Review: CLIə Game Controller PEGA-GC10
By Ben Combee
October 3, 2002

When Sony introduced their clip-on keyboard for the CLIE, they also introduced a game controller, the PEGA-GC10. This controller snaps onto the T, NR, NX, SL, and SJ series CLIEs, connecting through the bottom accessory connector using a small pigtail connector.

CLIə Game Controller PEGA-GC10The gamepad is arranged a lot like a Playstation controller. On the right side, there is a four-button cross that's easy to press with your thumb. Each button has an arrow indention on it, and the buttons are tapered slightly towards the middle. On the left side, there are A and B buttons that are used during gameplay. They are set at an angle, similar to the Gameboy Advance. In the middle of the controller, there are four smaller buttons, labeled "Home", "Menu", "X", and "Y". Home usually takes you back to the launcher, while Menu acts like tapping the menu icon in the silkscreen area. X and Y aren't usually used by themselves, but act as shift keys -- holding either button lets you use the direction pad as to emulate the jog dial. X-up and X-down are scroll up/down, X-left is the back button, and X-right acts as a press of the jog-dial.

The game controller has a few other notable features. There is a hold switch on the front that will disable the button controls, allowing you to transport your device without waking it up. The serial connector has a button that loosens the connection when pressed, making it easy to remove. The sides of the pad hold the controller tightly to the CLIE device, but they use a high-friction but soft plastic surface that won't scratch your device. The game pad also comes with a drop-prevention strap that lets you connect the controller to the retaining point on the CLIE so you won't drop the device in case the controller becomes detached.

The controller comes with a CD that has a driver application, the game Columns from Sega, and a few shareware demos. While the CD is for Windows, all the applications are provided in PRC form, so they could be installed from a Macintosh or Linux box. Columns is really well done, with 320x320 high-res graphics. It uses the sound capability of the T and NR series devices to good effect, providing both background music and sound effects. The UI of the game is optimized for the gamepad, with every setting accessible through button presses.

The other games on the CD are trial versions of Zap! 2000/2016 (Astraware), Tetris Classic (Pocket Express), DaDa Formula Racing (Dazz), and Atom Smash (Red Mercury). Tetris has an Win32-only installer, but the others provide bare PRC files. The CD also has PDF versions of the controller and Columns manuals.

I tested the controller with a variety of games, and it worked very well for all the ones I tried. Columns shows off both the controller and device to good effect. Galax operated very well, as did Zap 2016!, Atom Smash, and SFCave.

The driver has controls to let you reassign keys to buttons, to enable/disable the game controller, and to enable "key emulation". I'm not exactly sure what that last option means, but the manual suggests changing this setting if a game won't work with the controller.

Finally, the game pad comes with its own carrying case, specially molded to hold the connector and the gamepad. There was enough room to also hold the attachment strap, if you want to use that.

While I'm mostly positive about it, I do have a few gripes. First, it will drain your battery faster than just using the buttons on the evice. My CLIE T615C went from 75% to 35% of its battery after about forty minutes of game play of Columns, with the screen at medium brightness and sound at medium. It looks like it is OK to leave the driver active. Second, the control panel really should have the ability to customize the controllers settings on a per-game basis. While most games allow you to adjust their controls to fit the game controller, there are a few that use a fixed scheme, and if you adjust your key settings to match that, you'll just have to go back and readjust them later. Finally, there is no way to adjust the function of the menu, home, X, or Y keys.

Is the controller worth $40? Considering the poor buttons on the T-series and the fact that it uses a connector that looks likely to be the Sony standard for the near future, I'd say yes, especially if you're an avid Palm OS game player. Columns is a good port that alone would be worth $15, the hardware is well constructed, and the software seems to work well. With its jog-dial emulation, the controller even works well for exiting your current game and finding another one to play, all without using the stylus.

Ben Combee is the lead developer of CodeWarrior for Palm OS and a big fan of the Palm OS platform. His personal site is

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LotSolarin @ 10/3/2002 2:07:33 PM #
After I destroyed my old Palm V through game-like button pushing, I became turned off of the whole concept...this would be nice! I'd highly consider it if the advent of OS5 brought us new and more entertaining games without performance problems.

What's up with this being below the old (albeit "lead") story? I'm still undecided about that, but I suppose it's not terrible. :)

Great review Ben -- thanks!

Palm_Otaku @ 10/3/2002 2:38:58 PM #
Your comments about perceived battery drain are very interesting -- is there anything the manual about this?

