8bitdo brings Bluetooth connectivity to Apple II

October 17th, 2016 8:18 AM
Filed under Game trail;
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Games are my favorite genre of Apple II application, so anything that makes it easier to play my favorite Apple II games is something I'll line up for. It's why I just bought Alex Lukacz's 4play card (reviewed in the September 2016 issue of Juiced.GS) and am now awaiting the AP40 controller, currently on Kickstarter.

The AP40 is a Bluetooth controller with an aesthetic reminiscent of the classic Apple logo. Its name is both an evolution of the developer's previous model, the AP30, as well as an acknowledgement of 2017 being the 40th anniversary of the Apple II.

By itself, this play on nostalgia is nothing special — skins and themes for Bluetooth controllers are not hard to come by. The killer app aspect of the AP40 is that it comes with a wireless receiver that plugs into the Apple II, enabling the use of any Bluetooth controller. Although the project description cites compatibility with the Apple IIc specifically, I emailed the developers and confirmed that any model of Apple II will work.

If you're interested, there are a couple purchasing options to consider. The AP40 gamepad alone costs $49, but if you have another Bluetooth controller you're happy with, you can get just the receiver for $49; or buy both for $85. A limited-edition controller with mini-Apple II stand costs $69, but there is no turnkey package that includes both this special edition and a wireless receiver.

The AP40 has made headlines like few other pieces of retrocomputing tech has, having been featured in Forbes, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Cult of Mac, and more. For all that, there may nonetheless be a marketing issue, because the controller seems to be getting more press coverage than its Apple II compatibility; when I mentioned the Kickstarter on the Retro Computing Roundtable episode #138, one of the other hosts who'd seen these headlines was flabbergasted to discover the controller worked on actual Apple II hardware.

For personal use, I wanted just the receiver, for use with my PlayStation 4's DualShock controller — but for the purposes of a proper review in the pages of Juiced.GS, I've emailed 8bitdo and assembled a package of limited-edition controller complete with receiver. The Kickstarter currently has nine days to go but has already exceeded its crowdfunding goal of $16,111 USD; given the developer's track record, I'm confident the products will ship on or near the promised delivery date of January 2017, in time for the March 2017 issue of Juiced.GS.

From the Wii U to KansasFest

February 18th, 2013 12:54 PM
Filed under Musings;
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I am not an artist — at least, not in the sense of having skill at design, drawing, or painting. I can write elegantly, exhibit comic timing in a British farce, even sing a tune or two. But being able to draw something that is immediately recognizable is a skill I have not yet acquired.

I thus have difficulty expressing myself on the Wii U. Nintendo's latest video game system combines traditional and tablet gaming by using a controller that features a touch screen. Gamers can use the included stylus to draw black-and-white art that is then shared with other denizens of the "Miiverse". Nintendo must approve every drawing, ensuring a family-friendly art exhibit.

I've compiled slideshows of hundreds of amazing sketches that baffle me in their complexity; I am astounded at how much these players can do given so little. But until recently, none of the artwork that impressed me was meant just for me.

That was until Wii U inhabitant OverNiven sent me this message:


As stunning as the art is that I've seen on the Wii U, none has made me happier than this confident expression: an old friend who hasn't been in KansasFest in years, if not decades, will finally return.

Wii U response

See you at KansasFest 2013!