Nintendo has the Wii Balance Board, Zapper, Wheel, MotionPlus, and Vitality Sensor. The only thing missing is an inflatable saddle to simulate horseback riding on a games console -- something for which Nintendo recently filed a patent.
It's the latest idea coming out Nintendo's peripheral skunkworks. The patent, filed in the European Patent Office
in January and unearthed by Siliconera
, describes the invention as "An inflatable air cushion or other type seat" upon which a person can sit, equipped with slots for a motion-sensing controller.
A picture accompanying the patent shows how a Wii Remote attaches to the cushion, as the user, probably a young child or an aspiring equestrian, grasps the nunchuck attachment. In this configuration, the wire connecting the Remote and the nunchuck resembles the reins of a bridle. The motion-sensing capabilities of the controllers relay inputs to the gaming system, which creates a graphical simulation on a monitor.
Also, while adults may have a hard time imagining themselves in front of their 55-inch high-def television, galloping away pretending to be the Lone Ranger on an inflatable ball, the patent says adults can be in on the fun as well.
"Physical size is a significant problem with such prior designs [such as rocking horses and merry-go-rounds]. To be realistic and useful by older children and adults, the model's dimensions generally need to approximate the size of a real animal."
"Of course, most of us prefer not to have a full-sized model of a large animal in our living room or den. Inflatable toy horses are known but typically have been used as swimming pool toys which do not provide a very realistic riding simulation... It would be desirable to provide an inexpensive, convenient way to realistically simulate, in the home, riding on a horseback or other animals."
The patent also said the device could provide force feedback through the seat. A controller could also be used in a "raised hand as in bronco riding, a lasso, a sword, or other weapon."
For now, the device (pictured below) is just a patent, and not a confirmation that Nintendo will ever release such a product. But imaginations must already be running wild with possibilities of riding Epona, or maybe even Yoshi.