iCade Controllers

iCade Controllers

Android users have always been able to use bluetooth controllers on their devices, however before iOS 7, Apple users only had one choice:  iCade controllers.  The people who designed the iCade protocol, made it compatible with any device that can utilize a USB keyboard, provided the app developers added iCade support.  Allow me to explain:

When you press and release a button on an iCade-compatible device, it sends two keyboard presses to the device you’re connected to. For example, if you press and hold the right arrow on the D-pad, it sends a single that says you pressed the “D” key on your keyboard once (it doesn’t hold down “D”, it just sends it as one button press). Then, when you release the right arrow, it sends another signal that says you just pressed the “C” key. As a result, there’s a slight lag, but nothing unbearable. Also, that means iCade controllers won’t work unless someone specifically adds support for those mappings. One downside of this is you can’t use iCade controllers with a PC or Mac, unless someone writes a specific program to interpret the commands.

Click on each for a mini-review and a description of why each are good (or bad) choices: 


Turn your tablet into a mini-arcade machine.

iCade 8-bitty

I use this the least, but it’s very cool and has a great D-pad.

iCade Mobile

This works well, but the iPhone 5 & up (as well as the comparable iTouch’s) are too tall to fit inside


The NES30 controller feels very similar to the original NES controller and is compatible with many systems, including iCade.


The SNES30 is functionally the same as the NES30, but with the look and feel of an original Super Nintendo controller.


Transform your smartphone into a true mobile gaming machine, like a Game Boy or PSP

ipega PG-9017

This is a Gametel clone that isn’t very good.  Maybe someday they’ll fix it with a firmware update?

iCade-Compatible Mobile Games
Here is a full list of mobile games compatible with the iCade-compliant controllers:

The above list should be complete, but I wanted to share some of my favorites. I won’t be adding any new games, as there are plenty of game-review websites already available. I just wanted to point these out, as retro-gaming enthusiasts will most likely enjoy them:

Blutrol – This is not a game, but an app for jailbroken iOS devices. It’s a bit tricky to set up, but once you do, you can use an iCade-compatible device with any iOS game that has on-screen buttons. I used this program to make Sonic 4 compatible with the Gametel and it played perfect! It’s a paid app, but well worth it. Search for it in Cydia!

League of Evil / League of Evil 2 / League of Evil 3 – A “Mega Man-style” game with short, but complicated levels…great for playing on the go!  They have a free version if you’d like to try it out before buying, but the full version is only a few dollars. LOE 2 & 3 is only available for iOS, but the original is also available on Android.

Swordigo – A side-scrolling adventure game that’s a great choice for fans of Metroid, Castlevania and other adventure classics. It’s only available for iOS and it costs $2. It goes free from time to time, but it’s usually a paid app.

As I said above, there are many more iCade compatible games available, but I just wanted to list a few examples of my favories.


If you’re done, feel free to go back to the iOS / Android page for more info on retro-mobile gaming. Also, please check out the main page for everything else this site has to offer.