Turn Your iPhone Into a Game Controller With Joypad

Gaming on the desktop computer has always been a big deal for the seasoned gamers, yet a royal headache for normal human beings. “W” is forward, you say? And “D” is right? What was “reload” again? Where’s the jump button?

Luckily for you, one company heard your cries. They also noticed that you have an iPhone. Their name is Hazelmade, and their solution is to turn your iPhone into a game controller using Joypad.

Getting Started

Hazelmade caters for an otherwise untapped market between two very prominent other markets. Beyond the hardcore gamers that use keyboards for their gaming, and the hardcore gamers who buy expensive gaming controllers to play with, remains the human beings that don’t want to use the keyboard to play, nor do they want to buy controllers for their passing interest in games.

Joypad's UI

Joypad's UI

There are a number of apps in the App Store today that allow you to control your computer with your iPhone, but they’re either geared towards moving your cursor around or reproducing your keyboard. Neither moves us forward in this field.

What Joypad offers is a fantastic solution that sits between these two extremes. For free, you can download an app for both your computer and iPhone to play your games safely in the knowledge that you’re not going to forget what key does what, and without the remorse of purchasing an expensive controller for this fleeting fancy.

The Basics

For the games that support Joypad, all you need to do is fire it up and get playing — it’s really very easy. Joypad also comes with preconfigured controllers for retro consoles, so that you can use them with a video game emulator that you have installed on your computer.

Disclaimer: The legal ramifications of video game emulators are a bit hazy, as some are considered against the law. We don’t encourage illegal gaming habits here at AppStorm. If you are going to emulate games on your computer, it’s important that you understand the rules and regulations of doing so, so that you stay on the right side of the law.

Different Joypad Controller Styles

Different Joypad Controller Styles

By default, the app comes with controller configurations for the consoles Sega Genesis (or Megadrive, for European readers), Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo (SNES), Nintendo 64 (N64), Gameboy Advance (GBA), Arcade games (MAME), amongst other existing desktop games like Minecraft and Portal2.

Put simply, “all those games you used to play, plus a couple newer ones.”

Joypad skins match classic consoles

Joypad skins match classic consoles

While the app is free to download and use for both your iPhone and your computer, Hazelmade does offer some nostalgia of their own for a small fee. For 99 cents you can download app skins for all the aforementioned consoles, to make your gaming experience that little bit closer to the original.


In all my testing, I noticed no slowdown between button pressing and in-game response. It’s just like using the real controller — almost.

One of the biggest downfalls of this app is through no fault of its own, but the medium itself. While the touch screen experience on an iPhone is gorgeous, it does assume that you’re looking at the screen. When you look away, you’re just sliding your fingers around on a piece of glass. While it’s much easier to use Joypad than it sounds, there can (and will) be occasional moments when a Goomba will get the better of you, robbing you of your Fire Flower as you repeatedly press the dead-zone next to “jump” on your iPhone screen.

Not that I’m sore, or anything.

There’s also the configuration process you have to go through if you happen to use any non-standard keyboard configurations. All emulation apps map keys on your keyboard to what buttons would have been available on that particular console. Joypad adds itself into the fray after that configuration process is complete, so you have to then map those keys back to the buttons the console would have had, again. It’s a daisy-chain of button configurations that, if done incorrectly, will have you back in the configuration panes scratching your head as to why your Left arrow moves Player 2 right.

Nevertheless, if you stick with the default configurations, or take your time on the configuration process, you should be absolutely fine.

Joypad works with iPad too

Joypad works with iPad too

It’s not just games on the desktop computer that can take advantage of Joypad, either. Select iPad games also make use of the app, opening doors to yet more gaming possibilities in the future.


I was a big gamer in my school days. Nowadays I have very little time to invest in games, coupled with no interest to go down the whole WASD/mouse route (I don’t even have a mouse). What Joypad brings is a gaming experience my wife and I can enjoy in front of my MacBook Pro’s screen with our iPhones with no investment required. Hook up your Mac to an Apple TV and buy a couple of those nostalgic skins and you’ll be hitting your head against “?” blocks like it’s 1990.

If you play computer games, or ever played console games, you owe it to yourself to download this free app, and experience those classic moments all over again.


Joypad is a fantastic way to play classic games on your Mac, PC or iPad by putting the game buttons right into your hand.