When the iCade from ThinkGeek came out, I was super intrigued. As an old-school gamer, this marriage of iPad plus classic arcade experience definitely caught my attention. But sadness descended upon this writer — the accessory costs a wallet-spanking $100. And dang it, Noah got to a review unit first. Okay, that’s fine. The iCade relies on battery-zapping Bluetooth, which ain’t my favorite thang, and I’m not willing to cough up a hundred smackers just to relive my childhood on my own personal purchase.
Enter the Atari Arcade Duo-Powered Joystick!… Uh, okay, the name’s not as snappy, but who cares? This item not only has an actual dock, but it’s officially produced by Atari, which joined forces with Discovery Bay Games to create this working wonder.
Now, it may not have the arcade cabinet feel, like the iCade, nor does it have the same retro styling either — this one has a sportier, almost racing car–like aesthetic — but it also doesn’t come with the same hefty price tag. Atari Arcade’s a far more palatable $60. While still not chump change, at least that money gets you a gaming accessory that doesn’t need batteries and doesn’t require Bluetooth. Just set the Apple tablet into the built-in 30-pin dock, and then bam — you’re all set to play Atari’s Greatest Hits app.
Maybe Atari didn’t push it out first, but at least they did things right, and for less money. And if you’re a diehard Atari fan with an iPad, this thing might even be considered an essential buy. If you’re interested, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for early October and your bookmark set for Discovery Bay Games’ website. When the product lands, it will be on shelves at Walmart, Target and Toys ‘R Us.