The video game industry has produced hundreds of fantastic games over the past four decades, and you can play instead of paying $60 for that new triple-A release that you can only play on a console at home. With emulators available for just about every video game console up to the Nintendo Wii, you have access to a huge library of games. You just need the hardware to run those emulators. Your smartphone would be perfect for the job if it had physical buttons, which is exactly what Playloop provides.
Many retro gaming enthusiasts opt to play on dedicated handhelds or use something like a Raspberry Pi to run their emulators. But the truth is, neither of those options is anywhere close to as powerful as your smartphone is. Add in the benefit of always having your smartphone with you, and you’ve got the perfect portable console. The problem is that those games were never designed for a touchscreen. To have a good gaming experience, you want physical, tactile buttons. Playloop is an affordable and convenient way to add them whenever you want to play a game.
Playloop is a gamepad accessory that snaps onto any Android smartphone. It has a set of buttons that work well for most games from the 16-bit era or earlier, and some from later consoles. The device plugs into your smartphone’s USB port, so no battery or wireless connection is needed. When plugged in, it appears as a standard USB HID gamepad that’s compatible with most popular emulators.
There are plans to make Playloop available for sale in the future, but you can build one now if you don’t want to wait. This isn’t a beginner’s project, as it will require SMD soldering, AVR programming, and 3D printing. But if you’ve got this skills, Playloop is a fantastic way to improve your smartphone gaming experience.