Many interesting devices are being introduced over the next few days at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Among them are several doodads for iPads including stands, chargers, light-up cases and other accessories that should add a little décor to your Apple tablet .
But what about ones that actually make a gaming difference? One such accessory being introduced this week is Ten One Design’s Fling Game Controller. This stick-on device enables you to actually get a feel for your iPad games, using an actual joystick instead of moving your thumb around an on-screen one.
Many game controllers these days use analog sticks for twin functionality. Both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 controllers come with these sticks, enabling both player movement and other functionality, such as camera placement (in racing games) or direction of fire in action games. Since the iPad is a strict touch screen device, players don’t have the option of using a controller accessory. Not that that’s a bad thing, as many games function pretty well with virtual ones.
But with the Fling Controller, you actually have the functionality of a real controller, without actually making any modifications to your iPad. You can remove it at any time and resume routine touch screen functionality, and then reattach it when you want to return to down and dirty gaming.
A Ten One Design representative was kind enough to walk through how the add-on joystick works. It’s a neatly designed circular device with a clear plastic surrounding and a black analog stick placed directly in the center, one that follows your thumb movement yet shifts back to its neutral centered location once it’s released. You stick this onto the iPad using two suction cups on the bottom side. From there, the electrically conductive joystick reads your thumb motions, coordinating with the on-screen joystick in real time. So, it actually feels like you’re physically guiding something, rather than strictly relying on a digital control input.
Most games let you adjust controls on-screen, so you can easily coordinate the location of the Fling controllers to those of your virtual joysticks. Once in a while, you will run across a game with a strictly placed control pad, having to adjust the Fling Pad’s suction cups in just the right spot (perhaps turning it upside down even) to get it in the right place. But from what we’ve seen in the games Ten One Design showcased, the stick functions very well, and its activity doesn’t get in the way of what’s happening on-screen.
The plastic material that the Fling is made out of is very sturdy and can withstand even the strongest of marathon gaming sessions. However, you’ll still never quite escape the feeling you’re playing with an add-on controller rather than something that’s naturally built into the unit. Until Apple comes up with its own peripheral, however, this is certainly the next best thing.
The Fling control pads also come with a small carrying pouch, so when they’re not in use, you can store them without having to worry about damage. It could’ve been a little bigger, but it should fit snugly in your laptop bag somewhere.
You can pre-order the Fling Tactile Game Controllers for iPad now through Ten One Design’s website. Production should begin soon, and the unit will come in three available colors – purple, blue and black. If you’re serious about gaming with your iPad device, you should definitely give these a look.