iPad, meet the Retrode

Great news, everybody! Starting with firmware v0.17d (coming up in a few days), the Retrode will be fully compatible to the iCade protocol, meaning that you can use it to connect original SNES and Sega controllers to iPad! Watch Phil Howard of Gadgetoid UK, who also suggested this new feature, give it a test run in the video below.
(Note: According to Phil, the jailbreak is only required to run this particular emulator; the controllers should work just as fine on all regular apps that support the iCade. Anyone care to give it a try?)

11 comments to iPad, meet the Retrode

  • Felix

    Ok! Updated my Retrode 1 firmware to .17d and iCade protocol works flawlessly on a non-jailbroken iPad 1.

    Well done Matthias :)

  • This morning I tested the controller on both a non-jailbroken iPad, and a never-been-jailbroken iPad 2. It worked fine on both, and the iPad 2s owner enjoyed playing a quick blast of Velocispider.

    Obviously you can’t run emulators without the jailbreak, but it’s still handy for adding a classic controller to play a variety of iCade supporting apps. And everything that supports the iCade protocol should, hopefully, help grow that list!

  • To bad that adapter doesn’t work with ipod/iphone. That would be epic. Though I might just pick one up and see if I can get it to work with it. But this is the coolest thing.


  • Felix

    that is mega sweet. may need to JB my ipad to try it out

    • I’ll send you a copy of the proto firmware as soon as I get home. Please wait with the jailbreak until you confirm that the controller part works on non-JB devices :)

      • Felix

        I tried it with the shipped firmware + camera adapter + iPad 1, and the iPad 1 says the Retrode takes too much power. I will try with a powered USB hub (ordered one from so it should be here in a few days) and will let you know.

        • Yep. The shipped firmware of the Retrode requests 200mA from the USB; I have lowered that to 100mA in the current version. E-mail :)

          • Felix

            Updated the firmware, did a google search for best iCade apps, and lo and behold, I had Atari Greatest Hits already installed.

            Started it up and it worked like a champ using a real Sega Genesis 3 Button controller. The SNES controller either still needs a little love, or I just didn’t configure it properly (it does nothing)

            This is on a Stock iPad 1 on iOS 5.0.1

            • Both Sega and SNES controllers should trigger iCade functions. For the SNES, the mapping to buttons is as follows:

                 U      L    R    X    A
               L   R    Sel  Sta  Y    B
            • Glad to see someone else enjoying this feature, Felix!

              I’ve ordered some SNES controllers, so hopefully they’ll turn up in a few days and I’ll be able to see if I can replicate your problem.

              Matthias, would you consider adding a kludge addition to the iCade protocol to support a second controller? I think it might be worth trying to convince Robert Broglia to support it in his emulators. Finding enough remaining sensible characters to build another whole map of Press/Release key bindings could be tricky, though. Number keys spring to mind as a starting point.

              I don’t even know if this is possible, and how iOS would respond to the key press/release events of two players.

              UP: 1/2
              DOWN: 3/4
              LEFT: 5/6
              RIGHT: 7/8

              BUTTON 1: 9/0
              BUTTON 2: -/=
              BUTTON 3: B/S
              BUTTON 4:
              BUTTON 5: ;/’
              BUTTON 6: [/]
              BUTTON 7: _/+
              BUTTON 8: ,/.

              I’m not sure how necessary a hack the iCade protocol actually is on jailbroken devices, it may be that the “release” states could be discarded for emulators, allowing the normal characters to be split between two controllers.

              This is all highly hypothetical and unlikely, though, as I can’t imagine many folks would benefit from it.