Atari Arcade Duo-powered joystick for iPad review: Atari Arcade Duo-powered joystick for iPad

The biggest knock against the Atari Arcade is its limited library. The peripheral is a one-trick pony for the Atari app, which costs $10 for 100 games, or 99 cents for any of several four-packs of related games. A total cost of $70 isn't outrageous for a complete retro package of Atari games and a controller to play them with, but it borders on the fetishistic. After all, you could always play these games on the iPad itself using touch controls.

This brings us to a final gripe: it's an odd fit to pair a joystick with Atari's arcade legacy. Many of Atari's most famous games, featured in this collection--Asteroids, Missile Command, Centipede, Crystal Castles, Breakout--used nontraditional controls like trackballs or paddles. A joystick just doesn't give you the real arcade experience for Centipede or, especially, Crystal Castles. Now, a trackball peripheral? Hmm, now we're talking.

Indie game developers--a precious few of them--have started making games compatible with the Ion iCade. They're hardly great, but they add to the value package. The Atari Arcade will need to add compatibility for other games to really be worth its price of admission. Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Dig-Dug...these are the games we need a joystick for, and none of them supports the Atari Arcade. Hopefully, they will. Retro game makers need to stick together.

Buy the Atari Arcade if you're an Atari obsessive, or if you're into quirky iPad novelties or fun retro gaming toys. Otherwise, you're not missing a whole lot. The Atari Arcade is a good idea, but it's not enough of what the iPad truly needs.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4

    Starting at: $299.99
    4.5 stars

    Samsung's ultra HD powerhouse takes on the iPhone 6 Plus and LG G3 with some of industry's...

  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus

    Starting at: $249.99
    4.5 stars

    Bigger isn't always better, and for many the idea of a smartphone with a 5.5-inch screen...

  • Samsung Galaxy S5

    Starting at: $79.99
    4.5 stars

    The Galaxy S5 has once again proven Samsung’s ability to make an attractive high-end smartphone....

  • Apple iPhone 6

    Starting at: $149.99
    4.5 stars

    It's got a bigger screen and works with Apple Pay. It lacks a battery boost, but it's...


Discuss Atari Arcade Duo-powered joystick for iPad

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy See all prices

Atari Arcade Duo-powered joystick for iPad

Part Number: CNET-Atari-Arcade-by-Duo
Low Price: $24.95 See all prices