Gift Guide: ThinkGeek iCade 8-Bitty Wireless Game Controller

Short Version

ThinkGeek’s iCade 8-Bitty wireless gaming controller is pretty adorable, though limited. It has a retro feel, eliciting nostalgia for Super Nintendo, and hooks up easily with both iOS and Android devices.

The games, however, are limited to various emulators like Atari’s Greatest Hits and Pac Man. These are great games and appeal to just about anyone, but the retro controller supports exactly what you’d expect: old games, not new ones.

Long Version


  • 8 button control including 4 face buttons, select, start, two shoulder buttons, and D-pad
  • Wireless Bluetooth connection
  • Automatic power-save mode
  • Retro design
  • Compatible with iCade games on iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android


The iCade 8-bitty is…

… a wireless retro gaming controller built for old-school games on new school devices. By pairing the controller via Bluetooth with the iPad, iPhone or an Android device, user can play games like Pac Man from the comfort of an NES style controller.

Truth be told, there aren’t a whole lot of compatible games for the 8-bitty. Developers can freely add support for the iCade, and some like Temple Run have and Pac Man. However, the biggest collection of compatible games is Atari’s Greatest Hits, which in itself packs over 100 classic Atari games, but is only available on iPad. All in all, there are about 38 compatible app titles.

If the game is not compatible, it doesn’t play well at all. Still, for the price I think this is a cute, nostalgic gift for a whole range of people.

Buy the 8-bitty for…

… Kids and parents, gaming enthusiasts and casual gamers.

Kids will have fun with it playing the games their parents grew up on, and parents likely won’t be able to resist the throwback. Gaming enthusiasts will enjoy an extra accessory, but the 8-bitty still appeals to the casual iPad or Android gamer.

Yes, the games are limited, but the ones that do exist appeal to almost everyone. Who doesn’t like Pac Man? Pair that with this retro controller and a Retina iPad and you really can’t go wrong.


… anyone who’s ever enjoyed a good game of Tetris or Pac Man will think of this as a pretty thoughtful gift. The controller is well-built, really cute, and is easy to pair. Just pair automatically after turning on, or hold the two start and select keys in the middle for five seconds.

The price is just right and the games are fun to just about anyone.