Ion Audio's new iCade peripherals look really cool. I've been playing with the 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 gone (thanks Apple for completely ignoring the fact that iMame doesn't break any copyrights). Right now, only a handful of developers plus Atari (which their 99 per cent-crap arcade collection) support the button-based iCade. There are more than 100 games available, but only a few of them are really good. Like Super Mega Worm.
The important developers are not supporting it, which sucks big time. I wish SNK supported it. I wish EA supported it. I wish Namco supported in all their games, not just Pac-Man. I wish Tetris worked with it. And 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 a custom keyboard. You don't even need one to test it.
But I digress, these are the new three new peripherals, which connect to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch using Bluetooth connectivity. While UK pricing hasn't been announced yet, this is what we know:
• iCade Mobile turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a classic Gameboy-like device. It has eight buttons and a D-Pad.
• 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.
• iCade Jr. For around half the price, 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 for 69p each. [iCade Core, iCade Jr., iCade Mobile]