Ion Audio iCade arcade-style iPad cabinet
I game therefore iPad
Geek Treat of the Week Let's get the negative out of the way right from the start: the iCade is a bit on the crap side.
But then that's kind of how it should be.
Ion's iCade: beep, beep, beep.... schboom
As if you couldn't guess from the pics, the iCade is an iPad stand that mimics the arcade game cabinets of yesteryear. Like them, it's made out of cheap chipboard with big plastic stickers on the front and sides that are easy to peel off.
Rough it around a bit and you'll quickly get that arcade-used look that it will only take a couple of circular beerglass stains on the top, and a handful of ciggie burns around the joystick, to complete.
Chewing gum stuck to the side - perfect.
And you don't have to tilt it to try and get free games: the suggested app download, Atari Greatest Hits - one of only four iOS app iCade is compatible with - comes with Missile Command gratis.
Yes, that is an odd choice here: Missile Command used a trackball not a joystick.
No coin-hoard access round the back
Even if it did, the iCade's own stick isn't up there with the likes of the Competition Pro - handmade in the UK and not at its best until the rubber seal was well and truly worn it. Like so many gaming peripherals, the iCade's controls are knocked up cheaply in China.
But it is eminently playable, and the whole rig - the Bluetooth link to the iPad included - runs off just two AA batteries.
Et in arcadia ego
My only real gripes with this thing is the Bluetooth connection: with no dock and mains power, you'll have to remember to hook up your iPad's USB cable - there's a hole provided to tuck it through - if you don't want it running on batteries.
And your tablet's not held snugly, so over-enthusiastic joystick action will cause it to move about.
More to the point, £100 is, frankly, a bit much to pay. Shop around and you should find it for around 70 quid, which is more reasonable.
But then again, what price nostalgia? And what price a gadget that is, after all, just a bit of retro fun? Reliving your misspent youth? Priceless. ®
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Except it's not made by Apple and it's the only one of its kind at present.
It's worth mentioning that if you jailbreak your iPad you can install iMAME4All which is also compatible with the iCade.
So those with a hankering for OutRun, TMNT, Simpsons, Final Fight, Aliens, Ms Pac-Man, Metal Slug, Puzzle Bobble, etc are well catered for.
NB - It was never supposed to be an actual product
That this even went to the factory is pretty cool. Remember, it started as an April Fools gag on thinkgeek.com. People went crazy over it and it finally made its way into existence. I haven't had a hands on with the kit, but all of the faults described were worries that kept me from signing up for the preorder and will likely have me keeping my distance until it's in the bargain bin. Not sure if they ship overseas, but thinkgeek sells the icade for $99 US which, judging from how much spotify's £9.99 costs me (i'm in the states) is probably about four quid.
sponsor a bright american lawyer for a job in the uk? i'll throw in an icade gratis!
Let me sum up....
Tired clichés from the usual noisy suspects who are saying nothing in particular about things that the claim not to be interested in.
Trolls will make any excuse for a good whine.
Let me sum up....
It's a load of overpriced cheaply made tat but that's a good thing.
Apple fanboys will make excuses for any old crap.