iCade Sanwa mod

I followed my glass eye’s iCade Sanwa mod guide and modded my iCade. The experience was almost seemless; finding a high street store that knew what a dremel was was a challenge however. I inquired at Halfords at one point and after explaining to the staff member that I wanted it to “modify a joystick” he helpfully replied “well, we stock car parts, we’re not a joystick parts store”. Thanks; my bad… I should’ve gone to my local arcade parts store next to McDonalds. You can find them almost everywhere!

The dremel tool I bought from Halfords kinda did the job in widening the holes for the buttons and the joystick (use goggles and a mask as bits of plastic get everywhere). I think the mod might’ve broken it though as the sanding tool I used subsequently doesn’t screw properly at the top. I could’ve used sandpaper I guess but didn’t fancy spending hours on it and I also hadn’t used a dremel before. I also bought a “terminal connector block” from Halfords after initially buying a “terminal block strip” from Wickes. I have little-to-no electrical experience (and neither did the guy I asked in Wickes seemingly) but it turned out that both would probably be equivalent to the “screw terminal” mentioned in my glass eye’s tutorial.

I ordered all joystick parts from Gremlin Solutions but was almost caught out by the Sanwa stick not including any of the small hexagonal screws that enable the joystick to be screwed to the iCade’s body. I had to disassemble the stock joystick that came with the iCade to retrieve those screws; if I hadn’t then the joystick wouldn’t have been securely attached to the iCade’s body and the mod would’ve failed.

The only other slightly tricky element were the two Torx security screws (pin-in-hex-socket) that came on my iCade (some iCade’s seemingly don’t feature these); this required a special trip to Maplin to buy the cheapest screwdriver set I could find with the correct head to unscrew the security screws.

In summary; a mod that was slightly trickier than the previous mod I’d attempted but I’m very happy with the end result which looks and plays amazing I feel.

Items used:

Limited set of photos of the iCade Sanwa mod viewable on Flickr.

Guides followed to achieve the mod: my glass eye’s “how to customise your iCade stick and buttons” tutorial and the “iCade button customisation” thread on Touch Arcade.

iCade modded with Sanwa parts

iCade SDK

When I first saw the iCade I immediately wanted one but then wondered what games might be compatible with the setup. Apple haven’t made it easy so far to link in external controls to the iPad and despite the way the games industry has fallen over themselves to offer touchscreen offering over the past few years I’ll always prefer using a traditional joystick/joypad. So imagine my delight when I read that the makers of iCade are offering to share their SDK, for free, with interested developers!

The second a major retro game is released with iCade support I’m likely to order one. Games like WWF Wrestlefest, Double Dragon, Street Fighter II, R-Type (to name a few) are all crying out for a good port with decent controls, so I’m praying the Capcom’s/Namco’s/Irem’s of this world are watching and listening.