The iPad Finally Gets A D-Pad Controller
By James Grahame
I admire Jony Ive's sense of minimalism, but sometimes it feels like things have gone too far. The iPad is a case in point -- the absence of physical controls makes it tough to play some games. No matter how often the Ghost of Steve whispers eerily that we're in the post-console world, wiggling your finger over a tiny image of a 3D joystick while banging another finger repeatedly against a sheet of hardened glass just doesn't capture the spirit of retro gaming.
To fill the gap, iCade will soon introduce the 8-Bitty. It's a rainbow colored iPad/Pod/Phone/Android controller that evokes the design of the original NES gamepad (a skinny rectangle, in other words). This diminutive bluetooth-powered gadget offers a Nintendo-style d-pad, 4 action buttons, a couple of shoulder buttons and the requisite select/start buttons. It's compatible with Atari Greatest Hits app for iPad, along with a number of indy titles and various incarnations of the MAME arcade emulator.
ThinkGeek is promising that the 8-Bitty will be available "later this year" for a surprisingly reasonable $24.99. So why are they telling us about it now? To give developers a chance to add 8-Bitty support to their apps, of course.