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Friday March 27, 2009 1:29 pm

GDC 2009: Zeemote JS1 impressions

Posted by Alex Lifschitz Categories:


So you may be asking yourself, ‘What’s a Zeemote?’ Firstly, you need to stop talking to yourself in public. It’s creepy, and it doesn’t work with your trenchcoat. Secondly, the Zeemote is a little whiz-bang doodad for doing analog gaming on your mobile device. Come with me into the land where some of us actually carry one around for a mobile gaming fix while our PSP/DSes are lodged firmly in a crocodile gullet.

I got to get hands-on with the Zeemote JS1 controller (which I will just call the zeemote because I am incredibly lazy) at a booth outside the main convention hall at the , where I was shown exactly what this thing can do. Apparently, Zeemote has already negotiated deals to get it packaged in with a number of high-profile mobile phone companies in multiple countries outside of the US, and the USA is next. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and about 80% of the games on your mobile phone, BlackBerry/Symbian/whatever, are Zeemote-ready. That, and they have plans on expanding to the iPhone/Android market. How? I dunno. But they seem pretty confident about it.

As for the hands-on, well, it was pretty solid, if not a welcome enhancement (plus it sits in the palm of your hand quite nicely, with all the buttons at your immediate control). When it came to N-Gage games, it absolutely made a crucial difference. The jump from digital to analog controls with this one-handed dynamo made everything just work more fluidly, for both the racing and platforming games I was able to try; plus, it can work out of the box on most phones, especially those that allow you to install a native client. It’s so reliable that the Zeemote guys were able to install and run it in minutes on a Samsung prototype a few months back, and it worked like a charm. Plus, since it’s , it’s pretty easy to turn this into a presentation device for your computer. Even better, since the and other handsets now have video-out, you can navigate and play things on your phone remotely while running it through a TV.

Of course, the thing is pretty esoteric – you don’t absolutely need a zeemote if you do gaming on your phone, but you’d be surprised by just how much it improves your experience. Plus, just look it at! It’s sexy. Technology should be sexy. Though there are no motion controls. Yet. You can pick one up at their website if you feel the need to scratch that particular itch.



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