Posts Tagged iCade Mobile
Price: $69.99 MSRP
Hardware Tested On: iPod touch 4
Re-use Value Rating:
One of the new iCade models that ION Audio is putting out is the iPhone and iPod touch version of the iCade, the iCade Mobile. The controller repurposes the iCade’s joystick into a d-pad, the left 4 buttons into face buttons, and the right 4 buttons into shoulder buttons. The controller is overall about as wide as the iPad’s screen without the bezel. It fits both the iPhone and iPod touch, though it isn’t wide enough to fit even a thin case. All device keys and buttons (except for the home button) become inaccessible due to the hardware design. The holder can be spun around to be viewable in both landscape and portrait though.
The important thing to understand is that the iCade Mobile is technically the same as the iCade, so developers do not need to add specific support for their games to make the iCade Mobile work. Two issues that pop up though are that first, some games do not have iCade enabled on the iPhone side despite supporting it on the iPad, such as Super Crate Box.
Second, games that have chosen non-protocol uses for the buttons have odd control schemes on the iCade Mobile. For example, Mystery of the Japanese Werewolf, a fun platformer that has iCade support, has controls configured for the original iCade where the right 6 buttons alternate between jump and attack, and the red buttons on the left column are pause. On the iCade Mobile, this means that the bottom and left buttons are pause, and the top and right face buttons are jump and attack respectively. These issues are ones that will need to be addressed by developers via simple configuration tweaks.
The iCade Mobile succeeds not in that it makes the iPhone into an arcade machine, but that it makes it into a capable handheld system. It feels like now I’m playing some lost Game Boy Advance games, especially in landscape mode. The d-pad and buttons work very well for platforming and action games, especially the kinds of retro games that beg for controllers. While it’s a wide controller, it’s still ergonomic. The controller handily still turns off after a few minutes of inactivity, and it actually has a dedicated on/off switch.
The inaccessible hardware buttons would be a problem solved by the addition of Bluetooth system keys like the ones on Bluetooth keyboards. This would make it possible to adjust volume, and call up the soft keyboard. The latter functionality would be perfect for downloading more iCade-compatible games.
That’s the great thing about the iCade: it’s become the de facto standard for external controllers with a wide array of support. There are more games coming on a regular basis with iCade compatibility. Heck, this could even be used as a controller for an iPad. This is definitely the iOS external controller to get.
It is that magic time of the year where electronics manufacturers trot out their prize show ponies at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. Aside from being the first big trade show of the year, it is also used as an opportunity for companies to debut their new products. After the standout success of ION Audio’s iCade, at last year’s show, it only seemed like a matter of time before we were treated to their next innovative takes on the peripheral.
Today they were proud to announce that they have not one, but THREE new additions to the iCade line, two of which are aimed at making better use of your more portable iOS devices. Here is the full rundown of what you can expect to see in 2012:
If it wasn’t obvious from simply eyeballing it, this is a miniaturized version of the original iCade cabinet that started it all. Featuring a fully articulated joystick, the device also has four front facing buttons as well as four that are around the back of the cabinet’s assembly. Why exactly are there four buttons around back? Who knows, but you can bet that the first person to figure it out could stand to make quite a bit of money from the App Store. Meant to nestle a iPod Touch or iPhone inside, this is perfect for the arcade junkie on the go.
Just in case you couldn’t tell from the image above, this next re-envisioning of the iCade brand retrofits an iPhone or iPod Touch into something that more resembles the form factor of Sony’s early iterations on the PlayStation Portable. What it lacks in joystick it makes up for in a D-pad, which could be either a really good or really bad thing, depending upon the quality of the materials used to construct the device. Based purely upon the image above there also appears to be some sort of ergonomic hand grips behind the molding of the chassis, which should hopefully ease the wrist strain that has previously been associated with gaming on the smaller iOS hardware.
Remember everything that you liked about the iCade? Well what if we told you that you could have the same functionality, without having to haul around that gigantic cabinet everywhere? The iCade Core will attempt to do this by removing the exterior case assembly and focus on keeping the form factor to a minimum. Simply put, all of the core mechanical pieces of the previous monolith have been shrunk down to fit into a glorified joysick arcade pad. In the back of the station is a grove and docking station where gamers can securely dock their iPad and get back adventuring down retro gaming memory lane.
These all look like great additions to the already outstanding iCade family. What could be coming next an even smaller model for your iPod Nano? We sure hope not, but only time will tell…