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The Rad iCade Mobile, iCade for iPhone and iCade Core Just Need Rad Games

Illustration for article titled The Rad iCade Mobile, iCade for iPhone and iCade Core Just Need Rad Games

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.

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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.

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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.

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• 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.

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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]

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DISCUSSION

I think the problem with MAME had nothing to do with Copyright. It has to do with the fact that one of the App Store's restrictions is that a program can't execute arbitrary code; in other words, you can't put up a compiler, interpreter, or virtual machine on the App Store.

Remember the Commodore 64 emulator? It was "legal" as long as it didn't have a way to get in to the BASIC interpreter.

MAME would probably have been allowed if it had come with a few packaged ROM's, all of which had cleared Copyrights. But that's not likely to happen, with our current broken Copryight system as it applies to abandonware.