Early last year, Thinkgeek and ION combined forces to turn what was originally a clever April Fool's joke into a real-life thing called the iCade. The fully-functioning mock arcade cabinet that housed your iPad released the following May, and we thought it was a pretty interesting piece of kit when we reviewed it. Since then, iCade has really been the only 3rd-party Bluetooth control option that's gained any sort of traction at all on iOS, despite it still being pretty niche.

At the beginning of this year at CES 2012, ION and Thinkgeek announced a trio of new iCade units: a new, trimmed-down version of the original, a handheld version for the iPhone, and an iCade Jr. which was just a really tiny, shrunk down version of the original iCade that was also for use with your iPhone or iPod touch.

They weren't done, though, as the very next month they announced a fourth version of the iCade, this one they were calling the iCade 8-Bitty. It was essentially an NES-style wireless controller that could connect to your iOS device and control any iCade-compatible game on the App Store, just like the other iCade units.

Today, Thinkgeek has announced that the iCade 8-Bitty is finally available in their online shop at a price of $29.99. I've got to be honest, I'm a little bit tired of all the various controller options for iOS, and I'd much rather just focus on games that harness the inherent abilities of the device. However, I think there's a huge novelty value to these iCade units, and for $30 bucks I could see myself keeping an 8-Bitty around just for kicks.

Head on over to Thinkgeek to order up an iCade 8-Bitty if it strikes your fancy, and while you're over there be sure to check out the sales they're currently running on the other iCade devices. The original iCade is now 10% off at $89.99 (though I've seen them much cheaper at various places around the 'net), and the newer iCade Mobile which is an almost Sony PSP-like unit that your iPhone sits cradled in and works in both portrait and landscape, is a whopping 64% off at $24.99, down from its original $69.99 price point.

  • Adams Immersive

    Neat! But for the relative prices, I might rather just get an iCade mobile and hold it my hands empty, for use with iPad/TV/projector.

    I really like my full-size iCade, but it’s tempting to go portable....

    • andsoitgoes

      I got my iCade for around $50 just after Christmas last year, and while I love it, it IS terrifically awkward to use, especially while on a chair. Or in bed. Or, well, most places.

      I like your idea about the iPhone iCade holder, it's cheaper and it looks more suited for my gangly hands.

      • Adams Immersive

        Sometimes I wish I had the non-cabinet big iCade Core: classic arade stick, but more lap-friendly for gaming to TV/projector.

        But I think I’ll wait on the iCade Mobile: the current one can’t fit 5th-gen iPods and iPhones I don’t think! Hopefully a revised larger model will come out.

  • Ratallideth

    They don't ship to México but they ship to Brazil? Why?

  • ImJPaul

    I would potentially grab an iCade but the list of compatible games is a bit underwhelming. That, and I feel like its like HD DVDs or laser discs. Cool but not cool enough to not be phased out.

    • http://profiles.google.com/superspandy James Kochalka

      I'm not sure but I think there are a bunch of compatible games that aren't on the list.

  • http://twitter.com/JackSangsu Jack Sangsu

    I just got to ask. But how many of these controller are they going to make. I mean you have The iControlpad, iControlpad2, iCad Moble, iCad 8-bitty, iMpulse and Gametek. And as far as i know they all use the same ICad Standard. Then you have that one Gameloft Controller. Not mention all the ones that look like little Arcade Cabinet. Talk About Overload.

    • http://twitter.com/rustym Rusty Moyher

      I guess Think Geek is making enough money off them to justify making new versions. At least you only need to own one. 🙂

      I bought an iCade Mobile for testing/fun but returned it. I wouldn't recommend getting one. 

      However, I just ordered an 8-bitty. I'm hoping to like it more.

  • expresident

    Prices are to high in my opinion for these controllers, primarily that $80 one that was recently announced. I have yet to play an iPad game that would make me want to cough up the money for one of these controllers, and it is a far cry from the PSP. As much as I love my iPad it doesn't have any games as engaging as the dedicated gaming handhelds.

    • classicrockme

      You clearly haven't been looking hard enough. I could list a ton of great iPad games if you are interested.

      • expresident

        Please list them and I'll try and check them out. I love games but my opinion still stands. Dedicated handhelds do games better at this point still. Now, a dream would be having the ability to play the original xcom UFO defense on my iPad.

    • http://twitter.com/jakewastaken jakewastaken

      I've never really used my iCade for normal iPad games although I do have plenty that are compatible. It's real value is coupled with my Mame app. I got it before it got pulled or whatever, so I didn't even need to be jailbroken to get it to work. I could load iPhone Explorer up and dump more roms into it outright. I have almost e very arcade game you've ever heard of on my device and it all plays wonderfully and the configuration is customizable. Now I am jailbroken because my iPad Gen 164 gig wifi is stuck on 5.11 (apple isn't going to update any further, so I'm going to have to be the one to add any new features I want). It's an incredible experience using it as a real arcade cabinet.

