Posted by Kyle Moore on Sep 22, 2011

TGS 2011: Mobile Peripherals Hands On

I’d consider myself to be a bit of a mobile gamer. Owning an iPhone and iPad (it’s semi mobile, right?) I’ve become rather accustomed to a lack of tactile controls, which I must say can be a little sad. At this years Tokyo Game Show, there was a wide variety of mobile games, many of which are very much the same as games I’d played before. Rather than delve into a bunch of hands on for various titles that offered nothing particularly innovative in terms of controls, I’d rather share my unique mobile gaming experiences. Experiences made unique by the use of mobile peripherals.

I have always had a soft spot for retro space shooters ala Galaga and Space Invaders. That’s exactly what I found at Tokyo Game Show. There was a few Space Invader games on mobile devices, but the one worth mentioning is an iPad version that was housed in a small arcade cabinet. While the joystick might have been a little small, the idea of having my own little arcade in my own home seems really appealing to me. The game played the same as it would without the aid of peripherals, but it did add a little something special to the game. I was so taken by this I looked through
out the streets of Akihabara for the next week looking for iPad joysticks. I was successful in the end, but it’s not the same as playing on a tiny little cabinet. Just check out those side graphics, a feature lacking very much from downloadable games – the ever important first contact between player and game – the boxart or side cabinet art.

I must add, I actually spotted this peripheral in a toy store on my very last day in Tokyo, and I lament not purchasing it. Sadly I had no room in my luggage at all. But I’ll always have my memories of playing it at Tokyo Game Show. At least until dementia sets in. The peripheral is known as the AppBlaster, and as you can probably tell by the photos, is a plastic gun that uses the iPhone as a gun sight. The gun itself is made by AppLism, while the game I played, Ghost Catcher, is made by Hangame. This game has you firing energy at ghosts in order to catch them. While I am pretty familiar with augmented reality titles like this, I have never experienced them using a peripheral before and really enjoyed the extra projection of narrative the device added to the game experience as a whole. The game itself was graphically interesting, and simple to play, but what really made the whole experience was the ability to connect the gun to game and take fire.

I for one am a fan of including play outside of the confines of the mobile screen, and wouldn’t mind playing more games that involve such peripherals. For more iPhone add ones visit the AppLism site and for a little more information about iPad arcade cabinets check out our article about the Nerdy Niche: Think Geek.

Click here for our full coverage of Tokyo Game Show 2011

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Nerdy Niches – ThinkGeek
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  • Cellophane Girl

    Ah that gun think looks cool!

    As far as the arcade cabinet peripheral goes, if I ever get an ipad (HAH FAT CHANCE!) I would love to get the iCade from thinkgeek. Having a mini arcade cabinet would be sooo cool!

    If my husfriend ever finishes building his full sized arcade cabinet I’ll see if he thinks he can make a small version for me. Oh running MAME on that and playing anything I want would be SWEET!

    • Kyle Moore

      It was pretty sweet. A quick Google and I found it for 50 bucks!

      http://www.apptoyz.com.au/products/Apptoyz-AppBlaster.html

      http://hartandheim.com.au/product_info.php/products_id/964

      I am not sure how many games actually work on it though. But Still. It’s almost more expensive than I saw it for in Japan by 10AU dollars. But still. I might invest!

      Yeah the iCade is amazing!
      I Googled again mid comment returning and found this! haha

      http://www.techi.com/2010/06/icade-part-iii-adventures-in-homebrew/

      Now you can build your own :D

      • Cellophane Girl

        DUDE! YOU ROCK!
        I’m saving that link, because I know as long as he has instructions my husfriend can build it (well the housing for it, the wiring is done by a friend that is an electrical engineer). Well I guess really all he has to do is look at it and he could make it, it’s just a mini version of an arcade machine and he’s already built one of those…(mostly, he needs to repaint it before it’s done)
        But I’d want mine made out of wood and not cardboard hehe.

        Now, I just need to win myself an iPad. (I’ve been trying for over a year and no luck, but I did win my iPod Touch so there is hope I guess).

        Actually if I could get a decent tablet PC I could maybe put MAME on it. That would be even better.

        EEEE! I’m so excited now! Which is why I can’t stop talking!

        • Kyle Moore

          Yeah the cardboard looks dodgy haha.
          I really want to make one now! I bought some Galaga and a stick on joystick for my iPad but it’s not the same!

          • Cellophane Girl

            Maybe I’ll make one out of old beer cans, cut apart and hammered out.
            That would look really tacky, and we all know tacky is awesome. XD

  • http://www.capsulecomputers.com.au Philip Federico

    The Original TAITO cabinet is made of hard plastic and can ony support Space Invaders its called INVADERCADE. When you dock it in the cradle it also doubles up a charger as well. I personally would like to get my hands on the original TAITO iPAD cabinet but its not yet available apart from Amazon Japan but its roughly close to $100, a little expnsive but I think its the price u might want to pay to have quality.

    • Kyle Moore

      iVADERCADE is a pretty sweet name. I want one. But I doubt I’d play space invaders that much to warrant paying 100 bucks haha.

      • Cellophane Girl

        Yeah, that’s a bit much for one game….
        Though if you know what you’re doing you could probably modify it to play all games.

        I’d rather just design my own. I’m sure it would cost less than $100 to make.
        Of course I’m really good at planning things, but really bad at following through with it.

        My nerf gunblade has been in the planning stages for months now.

        • Kyle Moore

          Same. I get all worked up with plans than realise I have actual obligations to tend to.

          Also, beer can arcade cabinet sounds awesome. Not tacky! Just don’t drink them all then attempt to build it.

          • Cellophane Girl

            But that’s the most fun way to do it.. drink a 12 pack and then do some metal working!

            Once you get out of the hospital you’ll have a really good story to tell about how you almost lost the tip of your pinky when making a small arcade cabinet out of beer cans!

  • Kyle Moore

    Haha true true! A story to tell your grandchildren one day

    • Cellophane Girl

      EXACTLY!
      I mean I’m not going to have any stories about fighting in a war so I need to have SOMETHING to tell my non-existent grandchildren when I hallucinate them visiting me in the nursing home. ;)

      • Kyle Moore

        hey, if you are hallucinating about having grandkids why not hallucinate about being a war hero too!

        • Cellophane Girl

          You have a very valid point there.

          I’ll probably just end up telling my hallucinations about all the battles I fought and how I used to be a rockstar with millions of fans.

          Of course I’ll just be reliving all the video games I have played, but hey, I won’t know that once my mind starts to go anyway. ;)