An iPad game controller is a great addition to your iPad accessories if you do lots of gaming. The iPad was designed to be controlled by multi touch gestures, and some additional built in control sensors such as an accelerometer and a gyroscope. Those simple controls are great for most of the iPad games.
However, there are many games that were originally designed for consoles, or PC's and were transferred or written again for the iPad. Those games were designed with a physical controller in mind before the iPad existed. The developers put some controls on the screen for those games to mimic your physical controller which again work fine, but still it does't feel like the same as a real physical button.
I always wished there was a physical controller designed by Apple that would connect to your iPad and give you the option to use either the touch screen buttons or the physical buttons on the controller. However, Apple never made that move, but many companies feel the need for such an iPad game controller. Therefore, you can find many iPad game controllers in the Apple store and online specifically for iOS or the iPad games.
The only problem with those controllers is that they are not universal, and they don't work with all the iPad games. Each controller has a handful number of games that were tested for it and work fine only for those specific games.
There is no one iPad game controller that can simply work on all iPad games by default without jailbreaking your iPad. To take full advantage of your controller and make it work on almost all iPad games a jailbreak and an iPad hack called Blutrol is required.
There are two ways of connecting iPad game controllers to your iPad games. One way doesn't require jailbreak, while the other one requires jailbreaking your iPad.
The Due Gamer is an exclusive iPad game controller for some Gameloft only games. Therefore, if you like Gameloft games, then this controller is for you. It doesn't require jailbreaking and works wirelessly by bluetooth.
Once you buy a compatible Gameloft game from the App store, the setup is pretty easy. Simply enable bluetooth on your iPad, and pair your iPad with the Game Due. Then, start your Gameloft game, and the iPad game controller would start controlling the game. It is that simple.
The only problem with this controller is that there are not many Gameloft games that work with it, so you must love the games from this company, and hope that they update their games to work with the Due Gamer.
This is a controller that again works with the OnLive games. OnLive is a company that has many games on their server. It allows people who subscribe to their service to play online games. It is like logging in to a fast computer and playing the games that are installed on that computer using the power of that computer.
You first need to install the OnLive viewer app from the App Store which is an OnLive client, that allows you to connect to your OnLive account.
You will then access tens of online games on their server. Because you are basically streaming the game play over the internet, you will need a fast internet connection.
The OnLive controller, is designed by the same company to work with their service. All you need to do is pair the controller with your iPad using bluetooth, and the controller will work with all the OnLive games.
This controller doesn't require jailbreaking your iPad.
60Beat is another company that makes an iPad game controller that is compatible with some iPad games. This controller is wired and connects to the headphone port of your iPhone or iPad. Therefore, It doesn't require a battery or charging.
The problem as always is the number of compatible games. The developer of any iOS game must make the game compatible with this controller in order for it to work with the 60Beat controller. Currently there are over forty 60beat games that are compatible with this controller.
The iCad is one of the most popular controller for the iPad. It comes in different shapes and sizes. The protocol is open, and has been in the market for a long time. Therefore, you will find many verities of the iCade controllers.
The iCade works on many games without jailbreaking the iPad but at the same time it is very popular in the jailbreak community with many iPad hacks and iPad emulators supporting it. The original iCade controller comes in a shape of an Arcade box that consists of 8 arcade buttons and a joystick. But many iCade compatible controllers are also available in smaller sizes like the iCade 8Bitty and others.
The iCade runs some Atari games out of the box by installing an Atari app from the App store, but many iOS games support the iCade controllers out of the box too.
The iCade 8Bitty is a smaller less expensive iCade compatible iPad game controller that uses the same iCade protocol used on the bigger controllers.
Sticky iPad JoySticks and Buttons:
Another clever controller for the iPad is a simple sticky joystick and buttons. It sticks on top of your iPad screen for any iPad game with controls on the screen. For example, if you have a D-Pad on the iPad screen that shows left, right, up, and down touch buttons, then you can simply stick this iPad Joystick on top of the shown controls, and use the joystick to physically control the game.
If you have a button on the bottom right, you would simply stick a physical button on top of the touch button on your iPad screen.
After you stick all the necessary buttons on your iPad screen, you will end up with a big game console with physical controls. The problem is that you have to hold the iPad in your hand to better control the game. As long as the game has controls that can be covered with the sticky joystick or sticky buttons, then it would work fine. Logitech and many others make those type of iPad game controllers.
The WiiMote is the most interesting and is the cheapest way to have an iPad game controller specially if you have a Nintendo Wii sitting around.
The only issue with the WiiMote is that it only works after you jailbreak your iPad. The WiiMote works with most iPad emulators, and many iPad hacks like the Blutrol hack which allows you to convert most iOS game to a physically controlled game. The Wii remote is available in the list of controllers that is supported for Blutrol.
The WiiMote is easy to pair just like any other bluetooth device. However, you will have to pair it within the game or the iPad hack itself and not like other bluetooth controllers where you pair them from the bluetooth menu in Settings.
PinBall Controller for the iPad:
This controller is designed for the Due Pinball game from the App store. It works for iPad and iPhone, but it is best to work on iPad. It is a wireless bluetooth controller that once connected to your iPad, you can run the Due Pinball game and pull the trigger to shoot the ball and control the game. Of course buying such a controller for only one or even two pinball games is probably not worth it. But if you love pinball, then it might be good for you.
iPad Game Controller with AirPlay Mirror:
With a game controller you can play your games without touching the iPad screen. Now imagine, mirroring your iPad screen to a big TV, and controlling the game wirelessly.
This is possible with an Apple TV, and using an amazing iOS feature called Airplay mirror. The Apple TV cost $99 and is worth every penny, and if you have a game controller for your iPad, an Apple TV will make your gaming experience more fun.
You can easily convert your iPad into a real gaming console. Simply run the game you like that works with the iPad game controller, and then tap the Airplay mirror button on your iPad to mirror your iPad to your HDTV. Now you can play your game on the TV. It is that simple.