Modder Turned Nintendo’s Virtual Boy into a Handheld

The Virtual Boy was Nintendo’s ill-fated attempt to create a 3D virtual reality gaming system back in the 1990s. The system required that gamers align their eyes with a tabletop viewer, much like those things they make you look into when you get a vision test at the DMV. It produced red-on-black images using LEDs and rapidly moving mirrors, and was controlled with an external joystick that you couldn’t look at while your eyes peered into the headset. Now, more than 25 years later, a talented modder has managed to build a completely working version of the Virtual Boy as a handheld.

Shank Mods says he spent almost a year on his “Real Boy” conversion, which incorporates an authentic Virtual Boy motherboard and is not an emulator. It takes real Virtual Boy cartridges, displays them on a modern LCD screen, and has a built-in controller with bright red LED backlighting. The build required creating several custom circuit boards and developing code for the custom controller circuit. The whole thing is wrapped up in a custom red and black 3D printed case.

Shank explains how the original Virtual Boy worked and the challenges in converting it to a handheld in the video below:

Awesome build, Shank!

[via HackADay]

This Nintendo Switch 2 foldable concept makes it the ultimate Android gaming tablet

Nintendo Switch 2 Foldable Android Gaming Tablet

Think of it as the natural successor to the Nintendo Switch, and the clamshell-style Nintendo DS before it.

Sure, Nintendo’s probably going to announce the Switch Pro console very soon, but entertain the idea of a world where the Switch isn’t just a console, it’s an all-in-one tablet and gaming device. Designed by Alessandro Cesa and Nicola Pizzato, this conceptual Nintendo Switch 2 device makes a great case for how the company can fill a pretty big void in the gaming tablet market. The Nintendo Switch 2 comes with a dual-hinge folding mechanism (sort of like the Microsoft Duo) that creates a gap in between the two folding components… a gap wide enough to dock the Switch’s joy-cons. Moreover, the Switch 2 even sports a sprawling folding display that turns it into a full-size tablet when open. You could hold it as you would a Nintendo DS, or open it out and play games on a larger screen with the joy-cons in each hand, just like you would with a Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo Switch 2 Foldable Android Gaming Tablet

We all know that the Switch runs on a customized version of Android already, which makes it really easy for the Switch 2 to be more than just a gaming device. The large touchscreen display is perfect for everything from playing Animal Crossing to watching content on Netflix and YouTube. The joy-cons, which sit inside the tablet like bookmarks, can easily be removed when needed, and used as either game-controllers, or remote controls. The fact that they sit INSIDE the Switch would probably indicate that they charge wirelessly, using a reverse wireless charging technology built into the tablet.

Nintendo Switch 2 Foldable Android Gaming Tablet

Nintendo Switch 2 Foldable Android Gaming Tablet

The Switch 2 tablet and controllers take on a rather familiar design, with flat edges just like the iPad. The joy-cons sport battery indicators on the side, and have a unique design where the main buttons and the analog thumbsticks sit below the controller’s upper surface, protecting the screen from getting scratched or damaged when shut.

Nintendo Switch 2 Foldable Android Gaming Tablet

To expand its tablet functionality, the Switch 2 even comes with its own docked stylus, pitting it against the iPad Pro as a serious gaming and productivity device. The stylus docks in on the right side of the tablet, while the left comes with a slot for gaming cartridges, keeping the analog appeal of a gaming console very much alive!

Nintendo Switch 2 Foldable Android Gaming Tablet

Nintendo Switch 2 Foldable Android Gaming Tablet

Nintendo Switch 2 Foldable Android Gaming Tablet

That hinge is perhaps one of the most interesting details on the Switch 2. It folds the screen with a much broader curvature, so you’re not left with that godforsaken crease when you open it up. The folded version of the tablet also creates a perfect gap to dock the joy-cons. The Switch 2 also comes with a single-lens camera, a 3.5mm jack, and a USB-C port for charging it or hooking it to a variety of other devices. The designers even created a two-part case for the Switch 2 concept, with iPad-style foldable panels that allow it to dock at an angle as you play games or browse the internet on it!

Designers: Alessandro Cesa & Nicola Pizzato

Nintendo Switch 2 Foldable Android Gaming Tablet

Nintendo Switch 2 Foldable Android Gaming Tablet

Nintendo Switch 2 Foldable Android Gaming Tablet

Nintendo Switch 2 Foldable Android Gaming Tablet

Nintendo Gaming Smartphone concept images make the rounds with a very interesting camera detail!

Let’s put my fanboy logic aside and debate this purely on strategic grounds. Smartphones occupy 40% of the gaming industry by size, and 50% by revenue… which is why a Nintendo Gaming Smartphone sounds like a pretty incredible idea. It takes the Switch lite’s portable form factor and adds smartphone capabilities to it too. Nintendo can now expand its product line while still keeping people locked within its gaming ecosystem. Now that we’ve got that elevator pitch out of the way, let’s take some time to drool over Sophia Yen’s Nintendo gaming phone concept.

Titled the Nintendo Delight, this smartphone concept builds on the success of Nintendo’s Switch, making it even more portable and adding a few extra features to it. The Nintendo Delight replaces the need to carry your phone along with your gaming console. By combining the two together, it becomes your go-to device for gaming, browsing, social media, and everything in between. Designer Sophia Yen makes a pretty astute observation when she points out that the Switch is already an Android device (YouTuber Linus Tech Tips even demonstrates how to run Netflix on a Switch), and the Nintendo Delight simply builds on it, adding network capabilities and a camera to the mix.

The Nintendo Delight is smartphone gaming at its very best. Designed by Nintendo, the Android device would already have access to Nintendo’s current Switch gaming library, but would even be able to support Android gaming, Stadia, and other game-streaming services, bringing the entire world of gaming right into your handheld device. Oh, and you can even use it as a phone – making calls, browsing the web, chatting with friends, and clicking pictures with that rather insane-looking 4-lens camera setup!

The camera setup is perhaps the Nintendo Delight’s most brilliantly creative design detail. Its diamond-shaped layout exactly mirrors the XYAB button layout seen on the Switch, so while it is, in fact, a camera module… it’s also a rather clever branding exercise that goes wonderfully with the phone’s black, red, and blue color scheme.

The gaming smartphone comes with a traditional touchscreen interface to play games, but even sports a shoulder button on the top left to give you more control as you play. There’s even a battery-level indicator on the back so you can see how much juice your device has while your phone’s charging. Quite like the Switch Lite, the smartphone doesn’t come with pop-put modules and controllers, although it’s much slimmer and lighter than the Switch Lite.

This obviously is a fan-made concept, although it does make a very compelling argument that smartphone gaming is a seriously expanding category, no matter what gaming purists say. Just like the Sony PlayStation 5G concept we featured last month, the Nintendo Delight creates the perfect hybrid device for serious console gamers as well as casual smartphone gamers. It could easily replace devices like the Switch Lite, while firmly placing Nintendo smack-dab in the middle of a smartphone market that’s desperately trying to reinvent itself. Besides, I’d pick this over that extremely glitchy and buggy version of Stadia Google is trying to ship.

Designer: Sophia Yen

Oneplus’ $15 wireless Gaming Triggers turn your Android smartphone into a Nintendo Switch

Good News: They work with Android as well as iOS devices. Bad News: They’re currently only being sold in India.

The Gaming Triggers from OnePlus dropped randomly out of the blue when company CEO Pete Lau tweeted about them. According to Lau, they’re solid, responsive, and pleasingly clicky – and they’re built to work with any smartphone (regardless of their make), because “the best product design is one that leaves you free to make your own choices.”

The Gaming Triggers work like an extra set of fingers. Hit the trigger and a plunger taps a part of your screen. Designed to sit on the upper edge of your smartphone as you game in landscape mode, the triggers are specifically targeted towards players of Battle Royale-style multiplayer mobile games including PUBG, Call of Duty, Free Fire, although mounting and using the triggers sacrifices a small portion of screen estate as they physically cover your smartphone display.

The OnePLus Gaming Triggers’ price point is exceedingly low for most gaming hardware (even mobile ones), although that’s purely because they’re completely analog and have no electronics on the inside (instead, they have capacitive pads that tap on your screen when triggered). This also makes them compatible with any touchscreen device including your Android smartphone, iPhone, and even your iPad, as long as the device in question is under 11.5mm in thickness (case included).

The triggers can be independently placed on any side of the phone, and they come with a bilaterally symmetric design. Depending on your on-screen buttons, you can distribute them on the left or right, or use them both on one side of the phone. They can be used in portrait mode too, although the ergonomics of that arrangement is really up to the user.
Fun Fact: You could potentially even use them to activate your camera shutter, giving you a real, tactile camera button that’s much easier to press instead of awkwardly tapping your smartphone display with your thumb.

The tactile capacitive buttons work remarkably fast, offering zero lag as compared to wireless controls. OnePlus uses industry-leading Omron switches inside the Gaming Triggers, providing users with that reliable clicking sound and much better tactile feedback as they play. The switches themselves are made from a Zinc alloy, for that cool metallic touch, and they sit within a PolyCarbonate enclosure for that rugged, long-lasting build quality. Sadly, the triggers are only available to customers in India through the OnePlus website for a price of 1,099 rupees (a little under $15). OnePlus hasn’t really mentioned anything about global availability yet.

Designer: OnePlus

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