  • ExcaliburEdge

    I have the original iControlpad, and I've supported the iControlpad2 on kick starter. I think it's worth the cost, since it works on any BT capable device. I mostly use it for my PC gaming. The iCP2 will be open source, with a full keyboard. The developers are even talking about adding an infrared sensor! 8-bitty? I say nay to thee.

    • DCver3

      Except if you research the iControlPad you'll find it was a side project of the Pandora handheld. All the funding for the iControlPad came from pandora supporters, some of which after four years are still waiting for their Pandora. At this point I would say its safe to say the iControlPad guys have moved on and essentially stolen money from former investors.

  • Benegesserit

    I'm really tired of controller that require app support. Controllers need to be supported by the OS.

    • http://twitter.com/rustym Rusty Moyher

      I couldn't agree more. But as a developer, I'm not expecting this. So, as controller lover, I'll add iCade support to my games. 🙂

  • SyKot

    For those Jailbroken try Blutrol. Works for almost any game

  • Squablo

    Jailbreak + BluTrol + iCade = Awesome gaming experience.

    Playing games like Mikey Shorts, Spellsword, Bike Baron, and pretty much every game that has touch screen button controls, with a REAL controller, is MUCH more satisfying! Not to mention the emulators.........

    Until Apple adopts a standard game controller (which, foolishly enough, will probably be NEVER) this is a FANTASTIC solution! To be quite honest, I don't know if Apple could even implement as good of a solution as found in BluTrol. Now, if they can just add analog support to BluTrol.......

    Trust me here guys, if you're not looking into this, you are really missing out. BluTrol will even let you use a wiimote. Go ahead, tell me you don't want to play Street Fighter with REAL controls...

  • http://f1archives.com/ Gregz0r

    I'll be picking this up. I was quick enough to get iMame before it got pulled, so I have all those classic arcade games to play, with my iPad 3 in its dock.

    • Brett Anderson

      Exactly. If you were lucky enough, and somehow I was, to get iMame before it got pulled, this controller is a no-brainer. Personally, I think the touchscreen is the worst mass adopted game controller ever conceived. How anybody enjoys using the screen as a controller I do not understand. Ew, yuck, tactile feedback. How 20th century.

  • WarMachine

    Overpriced. Another problem is the lack of native controller support on most of the app store games.

  • Gamer_Kev

    That looks cool, might have to pick one up. I just ordered the iCade not too long ago, it aught to get here some time this week. As someone who spent a good amount of time in the arcades in the 80's, I'm really looking forward to recreating the arcade experience at home. I've always wanted to build a full size arcade machine, but just don't have room for it. Based on what I've seen of the iCade, it looks like the next best thing. I would have loved getting one of the blue ones, but money's tight right now and I came across a way too good of a deal on a new red and black one to pass up. 🙂

  • Spudboy

    I love my iCade and might as well pick one of these up.

  • http://www.meadiciona.com/charles_anjos Charles Albert

    i would like to buy it, too bad thinkgeek's international shipping sucks serious balls though

  • ratsinheat

    Touch arcade has the worst articles

  • anada

    Is there anywhere to see a full list of supported games?

  • Colten Moore

    With the iMpulse coming out at the same sale price and offering more behind it, is there any real incentive to get this (or the last incarnation) over the iMpulse?

  • GSJ1977

    "I'm a little bit tired of all the various controller options for iOS"

    I'm a little bit tired of all the *bad* controller options. A decent, perhaps official offering would be welcome, though I admit I'm not exactly wishing for one. In the meantime I agree with you that I'd rather have games that play to the strengths of the iDevices.

  • http://twitter.com/dezign999 François

    I had to pick one of these up, they look cool and the iphone 5's size made my icade mobile useless (it doesn't fit)

  • RushNY

    Needs a way to cradle the phone, it's annoying to have to find a desk to prop the phone up on.  Isn't the point of a mobile phone to be mobile?

    • Adams Immersive

      This kind of thing shines when hooked to a projector or TV (via HDMI or AppleTV). You could prop an iPad up, certainly, and that would work, but using this with an iPhone and no TV attached? Does sound a little absurd!

      • RushNY

        Which is why I would like a way to attach the phone to the controller similar to the icontrolpad because it's a mobile device. I have a home theater pc for that sort of thing.

      • http://profiles.google.com/superspandy James Kochalka

        So... I could have the
        ipad attached to my TV with the HDMI adaptor... and play all these
        games on my TV using the 8-bitty controller?

        That sounds awesome. 

      • Adams Immersive

        Yes, I do that with my iCade. BUT... I don’t think the iPad 1 does video mirroring. My iPad 2 does (and iPhones starting with the 4S, I think).

        A device that does not do video mirroring can still output a game to TV but only if the app specifically supports video-out. The only iCade games that I can think of that do so are Kung Fu Rabbit (pretty good; I haven’t played a lot) and Aemula Oldies (old DOS games).

      • http://profiles.google.com/superspandy James Kochalka

        Okay.  I have the ipad 2.  I already have the hdmi adaptor but I don't really use it for much because it's hard to play touch screen games without looking at the screen you're touching!  This would make the hdmi adaptor more useful.