The price for this fluctuates (depending on the seller and shipping, etc.) and I was lucky to get it for 2 1/2 rolls of quarters shipped (using my Prime membership). I've only had it for less than 48 hours and it's already paid for itself in the sense that I feel I've already gotten my money's worth (compared to when in the 80's grandpa here lived in SF and would drive to the arcade in the Cliff House basement at Lands End on the Pacific, look for and sometimes pay for parking, then feed quarters into machines).
I use my new iCade Core with my 1st generation iPad (which I sometimes pair with a Bluetooth speaker for better sound when using it with the iCade), and it works nearly perfectly* with the games I've used it with so far (e.g., everything in the Vectrex suite of apps, the Lite versions of Pac Man and MS Pac Man, Temple Run, Mos Speedrun, Space Inversion 2 HD, Emerald Mine, Hungry Master, the cool Berzerk clone Retro Robots, and the games that are free with the free versions of the Midway Arcade, Activision Anthology, Atari Greatest Hits apps, and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum HD Lite app).
I've so far had the most fun - by which I mean totally insane fun - playing Space Inversion 2 HD and Velocispider Zero. Space Inversion 2 HD is such a great game paired with the iCade that for what I paid for the iCade, if it was the only game I could use it for it would be worth it. And though I can do okay playing Temple Run without an iCade, I do significantly better using its joystick and buttons (one to jump, one to slide) than I do swiping the screen when playing without it.
It only took seconds to get it paired with my iPad once the included batteries were installed.
*I said it works "nearly perfectly" with the games I've played. The exceptions are Pac Man Lite and MS Pac Man Lite, which I've found tricky to pair with the iCade Core. It seems that I have to re-pair the iCade with the iPad right before playing one of these two apps (despite that, now that I have the iCade Core and know how much fun it is to play Pac Man and MS Pac Man with it I will definitely purchase the full versions). Another thing that is less than perfect when using the iCade with these two apps is that sometimes the joystick isn't perfectly responsive. (Though I wouldn't characterize myself as a hard-core Pac Man player, I agree with this line from "Best iCade Compatible Games" at appadvice regarding the Pac Man app and iCade: "The controls are good enough for the casual gamer, although hard-core Pac-Man aficionados will find the iCade's joystick lacking in responsiveness.") But I consider these cons relatively minor. The only other con with the iCade Core is that when the iPad is seated in the slot that holds it, if I play the least bit roughly (and I do tend to get carried away), my iPad flops forward and once fell out.
The iCade Core comes in a nice, sturdy, colorful box that would surely impress anyone receiving an iCade Core as a gift. Visit the ionaudio site for a list of games that are compatible with the iCade. Here's what it says on the site about compatible devices: "As of April 2012, iCade products are compatible with the following devices: ・ 3rd and 4th generation iPod touch ・ iPhone 3, iPhone 3G, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S ・ iPad, iPad 2 and iPad (3rd generation)."
So much fun and I am very glad I decided to buy one!
UPDATE: Another iPad app/game that's fun to play using iCade is Another World 20th Anniversary Edition. I bought the full version of Pac-Man for iPad since writing the above (I paid full price and would rather wait till the full version of MS Pac-Man is on sale before getting that one too), and it works perfectly with iCade and I haven't had to do any resetting as I had to do with the Lite version, and is a lot of fun, just like in the 80's. And I discovered that Velocispider Zero shoots automatically without iCade though it can only fire with iCade by pressing a button (continuously), and that it is therefore easier and more fun for me to play it without iCade. But I'm still loving my iCade!
on December 6, 2014
Works excellent for the games that support it. Have tested it with Vectrex, Metal Slug 3, Plasma Sky, and Velocispider and they all rock with this controller. I looked around and decided on this iCade Core controller because it's cheaper than the regular iCade AND more portable. There is a slot on the top where you can run your charging cable so the iPad can be on charge while playing. Got this to take on road trips and to parties. I can even use it with my phone if I want :)
I have an iPad Air wrapped in Otterbox Defender and the iPad Air + case fit perfectly snug into the iPad slot on the top. I either use it the expected way or I use the Otterbox Defender shield stand that comes with my case to hold the iPad upright on a table and use the controller in my lap. Both ways work fine.
Note, when this controller 1st came out it was crazy expensive and supported 100+ App Store games. The 4 I have above still work with it, but I noticed others that used to work with it aren't available at the App Store anymore, so do your research on each game you consider for this and know that this controller DOES NOT WORK WITH ALL GAMES. The app developer has to code the game/app to work with this controller, so very few games do when you compare them to all the tons of games available.
Check out ION's website to verify compatibility, but I found several games they still list as compatible that don't exist anymore on the app store, so be careful and do your research.
That said, I see many clueless people leaving some negative reviews on the games I have mentioned above and they simply don't understand that this 4 games and others are meant to be used with an iCade Controller, not tilt or touch, etc.
on May 29, 2015
I've wanted one of these since they came out, but couldn't stomach the $100 price tag on the fancy arcade cabinet version, this one was only $20, and it does something the cabinet can't, that's let your iPad sit in sideways, and there are a number of games that only work sideways that would not work in the cabinet version. The quality is great, the game play is fun, we posted a YouTube video of us un-boxing this, setting it up, and demonstrating an iPad game that support the iCade.
Check out the video: