Here's What a Nintendo Smartphone Might Look Like

This fascinating concept art makes bezels and buttons cool again.

There's no denying the lasting appeal of the Nintendo Game Boy. Especially today, when tech has eliminated buttons and now wants to get rid of bezels, we love the Game Boy precisely because it's so tactile. Inspired by the distinctive form and features of the Game Boy, Pierre Cerveau's "Smart Boy" attempts to marry modern tech with retro sensibilities, and it's a stunning homage to Nintendo's grey brick.

Cerveau's design is delightfully old-school with its huge bezels (by today's standards, anyway), boxy corners, and backplate ridges lifted right out of 1990. It's just outdated enough to circle back to being cool, and I imagine any retrogamer would be proud to carry one around.

Among Cerveau's renders is a concept shot of an attachable controller accessory that slots into the left-hand side of the Smart Boy. The controller looks to have taken more from the SNES than the Game Boy, but the visual language is similar enough that they still look great when hooked together. This part of the device definitely needed a modern facelift — we can't imagine playing any modern game with just a d-pad and two face buttons.

Interestingly, a shot of the phone's home screen makes it look like the device is running on Android, rather than a custom Nintendo OS. That's the most unbelievable thing about this concept: Can you imagine Nintendo not wanting total control of every bit that runs through its hardware? Yuzu did recently release an Android version of their popular Switch emulator, so that may have informed Cerveau's choice of OS. One of the stills even shows off the Smart Boy running Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

There are a few very cool features that we haven't seen anywhere else, like the special battery-saver mode. According to Cerveau, the idea is that you can extend the Smart Boy's battery life by switching to a black-and-white display mode that looks a lot like the original Game Boy's screen. The device also featuers an open slot in the back for memory sticks and accessories, including what looks like a modern version of the Game Boy Camera.

Would Nintendo make something like this today? Definitely not; the company's design philosophy has long moved on from that era and look. The Smart Boy is what a smartphone might look like if it was designed by Nintendo circa 1992. And from the looks of it, this style needs to make a comeback.