Vyper Snakbyte Tablet and Gaming System Coming to North America Very Soon

Vyper Snakbyte Tablet and Gaming System Coming to North America Very Soon

Jan 8, 2014

Sunflex has announced the release date, configurations, and prices for the Snakebyte Vyper, a tablet with media dock and HDMI output. The 7″ quad-core tablet with Google Play access is now available in Europe, and will launch in North America on January 31st from a variety of online retailers including Amazon. It will come in two configurations: a $199 version with the tablet, dock, and Vyper Airmouse for media controls and mouse functionality, along with a $249 version that has all that and a wireless gamepad.

According to Nicki Repenning, vice president of business development for Sunflex, “We created two different controllers for Snakebyte Vyper so gamers can choose how they want to play the tens of thousands of exciting games in the Google Play Store – play on the tablet, or on any HDMI TV with the motion controller or wireless game controller.” Given that most microconsoles are tethered to the TV and don’t feature Google Play access, this tablet could be an interesting option for flexible gamers.

Snakebyte Vyper hardware

Samsung GamePad Officially Released In Europe, Releasing in Additional Territories Soon

Samsung GamePad Officially Released In Europe, Releasing in Additional Territories Soon

Dec 23, 2013

GamePad  2

Samsung has released its controller, fit for a Galaxy phone of any size, up to 6 inches in size. It has NFC and Bluetooth 3.0 to connect to the device, and acts, pretty much, like a proper console controller would. It even has special button to browse supported games from Play Store, and can be connected to a TV-screen via HDMI cable. It’s said that it will soon be available in European stores. See the original press-release here: Samsung Website.

KickStarter Spotlight: Drone

KickStarter Spotlight: Drone

Oct 30, 2013

With the recent advent of incredibly legitimate games for the ever more powerful smartphone and tablet market there has been a certain clamor for a mobile physical controller to offset the only drawback to playing a game on a giant touchscreen. Some curse the consoles for making us so reliable on these contraptions, but the fact remains that we, as a gaming culture, have become entirely dependent on console-quality controllers. 4 face buttons, a D-pad, start/select, and 2 joysticks, triggers, and bumpers. This is the foundation we have built for ourselves. So, instead of fighting, it is definitely easier to pony up small sum for a quality mobile controller. Now, obviously because the design is fairly set, and the demand is so high, there are a lot of startups who are looking to design the first flagship, go-to mobile controller, and we have even covered a few here. One worth keeping an eye on, however, is called Drone, and it is produced by Evolution Controllers out in Microsoft’s backyard in Redmond, WA.

So what does Drone have that other similar product’s do not? Well, for starters it supports a lot more devices than simply smartphones and tablets, and the build quality looks to be top of the line. The Drone comes in 7 different colors, including a personal favorite, matte black, and sports an Xbox configuration with the joystick placement (also a preference of mine). Another thing the Drone has going for it is the fact that it is completely open source; meaning that developers simply need to make their firmware available for download an the controller is instantly compatible. This makes the Drone a comparatively safer purchase as it is essentially ‘future-proof’. The Drone is also incredibly portable, coming in at about 5″x2.5″x1″, and with over 17 hours of battery life this is definitely something that can withstand a week of train rides to work.

It is looking that the drone will retail for $60 which is on the high end of the scale but is a fair price considering its feature set and quality. First, the Drone needs to complete its funding goal which, as of writing, is unfulfilled. So head on over to their KickStarter page and help the Drone controller become the new standard for quality mobile controllers.

Green Throttle Announces New Bluetooth HID Controller and Update for Current Controllers

Green Throttle Announces New Bluetooth HID Controller and Update for Current Controllers

Oct 7, 2013

Atlas 3

Green Throttle has announced the launch of its brand new bluetooth controller, which will help mobile gamers play their favorite mobile games more comfortably. The device is available for $29.99, and already has more than 50 compatible games. The controller can be purchased from here: Green Throttle Official Website As well, owners of current Green Throttle controllers can update their controllers with HID support through the Green Throttle Arena app.

E3 2013: MOGA Announces New Power Series of Controllers

E3 2013: MOGA Announces New Power Series of Controllers

Jun 12, 2013

MOGA’s Pocket and Pro controllers are still relatively new, all things considered, but that doesn’t mean that they’re resting on their laurels. At E3, MOGA has announced the new generation of MOGA controllers, the Power series.