How would you compare the button "action and feel" with GameBoy Advance or with the PS2 DualShock controller? (well, aside from no vibration support - heh, imagine the battery drain then!)

More pictures would have been nice, particularly a profile view of the Clie with Game Controller attached - though it's probably quite similar to the PEGA-KB20 Mini Keyboard as seen in an earlier PIC review :)

Nit-picks aside, GREAT review!



RE: Great review Ben -- thanks!
bcombee @ 10/3/2002 7:44:02 PM #
Thanks... I didn't submit any pictures with the review, I think Ryan got that from the Sony Style site, but I'll be glad to take some later and submit them.

The button feel is good. Its not as good as the DualShock 2 controller, but I like it a lot more than the Gameboy Advance. One thing I didn't note: with my big hands, I found them feeling a little cramped after my 40-minute Columns session. It made me really appreciate the hand supports that full-size controllers have.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at

RE: Great review Ben -- thanks!
hotpaw4 @ 10/4/2002 1:37:54 PM #
> Your comments about perceived battery drain are very interesting -- is there anything the manual about this?

Anything that requires leaving the serial port open will affect battery life. The line drivers, rate counters and CPU interrupt routines will all draw a little more current.

Columns? DaDa Racing?

macfixer @ 10/3/2002 3:04:55 PM #
Are either of these available to non-Sony folks? I'd love to have Columns on my m515!


RE: Columns? DaDa Racing?
bcombee @ 10/3/2002 7:56:04 PM #
DaDa Racing can be downloaded from PalmGear at

BTW, a little warning: Columns and its associated database are over 1MB in size. I didn't notice this yesterday. When I synced it to my Visor Prism, it would not run on the device, giving an error message on load, so I assume it needs at least the CLIE's hi-res support to execute.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at

RE: Columns? DaDa Racing?
Strider_mt2k @ 10/4/2002 6:49:05 AM #
Or maybe a sony_Palm bridge of some kind?

Your other left.

stickboy @ 10/3/2002 5:14:23 PM #
"On the right side, there is a four-button cross .... On the left side, there are A and B buttons that are used during gameplay."

Don't you have that backwards?

RE: Your other left.
bcombee @ 10/3/2002 7:52:40 PM #
I meant stage right... Yes, I have the sides of the controller reversed.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at

Can you easily press multiple buttons together?

RSC @ 10/3/2002 5:21:28 PM #
How easily can you press two buttons with one thumb(e.g. left and up at the same time to move diagonally)? I think a 8-way d-pad (even if it converts to combinations of four individual buttons) would be nicer for gaming.

RE: Can you easily press multiple buttons together?
bcombee @ 10/3/2002 7:48:04 PM #
I just tried this, and diagonal directions worked just fine.. All four of the D-pad buttons are physically one chunk of plastic, and the spacing makes it easy to go diagonally as well as in one of the four cardinal directions. You can even press all four buttons together, which might be an interesting move in a fighting game.

Pressing both A and B together with one thumb can be done, if your thumb is fairly large, but it probably wouldn't even happen by accident.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at

Numerical ratings?

ardee @ 10/3/2002 5:37:53 PM #
Has PIC dispensed with the numerical rating system is used for so long?

RE: Numerical ratings?
bcombee @ 10/3/2002 7:47:24 PM #
I submitted this as an unsolicited review, and neglected to give a number... on a scale of 1 to 5, I'd give it a solid 4.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at
RE: Numerical ratings?
ardee @ 10/4/2002 12:36:32 PM #
The old PIC had several categories in which to rate each item. On a scale of 1 to 5 by halves, every review featured a rating in each of these 4 categories:





I thought this was a good system and I hope it is continued despite the new look and Ed's leaving.

News Reversed?

msmasitti @ 10/3/2002 7:42:43 PM #
Although this was posted on Oct 3rd, and the CLIE one on Oct 2nd... why is this one not at the top? Is there a bug Ryan?

O/T Mod
RE: News Reversed?
bcombee @ 10/3/2002 8:17:34 PM #
In Ryan's "State of Palm InfoCenter" article, he stated

"We will now list our most notable news article, denoted by the blue "Lead story" text, first at the top of the homepage. New articles will be listed directly below the lead story ordered by date."

So, while this review was the newest story, the new Sony devices is still considered the lead item.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at

RE: News Reversed?
msmasitti @ 10/3/2002 9:22:05 PM #
Ahh, thanks. I didn't see that.

