It’s safe to say that Android gaming has come a long way since the era of Angry Birds. Simplistic games controlled with a swipe of the finger have given way to high definition graphics and ports of classic console games. Unfortunately, controlling these games can be a problem. The on-screen buttons pale in comparison to the tactile buttons found on traditional controllers, not to mention your fingers are often inadvertently obscuring the action.
Luckily, Microsoft has developed one of the most comfortable and versatile controllers in gaming history. Best of all it’s one that you’ll be able to use with your Android device.
What You’ll Need
- A wired or wireless Xbox 360 controller.
- An OTG cable. OTG stands for “on the go” and is used to connect standard USB devices to your Android phone or tablet. An OTG cable has a female USB plug on one end and a micro USB connector on the other. This super cheap cable can be used to connect flash drives, keyboards, mice, and best of all, gaming controllers.
- An Xbox 360 Wireless Controller Dongle (if using a wireless controller).
The process to get your wired Xbox 360 controller working on your Android device is incredibly simple:
1. Plug the micro USB connector of your OTG cable into your Android device.
2. Plug your Xbox 360 controller into the standard female USB port of the OTG cable.
Finally, start playing some games! For newer Android devices, the Xbox 360 controller works flawlessly with no additional configuration.
What About Wireless Controllers?
Using a wireless Xbox 360 controller is almost as easy. Connect your OTG cable to your Android device, and then plug the Xbox 360 controller wireless receiver into the OTG cable. Your Android device should supply power to the wireless receiver. You will now be able to pair your controller as you normally would. While your controller should connect without any issues, the amount of games that support the wireless controller does not seem to be as good as the wired variety.
What Games Are Compatible?
Many Android games, even some that don’t advertise controller support, should be ready to play without any additional configuration. Some games will require switching from touch screen input to the controller in the Settings menu of the game.
One downside to using the Xbox 360 controller is that most games won’t have an option for button mapping, leaving you stuck with whatever happens to be the default button layout. Interested in running emulators? You will be pleased to know that many emulators offer button mapping natively within the app.
Of course you could test your controller every time you download a new game, but there are easier ways. There are a number of websites that catalog all of the games that are compatible with gamepads. These sites will give you information like which controllers work with a game, and whether or not the game supports re-mappable controls. What About Other Controllers?
With your OTG cable, virtually any USB gamepad will work with your Android device. Furthermore, pretty much any Bluetooth enabled gamepad will work as well: just pair it like you normally would. The same goes for Wiimotes; however, the lack of analog sticks make them less than ideal.
While it is possible for you to use your PS3 Six axis controller with your Android device, the process requires rooting and quite a bit of legwork.
What are your favorite games to play with a traditional controller? Which gamepad is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.