I'm not the world's biggest iPad fan, but one thing I love about it is all the retro games in the App Store. Tablets are a great platform for the old joystick-based games except... well, the on-screen joysticks kind of suck. It's not really the developers' fault, either. It's hard to mimic the feel of flicking a joystick around on a flat, capacitive screen. But, as with any problem of this nature, a solution isn't far behind. And of course it comes from the geniuses over at ThinkGeek.
The JOYSTICK-IT iPad Arcade Stick is simple and effective, just like all the best things in life. On top, it looks just like a regular old-school joystick. On the bottom it has a suction cup for attaching to the iPad or any other tablet without harm. Just outside the suction cup is foam that's similar to the foam at the tip of a Pogo stylus. The concept is also the same -- the joystick conducts the signal from your hand to the capacitive surface so each movement registers as a tap.
Having played Pac-Man on the iPad with and without the JOYSTICK-IT, I find that it makes gameplay much easier. It takes less effort to get Pac-y to move where I want him and the whole game feels much more responsive. Watch the joystick in action in our hands-on video:
The JOYSTICK-IT will work with most on-screen joysticks meant for the thumb. It's too big to work on smart phone screens, but all those Tegra 2-based Android tablets coming out this year could definitely benefit from the addition of a physical joystick. ThinkGeek will even give you a discount if you order two at once for more complex games.
Snag yours at ThinkGeek.com for $24.99 ($39.99 for two).