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iPhone and iPad gaming accessories are the future of retro

As people download cheap games in their millions onto iDevices, a whole industry of retro gaming accessories has sprung up.

Andrew Williams
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While Luke paved the way for the future of gaming with his six things that will change videogames, those of us with creaking wrist joints who frittered our 80s pocketmoney on 99p Mastertronic games like the low-key classic Chronos (okay, you had to be there), will rejoice that we've come full circle with our phones.

And even more so that three decades of inflation has been expunged with the explosion of downloadable mobile games for under a quid.

Try as I might, I just can't get over the passing of 1980s gaming -- or at least its spirit, which eschewed today's ubiquitous first-person action and yawnsome cinema sequences. But vast numbers of cheap games downloaded onto the iPod touch, iPad and iPhone marks a swing back to simplicity. In fact, the iPhone's gaming popularity was recently touted by hoary old Atari and Xbox developers as marking the revival of the 80s arcade in your pocket.

And while the much more open Android system is a haven for emulators that let you play old games for free, Apple's relatively few devices and huge popularity means it has a wealth of companies queueing up to sell you retro gadgets to stick on your phone or tablet for nostalgic kicks.

In November, a survey of 1,000 gaming industry execs contentiously declared Steve Jobs as the most influential man in gaming, and the iPhone as the most significant device in video game history. Come on! As if the 32k Acorn Electron, with classic games like Bugzap and Marslander, wasn't the bigger game changer (no, I'm not still bitter you didn't buy me a ZX Spectrum, Mam and Dad).

For those of you who, like me, were weaned on clunky scrolling and jerky sprites, and even thought the most popular retro console of all time, the Sega Mega Drive, had eight bits too many, then feast your eyes on the gallery above. Therein lies a panoply of accessories -- or if we're being properly retro, "peripherals" -- that will roll back the years on your iDevices.

Chief among them is surely the Joystick-it. Although I'm not sure it would stand up to a joystick annihilator like Track & Field on the Atari XE, which single-handedly kept the company in cashflow by burning through sticks faster than you can say RSI. The 8-Bitty controller above also adds some much-need plasticky old-school tack to your super-sleek Apple gadget.

Gaming Luddites, join me in my rose-tinted retro jubilance, and everyone else, feel free to tear me a new coin slot in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Sources and image credits: Oh Gizmo!, Trend Hunter, The Awesomer, Game Guru, G4TV, Discovery Bay Games, Think Geek, Uncrate, Ifans

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Just a concept, this one, but perfect for addng some 2-bit goodness, literally, to your iPhone.
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The Joystick-it adds some phallic function to your device, for use with any game that features a four-way on-screen directional pad.
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This Taito Invadercade has more vintage than a grand cru cabinet sauvignon.
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Fetishise your iPhone by strapping on some rubber with the iControlpad game controller.
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Who needs portable gaming when you can have the iCade to dock your iPad, or the iCade Jr for your iPhone.
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Atari teenage riots are here again with the Atari Arcade.
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They don't make 'em like they used to... oh, hang on, they do! Asteroids as played on The Ion iCade Core.
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Erm, veering into PlayStation territory here... we refuse to acknowledge that the 90s is retro.

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