Let's make no bones. With the announcement of its iCade 8-Bitty gamepad for iPhone, iPad and Android, ThinkGeek is not merely evoking the 8-bit era with an 80s-styled peripheral. It is specifically emulating the controller of the original Nintendo Entertainment System and in doing so, recreating (or trying to, at least) a classic piece of controller design. It would have been fascinating to be a fly on the wall in the conference room at ThinkGeek HQ when a name for the product - it's hard to imagine that the name iCade Nessy was not discussed.
Every CES puts the most prominent tech trends on show, and this year was no exception, though some were a bit more visible than others. After the unveiling of arcade-style attachments
for smartphones and tablets, a no-glasses 3D tablet with an attachable controller
, and a tablet aimed at the hardcore gaming crowd
, it became pretty clear that one of these trends is to bridge the gap between high-quality console games and smart devices. However, none of these new devices have appeared quite as portable as the Ion Controller from SteelSeries, which connects through Bluetooth and is about the size of a deck of cards.
Ion Audio is to add a new handheld controller for iPhone and iPod Touch to its iCade mini arcade
line, along with two scaled-down versions of its original controller cabinet for the iPad, which started life as an April Fool prank. Currently on show at the company's booth at CES 2012, the iCade Mobile, iCade Core and iCade Jr. offer mobile gamers the chance to play it old school using physical buttons and a four-way controller or joystick instead of the touchscreen.
Yearning to relive the golden days of arcade gaming but can’t afford a full sized arcade console? Then the iCADE arcade-style controller for iPad
could be the next best thing. Originally appearing as an April Fools joke on ThinkGeek last year, the fictional device garnered so much interest ThinkGeek has partnered with ION to turn the concept into a reality. The resulting unit packs a full-sized joystick and eight arcade buttons in a mini arcade cabinet form factor.