ION iCade Arcade Bluetooth Cabinet for iPad
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- Connects via Bluetooth
- Arcade Cabinet With Joystick & Buttons For iPad
- Gaming Device
- Authentic, Full-Sized Controls For A Genuine Arcade
- FREE Atari Greatest Hits app with one free game (downloads via App Store)
- Play Atari classics like Asteroids, Centipede, and Battlezone (sold separately)
- Authentic, full-sized controls for a genuine arcade experience
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Arcade Cabinet With Joystick & Buttons For iPad; Gaming; Authentic, Full-Sized Controls For A Genuine Arcade; Experience; High-Quality iPad-Cradle Specifically Designed For A; Safe, Secure Fit; Retro Cabinet Design That Is Fun, Nostalgic &;Great-Looking
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First I should mention that the iCade cabinet design may look like the picture on this page, or one with a more rainbow look to it. Don't worry though, it looks great. Very 80s.
The hardware itself is excellent. The joystick and buttons are super-responsive, just like a real arcade machine. Assembly was a little annoying; the screws and holes didn't always line up too well. Once you get it together, though, the construction is solid.
It uses two AA batteries for power, and comes with them, which is nice. There's a port for an AC adapter, too, but it doesn't come with that and the manual doesn't give its specifications. It says you can buy one on ION Audio's website, but even now (March 2012) it doesn't appear that you can. I asked ION about this and they said that batteries provide 70 hours of use, so the lack of an official AC adapter isn't a big deal. They also told me the AC adapter you need is 5V DC, 110V AC, 500 mA pin negative, so if you want one you may be able to find one on the internet somewhere.
There's no power switch, you turn the iCade on by pressing one of the buttons or moving the stick. There's a lighted coin slot on the front that acts as a power light. When you don't use the iCade for a few minutes, it turns off automatically, which is nice for conserving battery life.
The iCade connects to the iPad over Bluetooth. It works fine, though you'll want to turn the Bluetooth on the iPad off when you're not using a related app, since the iPad thinks it's a keyboard and won't display the on-screen keyboard in other apps, like Safari, while it's connected.
The only software that supported the iCade on launch was the Atari's Greatest Hits app, which comes with one free game. At first it was Pong, but now it's Missile Command. It may change to a different game later. The app has 18 arcade games and 82 Atari 2600 games. You can buy a 4-pack of related games, like Centipede and Millipede for both arcade and 2600, for $0.99, or you can buy all 100 games for $14.99.
I bought all the games for simplicity's sake, though they're not all gems. Most of the arcade games are good or at least OK, but frankly, most of the 2600 games suck. Backgammon? Circus Atari? Concentration? Really? Some surprised me, like Battlezone, which is almost better than the arcade version. Some classics like Adventure are here too, plus unreleased prototypes like Combat 2. A lot of the arcade games are vector games, like Asteroids, Battlezone, and Tempest to name a few.
The iCade supports portrait and landscape mode, though the iPad is a lot more secure in portrait. In portrait, you place the iPad between two ridges that make up a stand, the front of which is notched so you can access the home button. In landscape, you place it in a little groove in front of the portrait stand, and unlike in portrait, it can slide around in there. For either position, if you have an iPad case, you'll probably have to take it off in order to get it to fit.
Whichever orientation you choose, you can fiddle with the settings in Atari's Greatest Hits to have it display the way you want. For most games you just have to change the "Orientation" option, but for other games you have to change the "Control type" to Arcade. It would be nice if there was an option that changed it globally, but it does save your options for each game, so you only have to change it for each one once. I tend to like portrait mode better; the iCade was obviously designed for this mode, and the arcade games look more authentic.
Unfortunately, you can't adjust the joystick sensitivity in the app, so it's much more difficult to control games with paddles, like Pong, Warlords, and Breakout. I actually prefer to use the touch controls for those games. For most of the other games, though, the iCade controls are far superior.
There are plenty of third-party games now. The most recent, updated list is at [...]. For some reason, iCade-compatible games can't be listed as such on the App Store. I haven't tried too many of them, but if your iPad is jailbroken you can get iMAME4All, which supports pretty much every classic arcade game imaginable. If you know what MAME is, that may be enough to push you to get this.
Overall, I don't think it's worth buying an iPad specifically for this, since you could put together your own full-size arcade machine from various parts (cabinet, screen, PC with MAME, speakers, etc) for not much more. Still, if you have an iPad already, it's great fun and very worth the price of the iCade. I got it for $100 right at launch and that was probably too much, but I couldn't resist. Even when I'm not using it, it makes a great conversation piece. If this were $50, I'd give it five stars.
Assembly was flawless. The mini cabinet comes in pieces, of course, but every bolt hole lines up perfectly and the end result is tightly assembled with included hex bolts and hex wrench. It looks even more impressive in person. My kids immediately fought over who would get to play first!
My only grip with it is the quality of the arcade game offerings from Namco, Midway, and Atari (which is not ION's fault). And where's Taito? I want Space Invaders!! Taito has their own cabinet called the iNVADERCADE for Space Invaders HD (and it doesn't support iCADE). Namco Arcade doesn't support 1st-gen iPads. I'm GOING to upgrade to a new iPad, but sheesh, these are 30-year old games, why in the world shouldn't they run on even an iPad1?
Midway Arcade works but it's extremely buggy on the iPad1, and crashes frequently in the 3D arcade room (which is COOL). However, when it does run it's FANTASTIC. Gauntlet, Spy Hunter, Rampage, oh such great memories there... really, really great fun with the iCADE. And, in my opinion, the best app for the mini cabinet.
Which brings me to the Atari Classics (App Store). This includes 99 games, most of which are from the Atari 2600. That isn't a bad thing but the arcade games themselves are not among my favorites. No complaints, really, just that it isn't the best collection of games. In other words, you have to work a bit to get some good games up & running for the iCADE, but once you do it's a blast!
Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man do support the iCADE. These are perhaps the most enjoyable games. Definitely the most noticeable, likely to get the most attention if you play around others.
Assembly was easy and it came very well packed. Check out ioncades website - they have a long list of compatible games.
Not sure I would have felt good about spending $100 for it, but at the current price of roughly $50, it was a great investment.
Definitely I recommend to every one who possess a IPad and like to play games like if you where at the arcades.
Well constructed, well planned, very funny. The seller sent it well protected, and mainly, factory sealed, all right!
BTW... It's compatible with every version of Ipad, only the bluetooth conection is required :)
You will not be disappointed at this price!