8-Bitty Game Controller

Greetings from the road, Retro fans! Once again I find myself traveling across the country for work. Last night during some downtime in the hotel, I finally got a chance to try out one of my Christmas gifts I’ve been meaning to open — the 8-Bitty gamepad.

The 8-Bitty is a bluetooth gamepad designed to be compatible with the iCade. Any game that supports the iCade also supports the 8-Bitty. That includes over a hundred games for the iPad and Android devices. The 8-Bitty requires two AAA batteries (and has an on/off switch on the back to greatly extend their lifespan). Installation is comparable to any other bluetooth device. It took about 10 seconds to sync before it was ready to use.

With the 8-Bitty synced to the iPad, I fired up iMAME and was able to immediately start playing. In MAME the start and select buttons on the controller are mapped to add coins and start the game. The controller features 8 buttons in all: in addition to start and select there are four action buttons and two shoulder buttons.

After MAME I fired up the Atari Classic Collection and played some Asteroids, Bowling, and Yars’ Revenge. I thought the gamepad worked okay overall. I don’t think the d-pad feels as good as an original Nintendo pad, but it’s passable. The gamepad is easily small enough to throw in a pocket or backpack and take with you on the road. I’m sure the 8-Bitty will become a permanent addition to my travel pack in the future!

Call Me Retro Phone Handset

I found these retro-styled handsets on close out at Toys ‘R’ Us for $9.99 and picked one up.

For my birthday in 2011 I got the bluetooth version of this same phone. This brand (“Call Me”) simply plugs in to your phone the same as any other headphone/mic headset. That means no configuration required. Other than the volume slider on the phone’s handset, there’s not a lot to it. Just plug it in and talk away.

I actually like the added realism of having a phone cord. Those of you who never had a phone whip out of your hands as you were walking away from the handset have no idea idea…