Too many great iPhone games suffer from digit interruptus: onscreen controls force your thumbs or fingers to block too much of the action. Plus, there's no tactile feedback. meaning you don't get the button-mashing goodness associated with the best console and arcade games.
Developers have proposed a variety of solutions to this problem. For example, ThinkGeek's iCade 8-Bitty gives you a Nintendo-style controller with a D-Pad and lots of buttons -- but it works with only a smattering of games. Plus it's a hassle to carry around.
The upcoming iMpulse controller is small enough to ride on a keychain, but suffers from a similar functional limitation: because it relies on Bluetooth connectivity, it'll work with only a small subset of available iOS games.
Depending on the kinds of games you like to play, you might be much happier with something like the WynCase. This snap-on iPhone controller, which doubles as a protective case, requires no Bluetooth and no batteries.
So that means it plugs into the iPhone's docking port, adding lots of bulk, right? Wrong. The WynCase leverages a patent-pending technology called BridgeTouch: the case covers two slivers of the screen (the top and bottom edges) so that it can make contact with it, effectively relaying button presses as finger-touches.
The case is compatible with the iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5, and iPod Touch (fourth- and fifth-gen models). Alas, the first edition looks like it was designed for the older hardware, meaning it'll block more than just a sliver of the iPhone 5's and new iPod Touch's screens. Hopefully the developers will introduce a wider version in the future.
Of course, that assumes the WynCase reaches its Kickstarter funding goal of $80,000 -- it's currently just under $15,000, with about 12 days to go. If you're interested, you can buy in for as little as $30, a price that includes shipping and your choice of a black or white case. Other colors, including red, yellow, and blue, can be had at the $40 pledge level. Keep in mind that delivery looks to be as far out as May, if not later.
I must say, of all the iPhone game controllers (both real and in the development stage) I've seen, this one shows the most promise. It deftly works around the compatibility problem associated with Bluetooth-powered controllers, and it makes your iDevice feel more like a handheld game console than a detached controller ever could. Plus, it requires no batteries -- always a plus.
What are your thoughts? Is this worth funding?