With iPad And iCade Combined, A Classic Game Console Is Reborn

Rantmedia games and ION have given me back a substantial portion of my childhood — the early days when I could be found sitting in front of an odd black box playing simple vector-based games with a controller connected via coiled telephone cord. So the controller isn't corded this time around. Between the Vectrex Regeneration app and ION's iPad arcade cabinet, I'm 11-years-old all over again.

As I mentioned in my initial post about Rantmedia's mobile rejuvenation effort, I lost my Vectrex to a game of Russian Roulette. Every game, every coloured plastic overlay gone in a tragic flash of teenage stupidity.

I've pondered purchasing the console on eBay, hunting down all of the games and then constructing a shrine. Perhaps one day I will. Until then, the combination of the iPad app and the iCade will do quite nicely.

Vectrex Regeneration, a free app available now on iTunes, features nearly every game made for the original system (Minestorm is free, a mega pack containing everything else is $US6.99), as well as several fan creations that weren't. The system is emulated perfectly; even the hot spots where the vector lines meet are intact. You can even turn the coloured overlays off to simulate an irresponsible original Vectrex owner.

The app also features a collection of original commercials for the doomed system, full of promise never realised. It's a lovely tribute.

The iCade Bluetooth arcade controller, reviewed by Mr Brian Crecente last year, is a sexy little bit of retro goodness, built on technology that's catching on among iOS developers. It's amazingly solid for its size. The buttons are loud and the stick a bit stiff, but that's nothing that won't work itself out over time. ThinkGeek has the iCade on sale right now for $US69.99 ($79.99 for shop-exclusive retro side art). Even at the regular price of $US99 it comes highly recommended.

Put the two together and what do you get? A beautiful harmony that instantly transports me 18 years into the past.


    I had a friend that had a Vectrex AND an Atari 2600.

    I had a BBC Micro.

      I had a BBC too! Grew up in middle of Vic and noone else had one. No one to swap games with! Everyone else had C64's!!
      have you played the elite version on iphone? Presume that you did play elite if you had a beeb!

    Had the iCade, sold it - Was excellent with iMame (JB rqd)

    Biggest thing missing for me was side buttons for all the pinball apps I've purchased. having said that, putting the iPad (now my iPad mini) in the box every time gave me the sh|ts - I recently got the iCade 8 bitty controller (http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/ecea/?pfm=homepage_Featured_6_ecea) which is excellent, but might go for the easier to use 'slot-in' model (http://shop.myer.com.au/shop/mystore/xmas-gifts-for-him-gadget-guru/ion-icade-icore-132700060 ) which is compatible with Android tablets/devices as well.


    So many School Holidays spent playing 'Minestorm. I think the highest I got was somewhere around level 36. It had everything in it at once, the stars, the crosses that follow you, the diamonds that shoot back at you. Ahh, good times!

    Last edited 14/12/12 10:55 am

    can you use this to play street fighter? :D

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