The Pocket Power fixes the key issues of the current MOGA Pocket, which is namely the lack of buttons. The joysticks on the Pocket Power will be clickable. Shoulder buttons will be added in addition to the triggers. As well, a d-pad will be added to the controller, which was missing before. This will definitely improve 2D MOGA games, as well as make the Pocket a feature-complete option, albeit still a secondary one to the Pro.


The Pro is getting a boost with the Power Pro model that will feature force feedback in games optimized for it. The vibration appears to be powered by Immersion Haptics. Also worth noting on both controller models are new LEDs that appear to indicate multiple controller support.

These controllers are still in the works, but should be available in the Q3-Q4 (North American fall) timeframe.

MOGA Pro Bluetooth Gamepad Hardware Review

MOGA Pro Bluetooth Gamepad Hardware Review

May 31, 2013

There are a lot of gamepads available for Android. I mean, a lot. Plus, there’s the ability to plug in Xbox 360 controllers, so the landscape is inordinately crowded. But there might just be a king of the hill finally: the MOGA Pro. This is a Bluetooth gamepad that features the standard Xbox 360 layout, and comes with a tablet stand.

Unlike most controllers where actually usage of the controller feels like an afterthought, the MOGA Pro is incredibly ergonomic and a joy to hold. The controller is light, but the rubberized grips mean that it fits in one’s hand perfectly. Extended gaming sessions are comfortable. The buttons all have a nice, solid response to them, especially the shoulder bumpers and triggers. MOGA claims this is based off of parent company PowerA’s Ecl1pse controller, which is apparently used at tournaments. I can belive it, as this is one nice controller.

The only complaint I have is that the d-pad is a bit on the stiff side, but it may just take some breaking in, and it’s still light years ahead of the 360’s default d-pad. The joysticks are a bit loose for my tastes but that didn’t have a significant impact on me. Try the joysticks out with many games – The Conduit HD had deadzone issues with the joysticks that didn’t arise elsewhere.


Now, the problem with many gamepads that use their own standardized APIs is that it’s a cause of severe fragmentation in a land where the HID protocol exists. The original MOGA controller lacked HID support so some games were left unsupported. Well, the MOGA Pro can be run in “A” mode which supports MOGA-compatible games, and “B” mode which is HID mode. Connecting takes a few seconds when done through the app, but it’s otherwise a painless process. Games that supported HID had no difficulty with me on the MOGA Pro. Sadly, I could not get HID mode to work on Windows 8, which is a shame because this would be a perfect controller to use via Bluetooth. For comparison, the Nyko Playpad’s HID mode kinda works but that controller is also just mediocre.

The MOGA Pivot app is a good portal not just for connecting the controllers to the device but to also find MOGA-compatible games. It’s not a separate store, just a portal, which is quite welcome. Also, the MOGA comes with a code for a free game. Sweet babies!

There are a lot of Android gamepads out there. I issue my highest recommendation for this controller.

The MOGA Pro is available for $49.99 from MOGA’s website and other retailers.

GDC 2013: Green Throttle’s Controller Has an Interesting Angle: Multiplayer

GDC 2013: Green Throttle’s Controller Has an Interesting Angle: Multiplayer

Apr 4, 2013

I saw many, many Android controllers at GDC, all with different particular hooks to them. However, Green Throttle’s angle is particularly interesting: they want to promote mutliplayer gameplay.

That’s because by connecting to the Green Throttle app (available for both Gogle Play and Amazon Appstore), up to 4 controllers can connect to a device via Bluetooth, and the individual controller will show which player number it is, similar to an Xbox 360 controller, of which the design is practically identical.

To help promote this, Green Throttle is actually self-publishing some games that feature multiplayer support like Crystal Storm, a dual-stick shooter that also works with touch controls, but is at its best when taking on monsters with players together. Other third-party games like Gunslugs will also support the controller

The controllers do not support HID at the moment but this functionality could be coming down the road.

Green Throttle’s controllers are availble for $39.99 each, and the Arena app is available now.

GDC 2013: Wikipad’s Gaming Tablet is Finally a Reality

GDC 2013: Wikipad’s Gaming Tablet is Finally a Reality

Apr 2, 2013

Calm down, internet. After delays caused some people to threaten the team at Wikipad with death for not getting their gaming tablet out on time, they finally showcased the final production version of the gaming tablet at GDC 2013 last week.

