Remember when game consoles took a second place seat to going to the arcades? I won’t say that I miss losing the quarters, but there’s a certain thrill to standing in front of a screen and gripping a joystick with everything on the line. One that can’t be matched by tapping a touch-screen, no how. That’s why I was so excited to try out the new iCade, an arcade ‘controller’ for iPads.
Once my little beauty of an arcade cabinet was built and complete (see above, a non issue), I raised the lid (which has the info for pairing with Bluetooth concealed inside), put my iPad on the front shelf, closed the lid and voila –there’s the arcade “TV screen.” The last thing I had to do was enable the Bluetooth between my iPad and the controls. The “coin slot” even flashed to let you know it’s ready and waiting, which I was.
I already loaded in the iPad’s Atari Greatest Hits app. iCADE includes a sheet that explains what button does what, like in Centipede or Lunar Lander, but let’s go already. I put in my virtual coin, tap the app’s icon, and up comes Missile Command. Using the joystick and buttons is just as I remembered it and much, much better than tapping a screen (especially once I got that sensitivity setting to medium).
What about other games? They could work, and on their website ION is encouraging developers and lists a few folks who have games that do so. I also tried some random testing and got iCADE sync up… sort of (Intellivision, I’m looking at you). So I’m hoping more game developers get with the program. In the meantime, how about an Atari part 2?
For now, I’m digging the full-sized controls and retro graphics which really make me feel like I’m still getting high scores in those sweaty arcades.