This ergonomic Nintendo Switch concept was inspired by a classic video game baddie

Although it was hardly the first portable gaming console, the Nintendo Switch undeniably re-ignited a gaming market that was ready for something novel and mobile. In terms of raw power, it couldn’t stand up against its Xbox and PlayStation contemporaries, but its portability and flexibility quickly endeared it to the current generation of gamers and their more itinerant lifestyles. Over the years, however, the design flaws of the Switch’s form surfaced, particularly when it came to the comfort and ergonomics of the handheld device. Since Nintendo itself doesn’t seem keen on addressing those pain points, third-party manufacturers and designers have taken upon themselves the task of coming up with solutions, some more unconventional than others. This concept, for example, retains the basic Switch design but puts a unique twist that also ends up making it look a little bit more interesting.

Designer: Duncan Crosse

The innovation that the Nintendo Switch brought to the gaming world was its ability to be a handheld gaming device as well as a home console in one. The secret sauce is, of course, the removable Joy-con controllers that opened a whole new world of use cases, including a pair of exercise equipment. For all the advantages that they brought, the Joy-cons lacked that final polish when it came to ergonomics. It wasn’t exactly terrible, but gamers could definitely feel the strain after a few hours.

Third-party accessory makers started pushing out Joy-con alternatives, some with Nintendo’s blessing even, that tried to improve that aspect of usability. The designs vary slightly, but the basic concept remains the same. By changing the shape of the Joy-cons to match the shape of typical game controllers, the Switch’s comfort can be improved significantly. This concept design, however, challenges that assumption by changing not the shape of the Joy-con but only its vertical position.

Named after one of the enemies of the iconic Invaders computer game, the Small Invaders design concept only makes a single adjustment to the Switch’s structural design. It adds an additional “Session” mode where the Joy-cons can sit lower down the side rails of the main Switch body. This creates a way for the player’s fingers to wrap around the Joy-cons, similar to how they would wrap around the bulges of conventional gamepads. That said, the device could still be used normally in a “Casual” mode where all three parts are aligned perfectly. The design also throws in small details that will delight Nintendo fans, like the use of element icons for the buttons, a nod to Pokemon’s four basic types.

With this concept, there is no need to change the somewhat flat design language of the Nintendo Switch. In fact, the Small Invader design takes that even further by applying some design cues inspired by Teenage Engineering, particularly with the use of clean geometric shapes. Of course, Small Invader would require a re-engineering of how the Joy-cons physically connect to the Switch, so it’s never going to happen. Still, it’s a worthwhile thought exercise that actually resulted in an interesting and fun design that we do wish would become a reality.

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NinDoio is a fun-looking device for leveling up your productivity game

Every year, more people have to sit in front of computers for work or sometimes even for leisure. While some jobs might be simple enough to get by with the basics of word processing or spreadsheets, a lot require more complex processes and multiple steps, not to mention the use of a variety of software to get the job. That’s even more true for those involved in digital content creation, whether they be designers, programmers, writers, or even streamers. The number of actions they need to take can be overwhelming, especially when you have to navigate around the computer screen to get to those. It would definitely be a great deal if you could press just one or a few keys to get things done, which is what this device tries to do in a way that almost makes it feel like you’re playing a game.

Designer: Megalodon

There are about a hundred keys on a computer keyboard, more or less depending on the layout and the device. That gives you a variety of ways and nearly endless possible combinations to trigger actions like launching an application, undoing an edit, or rendering an animation. That flexibility, however, also comes at the cost of complexity, especially when it comes to remembering which key combinations do which actions on which applications. There are a variety of tools today that try to simplify that task, but Megalodon’s NinDoio adds an element of fun to what is really serious business.

What makes the NinDoio different from many “macro pads,” as they are called, is that it looks more like a toy rather than a productivity tool. In fact, it looks very much like a Nintendo Game Boy Advance, which is definitely the inspiration for its design as well as its moniker. Regardless of the name and shape, it still delivers the same power as any macro pad does, which is to map a single button or key to an action. For example, you won’t have to memorize the combination for “undo” when you can just press a single button that you’ve committed to muscle memory.

Unlike a simple grid of keys, the NinDoio adds a few controls you’d associate with gaming devices and controllers. Four of the buttons, for example, are arranged in a cross like a D-pad, while two are labeled Start and Select, even if they can be assigned to unrelated actions. The two knobs on the right can be mapped to actions like scrolling a page or changing the size of a brush. They can also be pushed like regular buttons, though, which adds another layer of functionality to them.

