It's no secret that we love the iCade around here. We even maintain a list of great games to get once you have one. We already knew about two new iCade units that were revealed at CES, but today ThinkGeek dropped something on us that's so cool that my monocle blasted right off my face and is currently flying at the speed of light straight out of our solar system. Feast your eyes on this:

The iCade 8-Bitty addresses basically all of my complaints (and I use the word "complaints" pretty lightly here) about the iCade ecosystem. iCades are big, and even the new models from CES were fairly expensive. The 8-Bitty is only $25, and looks like it'll finally be the ultra-portable iOS game controller I've been dreaming of. According to ThinkGeek, it works just like the rest of the iCade family, emulating a keyboard via Bluetooth and will integrate seamlessly with all existing games with iCade support.

To receive an email notification of when the 8-Bitty is in stock, head on over to ThinkGeek, and as soon we get get our greasy hands on one you can bet we'll have a full review up.

  • Anonymous

    YES. Is it "universal"?

    • Anonymous

      By appearances, you would think any device, any orientation. Confirmation?

  • Lauren Honeycutt

    Oh my childhood!

  • Crunchewy

    It looks to me like it's going to have button mapping issues, due to the start/select buttons. Just like the iControlPad. But then this might be more likely to get game devs to design for this button layout.

    For $25 I'll buy it for sure, and hope devs design for it.

  • Bill Keeter

    My first thought was this was an awesome mod. Hell I was immediately thinking of buying another iCade and hacking the pcb to fit in an old NES controller.    

  • Anonymous

    Will they put a power switch in it? The first thing I don't like about the iCade is that I have to turn off Bluetooth on my iPad, otherwise the game controller takes over as the one true keyboard for everything. I understand that that's part of the whole hacking around Apple's stupid no-buttons-evar policy, but cheaping out on one little switch makes a huge difference in usability.

    • Adam Luter

      This issue seems to disappear in iOS5.

      • Adams Immersive

        No, it’s definitely still a problem with iOS 5: when someone hits the stick on my iCade, it wakes up and my iPad (anywhere in the house) suddenly loses on-screen keyboard functionality in all apps; then I either have to wait for the iCade to sleep again (not long) or else shut off Bluetooth on the iPad. An annoyance that a power switch would fix.

        A neat mod would be to rig a power switch into the coin slot.

      • Anonymous

        like all good ideas, that sounds brilliant and also seems obvious now that I think about it! ION, get on it!

  • J.Shamblin


  • drelbs

    Definitely going to pick one of these up, but I kinda wish they'd soften the design a bit - going back to a NES controller after all these years, my hands don't take the hard edges as well. I might have to buy another Hori Gamecube/SNES controller to gut & convert...

    • Anonymous

      Yes, they certainly went for full-bore retro with this one.

    • Adams Immersive

      Ha--I have visions of someone selling special grip-cases for the 8-Bitty!

      If that happens, my head will explode. Hard to compare the 2000-era Apple (“what are these ‘games’ you speak of?”) to a world where you can buy accessory cases for accessory controllers for games on an Apple phone.

  • LappDog

    This is the best way to start my week

  • Will Buckingham

    I really like the idea, but I'm waiting for the SNES version.  As cool and retro as it is, extra buttons would be way more useful for the games I'd like to replay on an emulator, and also the square shape has always been kind of meh.  The SNES design was way easier on the hands over a prolonged period of play.

    • Anonymous

      Forget the SNES - I want a N64 pad!

  • app symmetry

    HOLY CRAP YES!!! Can't wait to get my hands on one!!! =oD

    REALLY hope it's more sturdy than their iCade box... 

  • Matt D

    Oh crap oh crap oh crap, do want!
    And it has 2 triggers too.

    I want 2: one as the NES controller, one to dismount and put in a SNES controller.
    Seems like a no-brainer (4 buttons, start-select, 2 triggers).

  • Anonymous

    The price is right
    The form factor is right
    The woodgrain and rainbow accents ARE SO RIGHT AND IF THEY WEREN'T I WOULD RATHER BE WRONG
    I'm in for one of these the moment they are available.

  • Charles Albert

    YES! Could have a cradle also, like the iCP, so we could snap our small devices onto it.

  • Huy Ngo

    Now why the hell didn't they do this in the first place?!

  • Tommy

    Bricks have been... you-know-what.

  • Adams Immersive

    I want one in red to match my red iCade!

    I’m thinking devs should optimize their control layouts for this device first, and then let the layout “fall as it may may” for the big iCade. Because really, all the buttons on the big iCade are easy to get to and similar to each other.

    (But you could still end up with some bad arrangements—like if a game used all 4 red buttons together, frequently, on the 8-Bitty—and then that mapped to the farthest-apart red and white buttons on the big iCade. The big iCade buttons need a hard press, and spreading your hand that far to use reds and whites together would be sheer agony. I don’t know how the buttons will map between the various iCades, but I do wonder.)

    • Anonymous

      if you bought an iCade from thinkgeek it would match already 🙂

  • izzynobre

    FINALLY an iOS controller solution I approve of.

  • Matt D

    Okay, now that I calmed down from the news, I have a few questions:
    - is it done by ION? The most perplexing thing is that ION did annonce the iCade Mobile (the one with cradling for the iPhone), so, wouldn't they concurrence themselves?
    Sure, the cradling is useful for iPhone owners, but the new controllers undermines this a bit.
    - the D-Pad and the buttons in general; okay, there are a lot of knock-offs, but last I checked, the 4-way D-Pad (and the general layout) are patented by Nintendo (this is why other controllers don't have a "cross"; Genesis had a 8-way, Sony used 4 buttons, etc).
    Are we sure this is not just a work-in-progress/prototype? Or at least, change design.

  • Rirath

    This is awesome and makes a perfect companion to the iCade.   Personally, I'm not a fan of the other new iCade products that have been announced so far, but they got this one so very right.

    Thank goodness for Blutrol!

  • KlickTock

    I'd love to pick one of these up.  Will they be attending GDC?

  • The Edis Bros.

    Looking forward to testing our iCade/iControlPad games (Crazy Snowboard, Diversion, Run Jump Fly, and Astro Runners) with this button layout.

  • Chris

    Sorry to bring up an old thread, but what happened to this controller?  It's still not available 6 months later.