The tablet portion of the Wikipad is essentially the same as a Nexus 7. It has a Tegra 3 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and an 1280×800 IPS screen. However, there’s a few feature checklist improvements: a higher-resolution camera that’s oriented to be in the top center of landscape orientation, an expandable microSD slot, and an HDMI output for playing games on the TV. These are all located on the top of the device when in landscape orientation, which is very important because this is designed as a gaming tablet, and because the all-important micro-USB slot for the controller attachemnt plugs in at the bottom.

Yes, the controller attachment is the really interesting part of this device, which brings the standard gaming layout of 4 face buttons and 4 shoulder buttons to something that attaches to the tablet itself through the bottom micro-USB port. The controller has a rubberized grip for comfort, and it doesn’t add much weight to the tablet, it’s still light, though it is definitely bulky, and the analog sticks felt very loose out of the box when playing Dead Trigger.

There’s an SDK for developers to use to implement Wikipad controls, but the controller also boasts HID support for games that don’t have the SDK specifically enabled. The team is promising to go with as open an approach as possible – games can be acquired from whatever marketplace the user desires, as there is no special Wikipad store. Well, not necessarily: the device will support PlayStation Mobile, meaning that games on Sony’s store (that are also available for devices like the PlayStation Vita) will be playable on there. However, not all titles have controller support yet, but Wikipad is in touch with Sony to try to get more titles supporting the controller. They’re also investigating mapping touchscreen input to the controller.

The 7″ tablet with controller will be available for $249, and is in production now with units shipping out to distributors very soon.

Nyko PlayPad Hardware Review

Nyko PlayPad Hardware Review

Jan 22, 2013

Android’s gamepad support is something that makes gaming on the platform different; while it’s not a very widely used option as developers still design for touch screens, it exists as an option. However, few actual pieces of hardware are designed for it, as most people just jerry-rig up an Xbox 360 controller to their tablet or phone. This is where Nyko’s PlayPad shows promise: it’s a Bluetooth gamepad available in a miniature version that’s great for traveling, or a full-size Pro version. I picked up the Mini version, and what I found was a great idea that was sadly lacking.

Now, one of the more exciting features of the Nyko PlayPad was its announced functionality to be able to map touch controls to the various gamepad buttons. Well, that’s not quite available yet. Nyko says it’s forthcoming, and its Nyko Playground software is still in beta. There’s functionality to theoretically remap keyboard presses to gamepad buttons, but the controller has to be synced though their app. Good luck with that, as it is practically impossible to get it set up through the app itself on Android 4.2 – if an update ever comes out to make the app actually work on one of the most popular Android devices out there, we’ll say something because otherwise a lot of the value of this controller is lost by not having this ability. It does work as intended on the Motorola Xoom, which runs 4.1, and Sonic CD worked great with it.There are third-party tools to do similar things, but they generally require rooting. In short, this is not a cool hackery tool, it’s just a Bluetooth gamepad.

So, just as a Bluetooth gamepad, how does it function? It’s passable. Getting it synced in gamepad mode is an absolute nightmare on the Nexus 7 on Android 4.2 – I found that it was easiest to sync it up in iCade mode (which emulates a keyboard, designed for iOS usage, though Chrono and Cash supports this on Android), then switch over to the gamepad mode. I think. Once it’s synced up, it works fine. For games that use all-digital controls (Orangepixel’s whole library is perfect for testing), it’s fine, though the button assignments are very strange – it feels like Y is one of the main action buttons for whatever reason. It’s not the same as an Xbox 360 controller, that’s for sure. The iCade layout is wonky as well. This is all based off of an off-the-shelf retail unit, as well.

The analog joysticks are not clickable, so there’s fewer action buttons (an issue that pops up in Dead Trigger), and they’re the sliding kind of joysticks made famous by the PSP, so they’re functional, but not exactly ideal for 3D games. The PlayPad Pro, by comparison, has more traditional analog sticks, so it may work better for first-person shooters and the like (try Madfinger’s titles, as they generally contain controller support). The controller can also act as a mouse for touchscreen games or just for remote control, but with these joysticks, it’s far from ideal. All the buttons, including the digital face buttons, digital shoulder buttons and analog triggers, all work well.

While I really like the idea of this compact, rechargeable, and versatile controller, its many strange quirks in functionality keep it from being a high recommendation. Its wide availability (GameStop carries the controller) may make it a top choice for those hunting down an Android gamepad. Just go in with low expectations.

