iMame iCade iLove

O.k so where did yesterday afternoon go? I started playing around with iMame and my iCade one minute, i look up and it’s dark outside!

It’s such a shame that Apple decided to pull iMame from the app store, but i guess you can understand why they did. It’s just a shame that more of these classic games aren’t released for purchase to feed our retro gaming needs. Yes i’m happy to play a new Sonic game but i want to play the original untouched versions. Atari greatest hits was a step in the right direction despite a few dodgy 2600 titles but surely if someone like Sega, Taito, and Capcom came along with a pack for ios that contains some of their classic titles complete (with iCade support of course)they’d make a mint.

Retro gamers are hungry for them and it’s no wonder that iMame was snapped up so quickly by everyone and news of it’s release spread so quickly on the web. Hoping you was one of the lucky ones that managed to get it.

My iPad and iCade setup ready to play.


After transferring a few files via iExplorer.

All of the familiar MAME options are available including screen orientation and graphics options, filtered lists (type, year, clones etc) control sets allowing you to restrict joystick movement for those classic two and four way games as well as setting deadzone and joystick sensitivity.

Control of the games menu is via joystick up/down with left/right quickly scrolling to the first title per alphabet letter.

The usual in game MAME menu’s are available too by pressing the coin and start button together. From here you can play around with the dip switch settings and fine tune your controls for that particular game.


Emulation of the iPad2 is absolutely spot on with no slow down on anything i’ve played so far including some of the later titles like Street Fighter II and The Simpsons. iMame supports an older rom set so later titles like Tekken aren’t possible. However, it still supports well over 2000 roms and all the old favourites are here.

Taking on the mothership from Phoenix is good test of the buttons. They’re very responsive but have quite a lot of travel before the microswitch makes contact. I prefer mine to be a little more sensitive and so I’ll be looking at changing these a bit later on.

Bluetooth connection is spot on and i’ve not once experienced a button press or control movement that’s been missed. I think i’ve mentioned before how loud the microswitches are and although perfectly acceptable, gaming could be vastly improved via cherry microswitches or the new leaf switch switches i’m currently investigating.



One of the best bits about the iPad is it’s auto orientation which means you can switch between arcade games originally played out on vertical or horizontally mounted monitors. Of course, you can play horizontal games in portrait mode if you wish and iMame will scale the screen size accordingly.

Scramble in it’s native vertical mode.


Flipping to horizontal mode for a couple of Sega classics.



Games that require analogue controls are best played directly on the iPad using the virtual (analogue) joystick – games like, Star Wars and Missile Command spring to mind. I was quite surprised though on how well Outrun, Thunderblade, Afterburner and Space Harrier played with the iCade stick therefore it’s worthwhile checking out both methods to see which you’d refer.

Tweaked in the MAME menu, Star Wars analogue controls can be mapped perfectly. Flipping the Y axis really helped.


A-ha, that’s what happened to my afternoon – TNMT!


Even without iMame, the iCade still a great device and support for ios games is on the increase. Without iMame i was tempted not to bother with it but as the price of the iCade is on the way down and games like the retro pixel blaster Velocispider and Space Immersion playing very well on the iCade it’s might be worth giving it a look.

I think i’ll take my setup down to the next RCM meet and see what the other fella’s think.


14 responses to “iMame iCade iLove

  1. I’m anxious to see what you do about the buttons. While I’m getting used to their higher action and loudness, I would also prefer a quicker, easier press. I have no experience building a game cabinet, therefore I you change out your buttons, I hope you will post the process that you followed. Thanks!

  2. Hey Chad, thanks for the comments. Yes they are noisy aren’t they! I’ve ordered some of the new ‘almost silent’ and adjustable sensitivity leaf- switch switches(which have been fitted into a standard microswitch case/format for easy swap out) from the US, but whilst i await delivery I’m going to swap out the two most used buttons (the right hand white A & B) buttons with a couple of Cherry Microswitches i have spare that are left over from my Mame cabinet build. The cherry switches do click but are nowhere near as loud as the original iCades. I’m hoping to swap these out this weekend and am planning to post swapout pictures and a video which should show the difference in noise with the cherry switches – i’ll repeat this video when I fit the leaf switches too. Check back at the weekend and this post should be up.

    At the moment, i’m only wanting to swap out the fire buttons but i might change the joystick switched at some stage…although they don’t seem to be as loud as the buttons.

    Hope you’re enjoying your iCade!



  3. HI Stiggy,hope you can help.
    I have jailbroke my Ipad IOS6 Ipad 3 and can not get I mame controls to work with my Icade? the Icade works fine with other Emulators however I have not been able to get it to work with both Mame and reloaded Mame downloaded from Cydia?
    Any ideas its driving me mad!!!
    Many thanks

  4. Hey Nicky, you’ve caught me at work at the moment so will be able to answer your questions later on this evening. Incidentally can you get into the Mame set up menu (the emulator menu not the Mame app menu), in other words where you would define the joystick controls?

  5. Hi StiGGy thanks for the swift reply.
    Hmm not sure as all a little new to this however will try to explain and please feel free to point out the obvious to me πŸ˜‰ as I probably will miss something!

    Can load the app no probs shows all my roms in it if i press the options button next to the start/coin button etc it comes up with the normal options screen? not sure if this is what you mean or is it something else I should be doing?

    Many thanks

  6. No worries, think I know what your problem is.

    Firstly, with Mame loaded and with the list of Roms on screen, can you use your iCade to move the game list up and down and select a game?

    If not, check your iCade is connected ok via Bluetooth on you iPad. I’m guessing it as as your using it ok with other emulators.

    Also check in the Mame menu that iCade is selected as the controller type.

    If that’s all set and it still doesnt work, come back to me.

    If it is working but you can’t get the controls to work in a game, then there’s another Mame emulator menu that you need to open to map the various controls. It could be that the default control set on the latest version of Mame has slightly changed.

    Off the top of my head I can’t remember how to get into the menu but I think, with a game loaded, press the start and coin button together (might be the top far left and bottom far right buttons on you iCade.

  7. Hi StiGGy

    Top man for your help.

    The Icade is conencted bluetooth and the “coin light” is lit to indicate this

    The game list wont move with the Icade stick and non of the buttons do anything upon pressing, and in the menu it is selected as Icade.

    Hope this helps!

    Cheers my friend

  8. Incidentally, go to the apple app store and download the game called gridlee (free). This uses a port of Mame to so we can use this test as well.

    Let me know if your iCade works with this, or not.

  9. HI StiGGy
    sorry never made to my machine last night! all work and no play!!!

    Loaded Gridlee and hey presto Icade works fine with loaded roms πŸ˜‰

    Think also that by using blutrol from cydia works(although Ive not tried that but got an email to say it works!)

    Some Roms dont seem to work Dinasours and cadilacs! however will try to obtain another rom and let you know

    Cheers for all your help sir πŸ˜‰

  10. Nice one, I can only assume that the config has slightly changed in the latest build? Should be trying it myself this weekend after applying the JB.



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