The very appearance of the macro pad is playful, with a translucent acrylic base that lets you take a peek at the electronics inside. Different color options for the aluminum top are available to add a bit of life to an already quirky device. Overall, the NinDoio’s appearance makes it a bit more approachable and a little less clinical, even if it performs the same functions as any of Megalodon’s other macro pads, which might just be what the doctor prescribed to make tedious work feel a bit more enjoyable like a game.

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This shapeshifting Game Boy console has the soul of a Nintendo Switch

It’s a Game Boy, it’s a Switch, it’s… both?!

Meet the Game Boy Famicom, a conceptual gaming console that pays tribute to the handheld console, the modern-day modular Nintendo Switch, and most importantly, the consoles that came before it – namely the cassette-based consoles like the SNES, SEGA Genesis, etc. It’s handheld, but features a modular design that lets you simply plug the screen into a dock the way you would a cassette (or even the Switch) for a more console-style gaming experience. The Famicom offers a landscape style gaming experience, but in a device that’s portrait in its orientation. This breaks away from the Switch’s elongated profile, giving you a console that’s more compact and easier to carry around with you. One could argue that it’s cooler too?!

Designer: Dopamine Design

The Game Boy Famicom is basically a tablet gaming device with a modular base. You can either use it with its plug-and-play controls, or swap the controls out for an adapter that lets you plug the Famicom into a rather retro-inspired dock that lets you beam your game to a larger screen like a TV or projector. It’s a conceptual successor to the Nintendo Switch, or rather, feels more like a Nintendo Switch from an alternate timeline in which the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP didn’t exist!

I just love the Game Boy Famicom’s overall vibe. It’s understated yet expressive. Minimalist yet functional and non-compromising. There’s nothing about it that makes it feel ‘lesser’ than the Switch, just because the Famicom’s design pretty much dots all I’s and crosses all T’s. Its controls are minimalistic yet detailed. You’ve got a D-pad on the left, XYAB controls on the right, and a speaker in between. A ring around the D-pad also doubles as a volume knob, letting you crank the volume on high or mute gameplay depending on where you are.

The dock is a retro icon too. The white and grey color scheme with accents of orange gives the Game Boy Famicom a major Teenage Engineering appeal that elevates the concept to another level entirely. Sigh… if only this existed!

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Nintendo Radio completely encapsulates the nostalgic Game Boy spirit

It’s a shame that Big N doesn’t have a radio on the market yet. If that’s how you think as a Nintendo fan, Aditya Pandharpure has a surprising entrant: the Nintendo Radio!

Nintendo has been quenching our thirst for gaming ever since I can remember. The video gaming company has been at the helm of entertainment and happiness for generations of families, fans and gamers – not essentially in the same order – worldwide. Right from the Game Boy to the Nintendo Switch, the journey has been impeccable with little to deviate the company from the underline agenda of transforming the gaming industry.

Designer: Aditya Pandharpure

Now, if big N was to take a leap of faith into the retro classic category, perhaps, Aditya’s idea would be a feasible aspect to tap the growing fandom. A Nintendo Radio, which has little too much resemblance to the classic Game Boy. What else would the Nintendo Radio look like? Fittingly, the toggle buttons create an instant nostalgia, while the overall shape of the radio and the color schemes leaves no surprises.

So, we can instantly recognize one half of the rectangular device, which has the half coved by a grayed speaker grill. The aforementioned half is further divided into two equal portions: top for the analog/digital display, showing the tuned-in station and the frequency, while the bottom half here features the good old red and black themed buttons.

The four red circles comprising on/off and AM/AM bands are aligned alongside the black direction pad, with the volume rocker on the horizontal plane and shuffle on the vertical. The retro-futurism of the very enticing Nintendo Radio is topped by the plasticky antenna, which presumably rests flat along the top of the device.

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This parallel-universe ‘landscape’ Game Boy Classic feels like the Nintendo Switch’s earliest ancestor

A YouTuber named Obirux finally made it happen, giving the Game Boy Classic its ‘Advance’ moment.

