When A Thumb Gets In An iPhone Gamer's Way, More or Less

Yesterday Kotaku reported about the latest attempt to give players joystick control of a character in an iPhone game, without blocking too much of the screen. Today, check out five videos that show five approaches to dealing with the problem.

Assassin's Creed II Discovery's Two-Directional Slider

Dungeon Hunter's Virtual Analog Stick

Zenonia's Virtual D-Pad

Mega Man II's Virtual D-Pad/Arcade-Stick Combo

Soosiz's Virtual Direction Buttons

All of the control options shown above suffer from the lack of tactile feedback of having a real control stick or pad under the player's thumb. But, as you can see, they don't all force the player's thumb to cover the same amount of screen space.

Dungeon Hunter's analog stick sent my thumb across the most screen real estate. Soosiz used the least. But Dungeon Hunter allowed more control of the character in more directions, Soosiz's less. It's a trade-off, with the Assassin's Creed II 2D slider offering an interesting mix of limited coverage of the screen with several degrees of pseudo-analog control.

Who's got a favorite?