A fellow co-worker who's an unabashed iOS enthusiast passed by my cube yesterday and saw me playing on a table-top arcade machine sitting on my desk. He stopped, eyes drawn to the bright colors on the sides and the top, and the arcade graphics on the small glass screen. I explained that it was an iPad sitting in the iCade, a $99 self-assemble arcade cabinet with Bluetooth joystick.
Naturally, he wanted to try it out on a few games he liked. I explained that the iCade currently only works with Atari's Greatest Hits app, which admittedly has 100 games, but lacks arcade classics like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Joust--games that are, of course, made by other publishers. I also explained that it really only worked in portrait mode (or a slightly precarious but still-possible landscape mode, by using a groove on the outside edge).
He started to sour. Eventually, he walked away.
Of course, for arcade nuts and fans of novelty bar-top/desktop toys, the iCade is still a pretty awesome little treat. But until it can support other games--which Ion, the maker of the iCade, says will happen via a shared API--its appeal will necessarily be limited. I can think of dozens of games in the App Store that would be perfect for the iCade: Street Fighter IV. Death Rally. NBA Jam. Pinball HD. Tetris. Space Invaders Infinity Gene. The aforementioned Pac-Man. … Read more