Thursday, June 17, 2010

Droid: Using a Wii Controller on an Android Phone

Busy period for me again, thats why posts have been few and far between. I have a whole stack of posts slated to write, I just need time to do them.

Since I have been doing so much traveling lately, it leaves me with a lot of idle time in places like airports. while I always have my trusty Nintendo Ds with me, there are times where I don't want to lug around the carrying case with all my games. This is where my cell phone, a Motorola Droid, has come into play. Once again, I can't help but marvel at how powerful these devices have become.

I have gotten a interest in retro gaming. I grew up on the old school NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis games. And since the Droid is powerful enough, it can run emulators of these old school systems at full speed. The only problem is the control scheme leaves a little something to be desired. the onscreen controls just suck since you have no tactile feedback that you pushed a button (except for a vibration). the keyboard is awkward, so a gaming controller would be ideal here.

Well, there are a few options. First is the Game Gripper. This looks promising. I ordered one, but it hasn't arrived yet. There are two drawbacks to this. First, it only supports the Droid and the Backflip. Second, since it is basically a plastic insert that just pushes the buttons on your keyboard for you, I wonder if it will eventually wear down the thin plastic cover on the keyboard, or leave indentations.

The second option is the Zeemote. While the Droid is not explicitly listed on their site, there is a app in the marketplace called Gamepro that will interface with it.

The option I am using right now is the Nintendo Wii controller. There is an app in the Market called Wii Controller IME. This interfaces with the Wii controller (and the Wii Remotes Classic Controller) to allow you to use a Wii remote on the Droid. You assign keypresses to keyboard buttons, and your good to go. I tested it with NESoid and it worked flawlessly as long as I had the "Use Input Device" option selected. It even processed two button presses at the same time, something the keyboard had a hard time with. This is important if your playing a game that requires diagonal movement. the only drawback is that I have to carry a Wii remote with me, and that it uses Bluetooth, so battery life is much lower. One thing to keep in mind, it is reported that this app has a hard time with HTC phones, or phones using HTC Sense. So the Incredible, EVO, and Eris might have a hard time with it. Now I just need a phone with video out like the EVO and I'd be all set for when I travel =)