O/T Mod
RE: News Reversed?
msmasitti @ 10/3/2002 9:47:41 PM #
Also, nice job on the review! My manners are slacking... :)

O/T Mod
RE: News Reversed?
smyles @ 10/4/2002 3:49:43 AM #
Ah.. that explains it. I have a habbit of loading the site quickly while at work, looking at the top article and if it hasn't changed, closing the browser and moving on.

The lead story is old news now, but I'll just have to scan the first page now for updates. Other than that, love the site refresh Ryan, very clean design.


new site... changes

cp31 @ 10/3/2002 9:40:55 PM #
i like how there were numerical ratings too, and they were for different things. also, more pics please

Sony's gaming plans

Kaptain Korolev @ 10/4/2002 10:51:15 AM #
What i find interesting out Sony's attitude to it's Palm OS products is the way it has embraced multimedia and added to Palm OS with it's own extras, hi-res etc.
Although game controllers for Palm devices are nothing new they were usually third party add on products. Palm et all prefered to market their devices with PDA functionality first. The processors, OS and hardware weren't really suited to gaming, OS5 and the new wave of faster processors makes much more of an option.

At the moment Nintendo is the only real player in the handheld gaming market, perhaps Sony wants a piece. Admittedly no one is just going to buy a PDA for games but OS5 might provide a useful gaming platform for a dedicated device.

Or maybe I'm talking rubbish.......

RE: Sony's gaming plans
c_blue @ 10/4/2002 12:45:40 PM #
But I don't see myself adding a game controller to a NX-70V it will be just too big. my 0.02


RE: Sony's gaming plans
travishill @ 10/4/2002 1:31:14 PM #
Honestly, the d-pad, built-in bluetooth, and standard expansion is why I'm eyeing the Tungsten from Palm very closely.

I'm concerned that the Tungsten TI ARM chip might be completely left in the dust by the Intel chip used in the Sony- but if it is not, that's probably the device I'll end up with.

The game controller might be excellent, but it isn't much good to me if it won't fit in my pocket with the PDA. I can't control when I get the urge to play a game. :)

How does it fit on the NR/NX?

pgovotsos @ 10/4/2002 1:43:47 PM #
All the pictures I've seen show the controller on a tablet style Clie like the SJs. I was wondering how it attaches to the NR70 and NX70/60?

Can it only be used in tablet mode or can it attach below the keyboard in clamshell mode? That would be useful for games that run in 430x480 like Bump Atack.

I'm assuming it won't work this way (after the NX series, I've given up on Sony working the way I want / hope), but I'm still hoping.

Thanks for all the great info Ed & Ben.

RE: How does it fit on the NR/NX?
bcombee @ 10/4/2002 2:06:50 PM #
The instructions say that to connect to the NR/NX, you put the device in tablet mode with the screen out and the device closed. The game pad is designed to fit over the graffiti area, so this wouldn't work well for HiRes+ games.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at
RE: How does it fit on the NR/NX?
yada-yada @ 10/4/2002 6:10:10 PM #
You can attach the game controller below the keyboard in clamshell mode. That's how I'm able to play BumpAttack w/ the controller on my NR70V

Time for Super Nintendo Emulation

Electron @ 10/5/2002 2:30:16 AM #
Alright, we have our Liberty Game Boy emu, isn't it time we move on to Super Nintendo?

We have all that we need:
200MHZ Processor
Hi Res (SNES only uses 320x240 in its lowest resolution)
The Controller
The File System (Similar to Liberty's method of ROM conversion)

Who wants to take a crack at it? (Please?)

RE: Time for Super Nintendo Emulation
bcombee @ 10/5/2002 4:06:26 PM #
Actually, I think NES emulation could do well on the ARM-based devices, but I'd be worried about trying for the Super NES because we really don't have an adequate controller for it yet. If you remember, the SNES had a D-pad, four action buttons arranged in a cross, a start and select button, and two shoulder buttons. The Sega Genesis might be possible too -- their standard controller had three action buttons and a start button, but the six-button controller would be out. I'd also think that Turbo-Graphx 16 might be doable, as its control scheme was similar to the NES's.

There's plenty of free emulator code out there... we'll just have to see whether the ARMlet architecture on OS 5 will really let you do the kind of porting and debugging you need to get them moved into Palm OS.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at



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