A game developer targeting the iPad or iPhone has to come up with a control scheme that works on a touchscreen. Anything else would be just plain lunacy. However, even with a good touchscreen input method, some games do just work better with a joystick.
ThinkGeek was the first to respond to the desire for a physical joystick on the iPad and iPhone screen with the introduction of the JOYSTICK-IT. At $24.99 it was an expensive peripheral for making games like Pac-Man a little nicer to control, but it certainly looked the part as the video below demonstrates:
Now ThinkGeek has got some competition from that well-known peripheral manufacturer Logitech.
The Logitech Joystick for iPad works a little differently from the JOYSTICK-IT as the suction cups holding it in place attach to the iPad frame rather than the main display area. The joystick is also smaller with a recessed top to stop your thumb sliding off.
While it certainly doesn’t look as authentic and retro as ThinkGeek’s offering, it’s certainly more minimalistic, and it’s also $5 cheaper at $19.99. However, ThinkGeek matches on price if you buy two JOYSTICK-IT’s for $39.99.
One of the advantages of using a portable device to play games is it has everything you need to play out the box. Adding peripherals just means another thing to carry. Sure, these joysticks are small, but that also means they are easy to lose.
Is a joystick worth keeping in your pocket, or is the touchscreen good enough for everything you play?
My Two Cents
This is likely not the last joystick for the iPad as the floodgates are likely now open. Now if they would release a mini version for the iPhone they could really make some money. I know I would buy one!