Smartphones and tablets are great for gaming: they’re incredibly portable and are getting increasingly more powerful. However, one drawback for some mobile gamers is the touchscreen. Touchscreens just don’t offer the same feedback as physical gamepads/controllers do, which is why a lot of companies have capitalized on making such accessories for tablets and phones.
One of those companies is ThinkGeek. The online retailer specializes in “Stuff for Smart Masses,” but has also gotten into making mobile device accessories. The most notable that the company has already produced is the iCade Cabinet, an “iPad arcade cabinet” in which you plug your iPad and play your games with an old-school joystick and button setup. Of course, that isn’t exactly a portable accessory, so ThinkGeek went back to the drawing board and created the iCade 8-Bitty wireless controller.
The $29.99 Bluetooth controller takes many styling and design cues from Nintendo’s classic NES controller, although there are two extra buttons on the left side as well as two shoulder buttons, meaning that this should be a very good controller for classic video games that may be released on iOS or Android.
There are a number of games that have iCade support, including Atari’s Greatest Hits app and a number of other standalone apps. Developers can put iCade support into their apps fairly easily, though, without getting permission from either Apple or ThinkGeek. Hopefully, this sells well – and those sales numbers will convince developers who aren’t supporting the accessories yet to do so.
I signed up for notifications on this a while ago – and completely forgot about it until the email went out this morning. At $29.99, it seems like it’ll be a great accessory for those mobile gamers who are looking for a bit of extra control.[ThinkGeek iCade 8-Bitty]