Filed last August, the patent outlines potential input devices for Switch. Clear as day, one of the mock-up images shows the bongos that were only used for two games in the waning years of the GameCube’s lifecycle — 2004’s Donkey Konga and 2005’s Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. Donkey Konga was a rhythm game, while Donkey Kong Jungle Beat tweaked the series’ traditional platforming gameplay to incorporate the rhythmic controller.
Nintendo does have a Donkey Kong game in the pipeline for the Switch, but it’s a port of the Wii U title Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. It seems unlikely that the bongos would be marketed with a traditional entry in the series like Tropical Freeze. If Nintendo does plan on re-releasing the bongo peripheral, a brand new game, perhaps a second Donkey Konga or Jungle Beat, would make more sense.
The patent also included an image of a keyboard. What could Nintendo possibly be planning that could make use of a keyboard? Your guess is as good as ours. The Switch doesn’t have a web browser at this point, although both the Wii U and Wii had browsers that would have been improved with a proprietary keyboard.
The bongos and keyboard fall in line with a recent report that claimed Nintendo would concentrate its efforts on tinkering with the Switch’s current hardware through peripherals in the console’s second year rather than releasing an updated “Switch 2.0.”
So far, the only confirmed Switch peripheral is Nintendo Labo, which makes clever use 0f the Joy-Cons’ HD Rumble feature with cardboard kits that fold into RC cars, fishing rods, pianos, and more.
It’s important to note that patents don’t always lead to actual products. Just because Nintendo is obviously thinking about Donkey Kong bongos, it doesn’t mean you will be able to play them anytime soon, if at all. But can you imagine bringing them on the subway for your morning commute, banging away while other passengers give you the stink eye?