Although they’ve been around almost as long as smartphones, it’s fair to say that mobile Bluetooth gaming controllers haven’t really made it into the mainstream yet.
What makes this weird is that they’re absolutely essential pieces of gear for anyone who takes remote gaming seriously.
Touch screens lend themselves to many genres and are perfect for simple puzzle games like Candy Crush.
They even inspired several new gaming genres after the iPhone came out in 2007 and mobile gaming saw a big boom.
But they’re absolute crap for platform games, action games, and other genres that rely on traditional button input.
Bluetooth controllers are the answer, but so far no manufacturer has come up with a design that’s actually so compact and effective that it’s worth carrying around alongside your smartphone.
The Jacknife Gamer is an ultra-portable device, no bigger than a matchbox, created in product designer Duncan Mao’s garage.
After patenting the idea and assembling a few units, Duncan sold the Jacknife Gamer at his local night market in Canada. The response was so enthusiastic that he decided to take it to the big leagues and put the product up for sale on Amazon last December.
We assume that it will go far.
Why? Because it ticks every box. For one, it’s small enough to carry around without thinking twice, which is essential in a cellphone peripheral. It’s strange how many manufacturers don’t realize this.
Second, it actually clips onto your phone to create a single, seamless device, avoiding another trap many other manufacturers fall into.
Nobody wants to hold a separate controller when playing on a 6-inch screen.
The Jacknife Gamer can be clamped onto devices up to 86mm wide, meaning it will comfortably fit around even massive models like the Galaxy Note20 Ultra and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
And once the Jacknife Gamer is installed, your phone is effectively a handheld console with an impressive total of 12 different button inputs that you can comfortably reach with your fingers and thumbs.
There are four directional buttons, XYAB buttons, a start button, a select button, and R and L bumpers conveniently positioned on the back.
Duncan really nailed the ergonomics by doing away with the traditional diamond layout of the XYAB keys and placing the bumpers where your ring fingers rest for easier access.
You can visit the official YouTube channel to see it in action.
The technique is pretty slick too. The Jacknife Gamer connects to your phone via Bluetooth 5.0, ensuring fast and stable performance. To pair it, all you have to do is turn it on and find it in your phone’s Bluetooth settings.
Once plugged in, the Jacknife Gamer is there for the long haul, with a battery capable of supporting around 60 hours of continuous gameplay. Your phone will blink many times before your controller does.
And just in case you mistime your charges, you can easily charge your Jacknife Gamer directly from your phone with the included cable.
You can play tens of thousands of games with a Bluetooth controller like the Jacknife Gamer, but it can be difficult to know which ones work best with physical controls.
Luckily, Duncan is an expert. He currently maintains a list of titles he’s enjoyed playing with Jacknight Gamer on his website and welcomes your suggestions.
Certain genres clearly work better than others, with platform games, action games, and top-down RPGs all benefiting from physical controls.
Games that are available on multiple platforms inevitably work best with buttons, and you can get the most out of titles like Bloodstained – Ritual of the Night, Stardew Valley, Table Top Racing, Another World, Wayward Souls and many more with the Jacknife Player.
Even better, the Jacknife Gamer lets you experience mobile-only games like Pascal’s Wager at their best, without sacrificing the convenience and portability you love about your smartphone.
Visit the Jacknife Gamer official website to learn more.
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