Smartphone Gaming Gets Physical With iControlPad

Android and iOS games like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja do just fine with their touch screen controls, but if you're a gamer that grew up playing on a console you probably wouldn't mind getting your physical buttons back. iControlPad is here to save the day -- no hacking required.

The iControlPad features all the buttons us console gamers need – a classic d-pad, two analog thumbsticks, four standard input buttons, start and select buttons and two rear/shoulder buttons. It connects to your smartphone, iPod Touch or iPad via Bluetooth and iOS users will even be able to plug it into their device's 30-pin jack to extend battery life. It can also be connected to a PC for gaming.

Android users are going to have the easiest time finding compatible games as almost any game found in the Android Market will work using the Bluez IME control software. Apple users on the other hand will have to stick to games that are compatible with ThinkGeek's iCade iPad Arcade Cabinet (which at the time of writing this is on sale!).

If you really want to get down and play some real games using the iControlPad you'll need to get into some emulator action. On iOS that means you'll have to jailbreak. If that's the route you take you'll have access to hundreds of NES, SNES and MAME (classic arcade) titles. I don't know about you, but River City Ransom on an iPhone seems like it would be pretty entertaining.

The iControlPad is currently available from ThinkGeek for about $75. It's a little more expensive than we'd like, but the firmware can be upgraded for years to come and it is completely adjustable so you probably won;t ever have to worry about your new smartphone fitting. iOS users can head over to TouchArcade for a full list of compatible games.

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