Apple Games iPad iPhone

iOS 13 + Regular Game Controllers

I have hated the MFi program for game controllers for a long time now.  Cheap and expensive controllers for a handful of games.  There was no valid tech reason for Apple to restrict their OS to their own protocol for this!  It was a blatant cash grab.

Thankfully, that has changed in iOS 13.  Now iPads and iPhones can officially use PS4 and (newer) XBox One controllers, which are MUCH easier to find and of considerably higher quality, especially for the price.

I just discovered yesterday, thanks to this reddit post that there is a way to pair and use my 8bitdo controller with iOS.  In short: start the controller in pairing mode, then go to Settings – Accessibility – Switch Control – Switches – Bluetooth devices and add the controller.  Then it shows up as a regular Bluetooth device.

I tested it with Minecraft and Crashlands, and it works perfectly.

Note that it works in Xinput and Mac mode so I don’t see any reason you couldn’t pair other Xinput compatible controllers with the same technique.

What a ridiculous place to put what should be a pretty standard HID controller.  Still, very glad there is now SOME kind of iOS support for devices the rest of the tech world is willing to support.


RealRacing 3

I, like many other racing fans, eagerly awaited Firemint’s latest offering in the mobile offering, RealRacing 3. I bought both previous games in the series (even got RR2 for two different devices). I was excited when I saw the videos, and excited to know it would be free! So when it was released, I kept checking my iTunes Store to grab it as soon as I could. I got it!

Then I read the backlash. I checked the IAP prices… Yowza, that’s ridiculous. Should I just forgo the game and play the still-great RealRacing 2? Well, let me try it a bit.

Man, it looks good. The controls are as good as I’d expect. The physics is fun, and the grip model is not “all or nothing” like RR1. It’s good.

The issues come when you have to repair your car and they put their hand out – either to get you to pay actual cash or wait a few minutes for basic repairs, for example, oil changes are necessary and take about 3 minutes. Tires take a little longer, and so on.  Really, it’s not that bad.  I just queued up oil, brakes, and tires (about 10 minutes) and took a little break. I wrote a blog post. I’m not sure how the game will progress, of course. Will it be ‘pay to win’? But there’s one thing I’m very certain of right now.

I will not pay a thin dime in IAP.

I’m insufferably cheap with these things. I would have dropped a few bucks for this game, so I guess I have my profligate moments. But if I can merely grind to get farther in the game, I will.

So far, this looks like a reachable and reasonably fun goal.

Games Shopping

PSN Plus

I got a 50% off deal on a 3-month subscription to Playstation Plus the other day. There was one or two freebies that I was interested in (Quantum Conundrum!). I discovered that I again have access to games I downloaded when I had a free trial a year ago or so. That tells me if I let a subscription lapse and pick it up again, I get my freebies back! Very nice.

It was hard to find this information out, now I know first-hand.


SimCity 4

I picked up SimCity 4 Deluxe for $5 the other day. What a bargain! This is a really cool and deep game. Of course I started out with a city called “Tinatown”.

The Road Rage expansion is cool too, you can drive around in your city on a few various missions, though they are a little repetitive.

I found and installed a mod/plugin called NAM that adds a ton of cool traffic and road options that make the game much more intelligent. There are a whole bunch of highway and overpass options I haven’t even glanced at yet.