KickStarter Spotlight: iMpulse Game Controller

KickStarter Spotlight: iMpulse Game Controller

Oct 17, 2012

Now, I am not a big mobile gamer. I enjoy the simple, cerebral puzzlers just as much as the next man but when it comes to some of the huge action titles that are now available for Android or iOS I would much rather play their brethren on my 43″ TV as opposed to my smartphone that is 1/10 the size. The other problem I have with hardcore mobile gaming is the lack of physical buttons. Trying to aim a gun without tactile mouse or stick is hard and no matter what some people say, not very intuitive. Besides, the screen is small as it is, why try to clog it up with my thick sausage thumbs.

There are Bluetooth remotes out there and most games of this genre are compatible with these. The problem here is that it really negates the mobility of a smartphone. The biggest selling point from the gaming aspect is that the phone is with you 24/7 and is able to be quickly taken out and enjoyed while waiting in line or on the train. By introducing a giant controller that has to be consciously packed into a bag or purse, the mobility is suddenly constricted. No more can the phone just be complete in the pocket of a jacket; these full sized controllers cannot be comfortably thrown in a pocket because they are just too big.

Like all KickStarter blogs I do here, I now present a solution to this problem. Welcome, iMpulse, a tiny rectangular controller that is small enough to comfortably fit on any keychain. iMpulse was specifically designed to go onto keychains because they are with the player constantly. Anytime they leave the house their keys must go with them along with the phone; meaning that at anytime, gaming with a controller is possible. At about the width of an average palm iMpulse is small but it does not seem too small where it would be frustrating or unusable. Oh, and did I mention that it will help locate lost keys? For me, as forgetful as they come, this is almost more than worth the price of the whole device, gaming notwithstanding.

The only thing that makes me leery of the iMpulse is the lack of a second analog stick. The whole device basically is a 4 button NES controller with an analog stick in place of the traditional d-pad. Being a person who owned the older PSP for a number of years, I can attest to how hard it is to play a FPS without dual analog sticks. I am not quite sure if or how the design team plans on marketing the iMpulse but from their video they do not seem too concerned with marketing to the FPS crowd as most of the games they demoed were more traditional, less complicated mobile games.

If the iMpulse sounds interesting be sure to check out their KickStarter page for more information and possibly donate to the cause and get a pre-order for a pretty generous discount.

Gametel Introduces Their External Bluetooth Gamepad

It appears as if 2012 is going to be the year of game controllers. The iCade became popular in 2011 for iOS devices, bringing arcade-style controls to iOS gamers (primarily designed for the iPad) via Bluetooth keyboard emulation. The iControlPad was also released, which featured custom controller modes that Android could utilize, along with iCade emulation for iOS games. 60beat recently introduced their GamePad that plugs in through an iOS device’s headphone port.

Now, Gametel is jumping into the gamepad space with their own controller. This controller boasts 6 face buttons; 4 on a diamond on the right hand side along with Select and Start buttons. The device also boasts a pair of triggers.

Importantly, this is designed for use with phones as well as tablets; it comes with a clamp that will hold most Android phones in it. It connects over Bluetooth and supports 4 different control modes: an Android-specific mode configurable with a driver available through Android market; a standard Bluetooth gamepad mode; a standard Bluetooth keyboard emulation mode; finally, a mode that emulates the iCade, designed for iPhone and iPad.

These different modes make it something that is designed to work for any platform that users want to use it on, similar to the iControlPad. However, the iControlPad has additional analog joystick controls along with its buttons and iCade emulation. The Gametel may be limited because of the lack of analog joysticks, but its appeal may primarily be in use for classic games (and of course, emulators, which are plentiful on Android – though occasionally Apple lets one slide by on the App Store).

This should also raise the question if Android developers will ever implement gaming controls in their apps; implementing iCade shouldn’t be difficult as that is a Bluetooth device, and it is also the standard in widest use across the industry, and is the hardware in most users’ hands, either through the accessory directly, or through hardware like the Gametel that can use the same commands. It mainly differs from other gamepads by sending individual keystrokes when a button is pressed, and another keystroke when a button is released. Even with options available for direct gamepad control available to Android users, devices like the Gametel do show that even Android developers should consider implementing this protocol into their game along with standard gamepad support, which Android does support as of 3.x; with the proper cables, try plugging an Xbox controller in to an Android device…