You know that TikTok trend where you give kids VHS tapes and ask them what it is and they have no clue? Or if you gave them a floppy disk and they’d think it was a 3D-printed ‘Save’ icon? Well, chances are that if you give them a Game Boy, they’d just call it an old Nintendo Switch. However, the classic Game Boy wasn’t a landscape gaming device until the GBA. YouTuber Obirux, however, decided to just hack a landscape Game Boy Classic into existence. By pulling apart an existing Game Boy and repurposing the hardware into a new kit, Obirux managed to make a fun landscape-oriented console based on the original, which launched all the way back in 1989.

Designer: Obirux

Notably, Obirux’s build doesn’t use a 3D-printed enclosure. Instead, he pulled apart two Game Boys and used their plastic shells to make a new landscape outer body. In fact, in the image below, you can see bits of plastic or putty on the inside, holding the shell together. The new build doesn’t use the same screen as the original either. Instead, Obirux swapped it out for a newer display with a modified PCB and a backlight (that can change colors too!) He even ditched the AA batteries for Lithium-ion ones, which end up lasting much longer.

The new build retains the original’s essence but in a fresh, landscape orientation. Although not shown in the video, it’s remarkable how Obirux used the plastic outer body pieces and simply re-joined them to make the Game Boy orient differently. The controls are the same too, except for a new button on the top to toggle the backlight… and the new Game Boy uses the same cartridge system on the back, completing the experience!

Obirux decided to name his prototype the Game Boy DMG-0B, a homage to the original model number of the Game Boy DMG-01, where DMG stands for Dot Matrix Game. The Game Boy DMG-0B, like all of Obirux’s builds, was listed on his website for sale. His site features other unique works, including a bunch of Game Boy Advance modifications. Sadly though, everything listed on his site’s already sold out!

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LEGO Releasing 2,807-Piece Mighty Bowser Build Set

Because LEGO and Nintendo are a match made in heaven, LEGO will release a 2,807-piece Mighty Bowser build set this October for $270. It’s not the cheapest LEGO set, but it is probably the most likely to steal the princess and constantly move her to another castle.

LEGO Bowser stands approximately 12.5″ tall, and his head and neck can be moved via a button underneath his shell, which can also be pressed to launch a fireball from his mouth. His arms, fingers, legs, and tail are all poseable, and if I don’t get one for Christmas this year, I’m ostracizing my entire family.

In the video, they talk about how fun a build it is, which I believe. Especially with the internal mechanisms to move Bowser’s head and shoot the fireball. Will I be able to build it successfully? Absolutely not. Not that I’m going to open it on Christmas anyways… so-called family that loves me!

[via Polygon]

Nintendo x Cold Stone Creamery Video Game Themed Sundaes

If there’s one thing Nintendo knows how to do, it’s sell products. Cold Stone Creamery teamed up with the video game giant to sell ice cream sundaes themed after some of their most popular games. I don’t know about you, but I’m already waiting outside my local Cold Stone waiting for them to open so I can try them all.

Varieties include the Mario Party Superstars-inspired Superstar Sprinkle Blast (cake batter ice cream, yellow cake, blue frosting, and rainbow sprinkles), Animal Crossing’s Island Getaway (chocolate ice cream, strawberries, banana and whipped topping), and Kirby’s Mighty Pink Puff (strawberry ice cream, strawberries, mini marshmallows, and caramel). Which sounds best to you? I’m going to mix them all together and create a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate sundae!

There’s also a Mario Kart Rainbow Road-inspired ice cream cake available, which I better get for my next birthday. OR ELSE. Or else I’ll be locking myself in my room and crying for the remainder of the day. You know, the usual.

[via NintendoLife]

This custom-made circular Game Boy is an object of pure weirdness

I don’t think anybody’s ever held a Game Boy and gone “Maybe this would be better as a circular device”. Sure, it would look cool, but the potential pros are heavily outweighed by the potential cons. Nevertheless, here we are with Love Hultén’s latest custom build, a weirdly circular Nintendo Game Boy that also comes with a circular display to match its body. At best, it’s weirdly fun, at worst it’s a usability nightmare, but then again, Hultén isn’t planning on selling this piece. It’s purely a custom build to flex his DIY skills and probably rile the internet up a little.

