It’s funny, really, how something that starts out as an April Fool’s joke ends up being hugely popular, spawning a whole series of products that all us retro gaming geeks lust after. The original iCade is still pretty awesome, the iCade Jr. is pretty cute, but apparently now ThinkGeek is ready with another offering that will actually take you away from the arcade altogether.
It’s called the iCADE 8-Bitty and it’s going to be showcased at the 2012 Toy Fair in New York City. In a nutshell, it’s a wireless controller that very much borrows its inspiration from the 8-bit era of gaming. It’s pretty much a replica of the old NES controller, except there are four face buttons instead of two. There are eight buttons in all, so I’m assuming the other four are shoulder buttons.
I’m not sure if the “iCADE” moniker is really still all that appropriate, because this really has nothing to do with gaming in the arcade anymore. It’s gaming in the living room. Like the other iCADE products, the iCADE 8-Bitty connects to your iPod, iPhone, or iPad via Bluetooth. The difference here is that they’ve expanded the scope to include Android folks, encouraging app developers to use the API to “make just about any game compatible with iCADE.” Current supported games include Muffin Knight, Super Mega Worm, Warblade HD, Space Inversion 2, and HyperBowl.
The iCADE 8-Bitty will sell for $24.99 when it launches “later this year.”