Over a year ago, I sat in disbelief as Steve Jobs unveiled the newest toy in the Apple arsenal, the iPad. I had already owned an iPod touch and used iPhones long enough to know that the iPad was going to be a huge success, but gaming was listed as one of the key uses of this “magical” device and I thought that sounded a little off.
Gaming, for myself and many like me, is a term reserved for console game systems (like the XBOX 360 and PS3) and desktop computers. I’ve been playing games for years and when someone mentions a “gaming system” I think of fast graphics, surround sound and a controller. That’s what seemed so “off” in Steve’s speech. How can you “game” on the iPad when there are no buttons?
Fast forward to January 2011. iPad in hand, I traveled to CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, where over 34 football fields worth of electronic gadgets were on hand for viewing, touching and testing. Of the thousands of new tech toys I saw, many were geared for use with the iPad, but only one caught my attention enough to warrant a purchase. That item was fling.
At one small, unsuspecting booth at CES I came across two guys from Ten One Design who were showing off the fling, a tactile joystick for the iPad. In the simplest terms, the fling is a button on suction cups that attaches to the front of your iPad. Use one or pair up two of them for a controller-esque experience. Only a few seconds passed before I was standing with the “flinged out” iPad in hand playing one of my favorite console games of all time Geometry Wars. One word crossed my lips. “Awesome!!”
After the Demo
I played for 5 minutes, then finally headed on my way, but that experience changed the iPad for me forever. Upon returning home to Houston, I pre-ordered a pair of fling controllers and 2 weeks later they were in. I’ve now had my fling controllers for a couple weeks and I can’t put the iPad down. These simple little add-ons have made the iPad a true gaming experience for me. In fact, within 48 hours of receiving the flings I had cracked the top 10 on the all-time leaderboard for Geometry Wars, something I could never have done simply using my thumbs.
If you are interested in seeing the fling in action, check out the official demo video:
The fling lists at $19.95 or you can pick up a 2-pack for $29.94 at tenonedesign.com right now.
UPDATE: In my research since posting this article, I came across a few more great reviews of the fling, including this article on Apps for the Fling Joystick. In case you were wondering on what games to get for your fling, this is a great reference tool to start with.
This just in. Ten One Design now has the Fling mini Joystick up and available on their website for pre-order. This new Fling is designed for use on your iPhone or iPod Touch.
** Just so you know, I was not compensated in any way for this post. Ten One Design did not ask me to write this article. The views and comments above are all mine.