The gaming corners of the internet have gotten themselves into a frenzied froth over the above image, which may or may not be – and most likely absolutely isn't – the controller for Nintendo's next games console, codenamed the NX.
Dual Pixels ran with the image on March 17th, which they claim to have sourced via Reddit, and wasted no time comparing it to a patent drawing that did the 'net rounds a while back, and that we've conveniently posted for your compare-and-contrast needs, below.
Now, I know what you're thinking: those two things, one a plan for something that might be, seemingly created using a bunch of basic shapes simply for the sake of roughly indicating the position of keys and sticks, and the other, supposedly The Real Deal, do look remarkably alike. Which is basically why I'm calling bullshit here.
Nintendo aren't stupid. Well, there was the Virtual Boy, but come one, let bygones be bygones. But for the most part, all of their systems share some common aesthetic values. There's a clear evolutionary line from the NES through to the Wii U, from the Game Boy to the 3DS. It's there in the positioning of the face buttons, the ergonomics of controllers and handhelds, the colours, the vibe. This "leak" has none of that going on, does it. Does it? There's moving away from the Wii U, and then there's taking an almighty dump on your heritage.
Perhaps I'm not seeing the wood for the trees. But what I'm definitely not seeing are the necessary "prongs" to make this unit the slightest bit comfortable in the hands for longer than it takes to finish a shit – which, given the rumoured portability of the can-also-go-in-your-telly NX, is presumably where Nintendo sees its next system getting some heavy usage. You know what I mean – those delightfully contoured appendages that help manly hands, or at least those larger than the average five year old's, grip onto tacky plastic pads for serious shooter sessions. The N64 pad had three of them, like a completely bananas bastard. This: not one, and with a shape like that, it really needs them.
Okay, so perhaps this screen unit locks into some other chunk of plastic that serves as the necessary surface area. It could be that the NX is going to arrive with a vast array of add-ons, a little like the Game Boy "enjoyed" back in the early 1990s – who can forget the Handy Boy and all the benefits that provided to Nintendo's original handheld hit. In no way whatsoever did that particular piece of crap make the little grey box of dreams entirely unwieldy, transforming what was already a brick into a moderately proportioned condo. Nuh-uh. Nope.
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But then there are those pathetic little nubs. They're going to hold up about as well as the analogue stick did on the N64. And the fact that they're not protruding from pentagonal holes should set alarm bells ringing, because they're definitely five-sided portals on that patent diagram. What I am trying to say, in an overly longwinded manner, is that the photo is both too much like the patent image, and yet also not quite spot-on enough. There is no way Nintendo would go for virtual face buttons (that "B" looks flat, yeah?) rather than the physical alternative that's served them so well. This looks like garbage. It just has to be a fake.
Or, at least, a super early prototype. In which case, it is an NX controller. Sort of. An NX controller that looks like a rear-view mirror. Like a knock-off Bose speaker case with some shimmery nonsense that no eyes can accurately make out glued into it. (It's not even backlit, is it?) Like all of your nightmares becoming a reality because why, oh why, won't Nintendo just Make Stuff Like Everyone Else. I'll tell you why: because if they did, we'd never have got the Virtua… Okay, I see your point. But the Wii. The Wii was massive, and like nothing else before it. Whatever happens next, we'll always have the Wii.