challenge. In addition, Nintendo notes that modern processors are not directly compatible with the instruction set of the original Game Boy processor, the Zilog Z80. This would complicate the development of emulation software on which all Game Boy applications run flawlessly.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office published the application and it was subsequently noticed by a NeoGAF user. Nintendo already submitted the application in June. The fact that Nintendo wants a patent on the emulation technology does not mean that the software is actually being developed.

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