Video games for the iPhone, iPad, and other touchscreen devices are big business these days. But anyone who has ever tried playing an iPad role playing game, first person shooter, or other game in a genre that was clearly designed first and foremost for a joystick will tell you what a pain it can be to use on-screen controls instead of real buttons.

A couple of companies are taking an interesting approach to that problem. While Apple clearly has no plans to put more buttons on the iPad, you can pick up a JOYSTICK-IT or Fling for about $25, stick it to your screen with a suction cup, and get a bit of tactile sensation while interacting with a virtual D-pad.

The Fling system is modeled on a real directional pad, while the JOYSTICK-IT is designed like a classic video game controller (Think Space Invaders, Pac-Man, or Galaga). Both are designed to solve a major problem with iPad gaming — your finger can easily slip off the on-screen controls, or you can hit the wrong button because you can’t actually feel the buttons beneath your fingers.

On the other hand, both joysticks are yet another accessory you have to carry around and connect to your device when you want to play a game, making the whole system a heck of a lot less portable. If you’re that serious about mobile gaming, maybe you should just get a PSP, Nintendo DS, or another handheld system designed for games.

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3 replies on “Joystick accessories aim to make iPads into better gaming machines”

  1. I own a PSP, my niece and nephew own many DS platforms…and I’d still say if given the choice I think a tablet is a better compromise for kids and adults. I hardly t6hink a tiny joystick attachment being helpful suddenly makes tablet gaming poor.

    Couldn’t we just as easily blame evolution for the joystick issue as much as we can blame the device? I mean after all if you can’t trace perfect circles with your finger unassisted isn’t that YOUR flaw not the devices flaw? This argument is like saying the human hand sucks because it can’t drive nails through wood without a hammer. Sorry that human hand just like a computer tablet is a WONDEWROIUS device Moreover, the existence of hammers or joysticks with suction cups cannot diminish that wonder one bit.

  2. Wait what? The iPad is a bad gaming platform, so it needs an accessory to become a better one? How does this make it a compact computer if it’s deficient as it ships and needs extra accessories to do what people want to do with it? If people don’t like styluses so much that they convince themselve’s that the iPad’s terrible capacitive screen is good, then why is a stupid uni-tasking accessory like this even worth covering in the first place. Seeing as how the iPad is a large phone, cover it on mobicomputing and not on Liliputing. Otherwise, why bother coming here at all? The iPad is NOT a compact computer. It’s a bloat pig that wants my money.

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