Brass Monkey Turns a Smartphone into Wireless Game Controller

Start-up Brass Monkey is having a good year. Two games have now been released that use its technology to turn an iPhone/iPod Touch or Android phone into a game controller over any WiFi network. Plus, this week it was selected as a finalist in the Best Customer Engagement Driver category at the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange's MITX Innovation Awards. The winner will be announced June 16.

With Brass Monkey, a PC game is turned into a console-like game similar to a Wii or Xbox Kinect and controlled with a smartphone. Right now Brass Monkey has software development kits for iOS, Android, Unity 3D and Adobe Flash. The company is working on versions for Windows Phone 7 and HTML5.

Brass Monkey has been earning oohs-and-ahs over its technology for a few months now. The first game to use Brass Monkey was Star Wars Trench Run ($2.99 in iTunes), which was on display at CES. But since then, more Brass Monkey games have come to market, or are just about to. These include Smuggle Truck from Owlchemy Labs, and a prototype of new multiplayer cross platform game called Rival Racers. Plus, the company says it will also soon take the wraps off an early version of its next-generation "Seriously Fun Controller."

Interestingly, Brass Monkey sees applications for its wares beyond PC gaming and into kiosks, Internet Billboards or other forms of marketing. Indeed, the Suzuki Kizashi Ring of Fire Game is already one example. This was part game, part marketing ploy. The game was free. Difficulty increased with each track and registered users earned points that eventually lead to prizes, the grand prize being a trip to racing school. The initial contest ended in January, but Suzuki says another one may arise in 2011. In the meantime, Suzuki is still showing off the game at car shows and the like.

Brass Monkey is reportedly still looking for a big venture fund investment. The concept is cool, the early games interesting, so we hope to hear more about this young company in the years to come.