Designer: Love Hultén

From the looks of it, Hultén’s custom build was pretty much made from scratch and didn’t involve harming or hurting any existing Game Boys. Having extensively worked with circular displays (and even integrated a few into his custom-made synthesizers), Hultén managed to find a 5-inch IPS display he could spare for this build. The body looks like it was made from scratch, and the origin of those buttons could be anyone’s guess. Speaking of guessing, this custom Game Boy probably runs off an emulator fitted within its base. That also probably means all your games need to be sideloaded, and the circular Game Boy doesn’t have a slot at the back to input cartridges… although I wouldn’t put it past Hultén to actually make his own circular cartridges too!

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GameCube Advance brings a fantasy gaming handheld to life

The Nintendo Switch might be the company’s latest darling, but Nintendo has had consoles that become iconic in their own right during their lifetime. The Game Boy’s name is probably unchallenged, but the GameCube is definitely up there in the annals of gaming history. Remembered for being the first Nintendo console to use an optical disc instead of a cartridge, many GameCube fans have sought to revive the home console’s name today. One modder definitely succeeds in that goal by not only making the GameCube relevant but by also giving life to a popular fake version of the console that made rounds over the Internet more than a decade ago.

Designer: GingerOfOz

In 2005, right at the height of the GameCube’s popularity, a pair of renders sparked the interest of gamers and Nintendo fans. It was that of a portable version of the console that folded in a clamshell form, just like the Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP handheld that was launched around that time as well. In those days, Nintendo had no intentions of creating a portable version of a powerful home console, predating the creation of the Switch by more than ten years.

Someone finally tired of looking at fakes and dreaming of what could have been and made an effort to actually make this GameBoy Advance a reality. Thanks to the tools and services available even to hobbyists these days, that’s no longer an impossibility. That said, it wasn’t simply a matter of gluing pieces together, as the modder discovered the hard way.

The 2005 images, although quite attractive, were nothing but a work of fiction that couldn’t even translate into reality. The size of the hardware needed to support a GameCube disc would have made the handheld too large. The buttons, which were naturally patterned after the GameCube’s controller, would have also made it impossible to close the console shut.

In the end, GingerOfOz had to take liberties in how he implemented the design while at least sticking true to the form of the fake render. He even had to use a Wii’s internals instead of a GameCube in order to save space and reduce the device’s power consumption. And, of course, there was no optical disc drive.

The end result, however, was still a masterwork, especially since it could actually play GameCube titles with the ease and portability of a chunky Game Boy Advance. There are some limitations, of course, not to mention potential legal pitfalls with this mod, but there is an undeniable sense of satisfaction in finally making a long-standing dream a reality.

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Game Bot reimagines an iconic gaming handheld as a toy you can play on

The Switch might be Nintendo’s current darling, but it is hardly its most iconic gaming device. That distinction probably belongs to the Game Boy, the handheld gaming console that catapulted the company’s name into the nascent gaming scene, at a time when consoles were still hulking boxes that had to be kept at home. The Game Boy served as the inspiration for many new products, projects, and concepts, and this latest do-over turns the Game Boy into a robot that, in some alternate universe, could actually have been a working and usable gaming console.

Designer: Greg Dmnt (Grapheart)

The original Game Boy’s design is beautiful in its simplicity. With only a D-Pad and four buttons (counting Select and Start), Nintendo’s historic handheld was clean and distraction-free. Of course, the games from that age didn’t need the complex controls that even the simpler Nintendo Switch has today, but some gamers might have actually considered that to be a strength rather than a weakness.

That also meant that it was trivial to retrofit the Game Boy’s design, and it would still be recognizable as a Game Boy. Especially if you use the same button layout, same button designs, and same color motif as the original. Bonus points if you actually used some parts of the original Game Boy in a completely new design, one that has an uncanny resemblance to a certain Star Wars droid.

That’s exactly what this imaginative designer did with an unused Game Boy shell, prying it open and cutting it in half to reuse some of the parts. The D-Pad and action buttons are placed on the robot’s chest. According to the creator, those buttons are actually clickable, so they’d theoretically be usable if they were actually wired to some electronics. That’s sadly not the case, but the designer definitely aimed for authenticity and fidelity. He even created a custom Game Boy cartridge and packaging for Game Bot that looks and feels like the real deal.

Another interesting part of this robot’s design is the cartridge slot on its back, taken from the original Game Boy. It can hold a genuine game cartridge, and one can only imagine that the Game Bot could actually read the data off it. Maybe in the future, gaming consoles could actually be robots that can hook up to a TV when you want to play games and then follow you around as your faithful companion the rest of the day.

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