Mar 28, 2016 | By Benedict

Two Reddit users have used 3D printing and Photoshop to create a pair of fake controllers, purportedly for the forthcoming Nintendo ‘NX’ console. The pranksters, David Im and Frank Sandqvist, posted their hoaxes independently, and have since admitted to the inauthenticity of the controllers.

Nintendo, the incredibly successful Japanese video game company, is known for doing things its own way. The company has produced some of the most iconic gaming platforms of all time, with fans continuing to pay homage to the Nintendo experience with 3D printed Gameboy Rasperry Pis and 3D printed replacement N64 controller parts. However, when the company prepared to release its Wii console in 2006, some hardcore gamers were skeptical. Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo’s competitors, had focused sharply on graphics and realism with their respective seventh-generation consoles, the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. But Nintendo, instead of trying to compete with the similar graphical capabilities of those devices, took an unexpected step. The Japanese innovators built a family-friendly console with unexceptional graphics and a focus on arcade-style gaming, placing emphasis upon one critical element of the console above all else: its movement-detecting controller.

The Wii and its iconic Wii Remote controller took the world by storm, bringing simple and accessible entertainment to demographics previously untapped by video game companies. The Wii remote had everyone, from toddlers to grandmothers, jumping around in front of the television to win games of ten-pin bowling and Mario Kart. Sony and Microsoft continued to produce complex, graphically dense games for their seventh-generation consoles, but the more affordable and cosmopolitan Wii outsold them both by huge margins. Nintendo had outsmarted its competitors by thinking outside of the box, and by giving customers what they wanted even more than HD visuals, complex online networks, and exclusive franchises: fun.

Given the era-defining impact of the Wii and Wii Remote, it is no surprise to see the gaming community keenly anticipating Nintendo’s next console, codenamed “NX”, and its mysterious accompanying controller. Back in October, an authentic Nintendo patent was published, showing plans for a never-before-seen controller, which the online gaming community immediately suspected to be that of the forthcoming NX. The design showed an ellipse-shaped device complete with two analog sticks and—astonishingly—no buttons. The entire surface of the controller was explained to be a screen, with some sources suggesting that haptic feedback would be used as an input device instead of buttons.

Nintendo's patented design

The patent itself offered no concrete evidence that the design was, in fact, that of the NX controller, but that hasn’t stopped members of online communities like Reddit speculating wildly about it. Naturally, where there is excitement, there are individuals who will capitalize on that excitement with pranks. In the case of the NX controller, two mischief-making designers with 3D printers decided to build a 3D printed copy of the controller sketched in the Nintendo patent, pretending to be part of a development team receiving early access to the device.

David Im's fake 3D printed controller, complete with Photoshopped screen

The first prankster, David Im, posted a photo of his hoax to Reddit on Friday, March 18. The image, purportedly depicting a real Nintendo NX controller, in fact showed a 3D printed controller with “game footage” photoshopped onto its surface. Many Reddit users were curious; many more were skeptical, dividing the community into #TeamReal and #TeamFake. A second set of photographs, posted a few days later by 3D printing expert Frank Sandqvist, seemed even more convincing. Perhaps the “CONFIDENTIAL PROPERTY” sticker was overdoing it, but the sleek black design looked just as a high-tech game controller in 2016 might.

Frank Sandqvist's fake 3D printed controller

Sandqvist, co-founder of Finland’s CNC Design, took inspiration from Im’s original prank and decided to 3D print and laser cut an NX controller of his own. After Im posted a video showing how he photoshopped his own design, Sandqvist followed suit, posting a more detailed explanation of the steps taken to create his fake Nintendo NX controller. The designer used Autodesk Fusion 360 to model the elliptical device, before using a Formlabs Form 2 3D printer to print it in black resin. After removing the supports, Sandqvist sanded the 3D printed controller, sprayed it jet black, then used a laser cutter to create a glossy acrylic display.

Sandqvist modelling, 3D printing, and painting his fake controller

Described by Nintendo as a "dedicated games platform with a brand new concept”, the NX has no set release date, but the company has promised more information about the mysterious console throughout 2016. On March 11, Nintendo released Miitomo, a free social messaging app for smartphones, the company’s first smartphone product.

David Im's "reveal"

Frank Sandqvist's walkthrough



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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