If you read our review of the sweet iCade cabinet for iPad, you’ll know that I think this ‘analog controls for iDevices’ trend is a cool one. I really liked the iCade, but was sad because it really is the opposite of what you’d consider to be portable.
That’s why I’m so excited to see that the iCade lineup is being expanded with the new 8-Bitty controller for iPhone and iPad. It’s a pocket-sized handheld job that emulates the button placement and style of a vintage NES controller. My thumbs are growing their 80′s gaming calluses back just looking at the thing.
The 8-Bitty connects to an iPhone or iPad via BlueTooth and uses a simple keyboard-emulation control scheme to control compatible games. That list of games, some of which can be found here, has been growing significantly since we reviewed the iCade, which is a good thing. The lack of compatible games was one of the reasons we couldn’t recommend the iCade to everyone.
Now that the 8-Bitty is on the way, with the same control system and a much more portable form-factor, we should hopefully see more titles get support. It’s incredibly easy to implement in your titles, developers, and Stuart Carnie of manomio software has an Open Source SDK for adding iCADE support to iOS apps. The open source iCADE SDK can be downloaded here, so please get on it!
The 8-Bitty isn’t on sale yet but will go up for $24.99 at ThinkGeek. We’ll definitely get one in and give you our impressions.