By now you may have seen ThinkGeek’s iCade, the cabinet that transforms your iPad into a legitimate arcade. Well, Discovery Bay Games has just produced a new take on the “iPad Arcade”. The Atari Arcade for iPad 1 and iPad 2 is not an entire cabinet, but rather a more practical and affordable arcade board for iPad to pop into. It features a joystick, four arcade buttons, and a clean retro design. Download Atari’s Greatest Hits app and you can enjoy all of the classics like Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command.
The Atari Arcade for iPad is passive and doesn’t require it’s own power source; it’s powered by iPad. The only downside to this is that it uses a little extra iPad battery and there’s no way to charge iPad while it’s attached. Just like the classic arcades, there’s a nice sized joy stick and four big buttons with good spring back action. There’s a regular 30-pin connector for iPad to dock into. On both sides is a slide lock to secure iPad into place. While the Atari Arcade would be best played on a flat surface, it’s portable and light enough to play it on your lap, or even your stomach if you’re laying down. There are rubber grips on the bottom so it won’t slide around a surface during intense game play.
The Atari Arcade relies on the Atari Greatest Hits app. Outside of this app, the joystick and buttons don’t do anything. The Greatest Hits apps brings you 100 classic Atari games, with Mission Command for free. All 100 games costs $14.99, or you can buy any of the 25 game packs for $1.00.
The arcade games include: Asteroids, Battlezone, Black Widow, Centipede, Crystal Castles, Gravitar, Liberator, Lunar Lander, Major Havoc, Millipede, Missile Command, Pong, Red Baron, Space Duel, Super Breakout, Tempest, Warlords. Then there is also all sorts of Atari 2600 games like Backgammon, BlackJack, Bowling, Casino, Codebreaker, Golf, Gravitar, Hangman, Home Run, Math Gran Prix, Chess, Pinball, and more.
We won’t lie, we had a lot of fun with the Atari Arcade for iPad. It brought iPad gaming to a new level, if that’s even possible at this point. iPad’s beautiful 9.7” screen is propped up vertically. Games use the upper portion of the screen, anywhere from 50% of the screen to 90% depending on the game. This isn’t a bad thing, as your hands may block the bottom of the screen anyhow. While we would love for the Arcade to support non-Atari games, the classic Atari games can still be just as heavily addicting (this review could have been written a week earlier if it hadn’t been for Millipede distracting us!). The accuracy is on-point. The sensitivity differs by game. There are also custom settings depending on the game. The clickiness of the joy stick and the spring of the buttons bring back some fun nostalgic memories. There was no noticeable difference on iPad’s battery power, though it’s probably just slightly worse.
The Atari Arcade powered by Duo, for iPad 1 and iPad 2, is a novelty item. It’s fun to have, it’s fun to play, and it’s a neat way to dock your iPad. Unfortunately, it won’t accommodate iPad with a case, there’s no way to charge iPad while it’s docked, and for now you can only play the games from Atari’s Greatest Hits app. It costs $60.00 which would be pretty good if the $15 full game pack was thrown int. Still, ~$75 for a classic retro Atari Arcade is not a terrible price to pay for hours of fun.
Disclaimer: Your guests will flock to your Atari Arcade.
The Good: Doesn’t Require Power, Works Well, Looks Awesome, Feels Great to Push Buttons Again! Costs Much Less than Actual Arcade, Nice Way to Dock iPad
The Bad: Can’t Charge iPad while Docked, Only Works With Atari’s Greatest Hits App, Only One Free Atari Game Included, Won’t Dock iPad with Case,