Ion Audio's new iCade peripherals are really cool. I've been playing with their original iCade for months now and it's great in every sense except the game support. Until the awesome iMame retro arcade emulator came along, most of the games sucked.
But iMame and all its retro glory are now gone (thanks Apple for completely ignoring the fact that iMame doesn't break any copyrights). Right now, only a handful of developers plus Atari—with their 99%-crap arcade collection—support the iCade. There are more than 100 games available for it, but only a few of them are really good. Like Super Mega Worm.
The important developers—or the cool independent ones—are not supporting it, which sucks big time.
I wish SNK supported it. I wish EA supported it. I wish Namco supported it in all their games, not just Pac-Man. I wish Tetris worked with it. I really want Tetris on arcade hardware. Please. Classic mode too, with dancing Russian.
While I can understand that some pure touch-based games are out of the iCade equation, the arcade games are all in. All those that use on-screen joystick and buttons should support the iCade right off the bat. There's really no excuse for it: the iCade is really just a neat custom keyboard. You don't even need one to test your game with it. Use a bloody Bluetooth keyboard.
But I digress out of frustration, these are their new three new peripherals, which connect to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch using Bluetooth connectivity:
• iCade Mobile turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a classic Gameboy-like device. It has eight buttons and a D-Pad. It costs $80.
• iCade Core is like the classic iCade without the arcade cabinet. Made for iPad, with a high quality ball joystick and eight big honking buttons. It also serves as cradle for the iPad, with a passthrough for your iPad dock cable. It also goes for $80.
• iCade Jr. For $49, this iCade mini-me for iPhone and iPod touch would have been perfect for the holidays. It comes with four buttons on the front and four on the rear panel.
All this stuff is coming on the spring. I wish Ion Audio released the iMame port as a game with a built-in store, then work out licensing for ROMs so everyone can enjoy Burgertime and Galaga of $0.99 each. [iCade Core, iCade Jr., iCade Mobile]