8-Bitty joypad arrives

This arrived just in time for the weekend.

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8-Bitty joypad, a Bluetooth controller for iPhone, iPad, Android and PC devices.

On iOS deviceswhy he 8-Bitty uses the iCade SDK therefore any supported apps will work with it…including, most of all, those wonderful old school console emulators by Robert Broglia, MAME, Final Burn and Manomio’s Commodore 64 emulator…and I’m sure, a ton of others too.

There’s no mistaking which classic controller the 8-Bitty is styled on so maybe a new Β label is in order as the first gen iCade artwork isn’t exactly great.

Quick n dirty photoshop mock-up

You’ll note that there are two shoulder buttons on the 8-bitty similarly to the Snes pad. Personally I would have gone with Snes pad style modelling as its a much better controller to handle with its rounded corners as opposed to the NES brick that the designers of the 8-Bitty decided to go for. Still, there’s mistaking it’s retro appeal.

The first thing I noticed when unboxing the pad was the physical on/off slider button on the back. A nice feature which should prevent accidentally switching it on and draining the (aaa x2) batteries when it’s in your pocket.

It’s quite a light controller and does feel a bit plasticky. The buttons seem responsive but the d-pad is very cheap looking and appears to be be on a rocker rather than individual contacts. I say appears as until I crack this open I won’t be sure. Who knows how well it will handle complex commands like Street Fighter 2 super moves.

Connecting to my iPad was a breeze, hold the pads two middle buttons together for four seconds activates the pairing mode.

…and it simply works……..really REALLY well!

There’s no lag, its responsive and when tested, the d-pad actually works better than it looks including pulling off those special moves.

For supported emulators/apps just pick the iCade controller option and away you go. You can, of course remap any of the buttons to your liking with most emulators.

At only $29.99 the 8-Bitty is a must for tablet owning retro gamers longing for a physical controller to play their favourite classics on the go. Can we have a dual stick version next? πŸ™‚

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18 responses to “8-Bitty joypad arrives

  1. Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog. πŸ™‚ I just got the 8-bitty gamepad too and it’s working great and all, but I have one major annoyance that makes me switch back to the wiimote. I’m using the 8-bitty on my 64GB iPad 3 (jailbroken) with SNES9x, MD.emu and NES.emu. In every game, on every emulator, I get occasional sound skips/hicc-ups when using the 8-bitty as a controller. It does not happen if I use the wiimote with BTstack or when using on-screen controllers, so it has to be related to the 8-bitty. Have you experienced the same issue? If not, are you using btStack to connect the 8-bitty or are you using iOS own BT controller? I’m using the latter.

    Thanks and keep up the good work! πŸ™‚

  2. Hey there, sorry to here you’re having a few sound issues. I haven’t had this kind of problem with mine using the same emulators. I do use the BTstack for certain things but emulators I generally use the IOS default Bluetooth as it works just fine with my iCade and 8-Bitty.

    Very weird issue indeed!

    Have you tried clearing all Bluetooth profiles (including BTstack) and re-pairing the 8-bitty?

    StiGGy

  3. Yeah, it’s weird indeed and it’s only happening when using the 8-bitty.. I’ll try clearing and re-pairing now to see if it makes any difference. Thanks for the tip!

  4. No worries, come back to me if you need me to experiment with my kit at this end. I suppose it doesn’t matter which version of emus you’re using as, as you say, you have the same problem with all of them but I’m happy to check my version numbers if you want.

    Have you tried the 8-bitty on a non supported game using something like Blutrol?

    Do you get the same issues if playing a regular iCade supported game?

    StiGGy

  5. Thanks again. It happens once every 4-5 seconds in each of the emulators. I’ve tried disabling wifi etc. to see if it makes any difference, but it doesn’t. It’s really weird. I also tried to clear all BT profiles and re-pairing the 8-bitty but it didn’t help at all. I’m really only interested in using the 8-bitty for emulators, so I hope I can get it working. BTW, do you use the 8-bitty with an iPad 3?

  6. I don’t mate, mines an iPad 2.

    I’m trying to think if anyone I know has a jail broken ipad3 that could test my 8-bitty with. I know alot of the system-dev guys I work with are iPad users.

    Leave it with me, I’ll see what I can do.

    Regards

    StiGGy

  7. It might be worth trying a supported iCade game anyway just to help us identify where the problem might be.

    Try Velocispider (free) and see if you have any problems as it would use the same SDK as those on the emulators.

  8. Hi I just bought an 8 bitty and paired it, but it doesn’t seem to be working. I have an ipad 4 jailbroken with blutrol, My icade runs fine with blutrol and I’m guessing I should be using the same blutrol profile as the icade, but it doesn’t work 😦

    how do you map the buttons for the 8bitty to work for something like imame4ios???

    kind regards

  9. Hey Julio, the iCade and 8-bitty should work with Mame without Blutroll, that’s just for apps that have no native iCade support.

    To map the buttons, you have to launch a (Mame) game and press the correct 8-bitty button combination to bring up the Mame settings menu enabling you to map the controls.

    From memory I think you enter this by pressing the two centre grey buttons although you may need to experiment a bit here. Also I found for Mame games, using the ‘gridlee’ version seems to behave much better with the 8-bitty. Hopefully ‘gridlee’ is still available in the app store.

    Just to ensure your 8-bitty is working correctly, have you tried it on another iCade supported app? For example Vilocispider (free)?

    Kind regards

    StiGGy

  10. I just wanted to say thanks for the great review, I found it through Google and you addressed exactly what I was looking for, specifically support in the Broglia iOS apps. I was on the fence about buying since I’ve always been pretty happy with a Wiimote + Classic combo but this review made the 8-bitty purchase easy for me. Any chance you could link the Photoshop skin you made? I want to re-do mine in the NES template and yours looks perfect. Did you also do the woodgrain around the sides in gray or red? Thanks again.

  11. Hey thanks mate, glad you decided to get one. I’m still happy with mine and it still gets a fair amount of abuse with those schmups etc.

    The replacement NES skin was something I quickly knocked up with photoshop and a picture of an 8-bitty controller so i never actually printed it or made it to scale therefore i have no template. It was one of those projects I intended to return to but never did.

    Hope you have fun with yours mate.

    Happy gaming

    StiGGy

  12. Hey StiGGy,

    Is it possible to use 2 8-bitty controllers at once? Like in 2 player mode? I’ve messed around with it and haven’t been able to get 2 to work…

  13. Hey Evan, I’m not sure to be honest but i would guess that is wouldn’t be possible…..maybe? I guess you’d have to overcome these problems –

    Getting your iPad/iPhone to connect to multiple 8-bitty controllers – which probably shares the same BT device code.

    Finding a emulator ported to iOS that provides configurable options for setting 2-up controls and defining said controls

    The 8-bitty I think, uses a hard coded control set. I.e up, down, left, right and buttons each equate to a keypress (double keypress I think) therefore two 8-bittys would have the same exact controls which would probably give you some trouble when trying to configure them in an emulator.

    Regards

    StiGGy

  14. I bought an 8-bitty to use with my iPad Mini. The Vectrex emulator and Atari Hits work great! The only caveat I have is that I don’t like the graphics at all – the fruity rainbow log on the top surface just doesn’t match the faux woodgrain on the sides. I think your NES mockup looks a lot better, actually!

  15. Hey there, yes it’s not very nice is it! I’m sure with the help of photoshop and some adhesive printer paper, we can make this thing look better. It’s certainly on my list of mini projects.

    I hope you’re having fun with your though, especially on the Vec emulator, touchscreen controls aren’t really suited I think.

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