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NYC Toy Fair 2012: iON & ThinkGeek Reveal Retro 8-Bitty Controller for Tablets

The New York Toy Fair is well under way with a whole host of licensed movie and TV cash-ins making parents everywhere nervously anticipate the new wave of summer blockbuster fads, must-own action figures, gadgets and games set to empty wallets with a relentless fury. If, on the other hand, you have no kids and are like us a big kid yourself – the Toy Fair is a treasure trove! Between our “serious” news the Gadget Helpline will be dipping in and out of the comings and goings in NYC to bring you a few of the best gadget-based toys coming out of the event this week. Here’s one for your retro gamers. Resembling a very familiar D-pad from the greatest generation of gaming – iON returns to retro with the tablet friendly 8-Bitty Bluetooth gaming system.

iON, the casual gaming co. behind the recently popular mini arcade cabinet for iPhone called iCade, along with retail partner ThinkGeek, have unveiled its next offering at the NYC Toy Fair. It’s called the 8-Bitty and it’s modelled after the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) control pad first seen in 1985. The gaming gadget connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to your tablet computer of choice and allows players to control a selection of compatible “8-bit” titles available – providing a fun and nostalgic alternative to using the touchscreen.

iON has kindly added a pair of helpful extra action buttons to help best a range of compatible games resembling past time faves such as Pac Man, Frogger and “Space Inversion” (clearly avoiding a licensing conflict with Space Invaders creator Taito!)

Launch partner ThinkGeek says “We’re excited to extend on the success of the original iCADE. And with millions of iOS and Android devices in circulation it only makes sense to widen the field and bring the fun of iCADE to every possible device.”

Despite no Nintendo titles (or similes) appearing, the handset is a tidy throwback and more than compensates with Spectrum ZX, Atari and Commodore 64 compilation bundles available to download for the iPad / Android tablet based system which will be released in early 2012 costing $25.

If you’re into retro gaming, perhaps check out GEEK 2012 this half term – It’s happening in Margate, East Kent from Wednesday 15th to Sunday 19th of February!

Let us know your thoughts on our comments below or via our @Gadget_Helpline Twitter page or Official Facebook group.