The 60beat GamePad connects to your iPad or other iOS device so you can control your games with a physical game pad instead of the mostly horrible onscreen controls of iOS games. It only works with a limited selection of compatible games, but hopefully the list will grow if this thing takes off.
I played Madden NFL 12 (one of EA Games’ $.99 holiday deals) on my iPad last night and enjoyed whipping the Chicago Bears with my Green Bay Packers. Sadly, controlling the players on the screen offers quite a challenge until you get used to it. For someone who’s been playing Madden for over ten years on my computer and Xbox, training myself to play on a slick screen isn’t easy. I’ve tried devices like the Fling controller, that connects to the screen of the iPad via a suction cup and gives you a physical directional controller, but they aren’t very satisfying.
The 60beat GamePad resembles a PlayStation 3 controller and will work on your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Plug the controller into the headphone jack, and games that are compatible will work instantly with no setup.
At $50 you have to really hate the onscreen controls of iOS games and really want to play with a controller. Right now only 2 games work with the device – Bugdom 2 and Aftermath. I hope other developers will take note and make their games work with the 60beat GamePad. If they don’t, then its hard to justify $50 for those two games unless you really love them.
If the 60beat GamePad takes off, I can see my kids, who love to play games on my iPad, taking to this thing. They were drooling over the pictures and video (see below).
The use of the headphone jack as a connector concerned me a little because I usually tell my kids to use headphones as they play their games in the car on the way to grandma’s house. Fortunately, the device has a splitter, allowing you to plug in both the controller and a set of headphones.
Other features include a pair of analog sticks, directional pad on the left and the typical four buttons for firing guns, jumping or throwing a pass depending on the game. You also get the typical four trigger buttons on back and the two game control buttons for things like starting games etc for a total of ten buttons. The cord measures 4 feet. iOS devices supported include iPhone 4 and 4S, both iPads and the 4G iPod Touch.