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CNET First Look
Ion Audio iCadeIf your iPad gaming tastes run to classic Atari console and arcade games, the Ion Audio iCade is a fun nostalgic trip.
I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a look at the Ion Audio iCade. The iCade actually started life as an April fool's gag from ThinkGeek, the big online gadget and other weird stuff store. They just did a mockup and said, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if you can get a little arcade cabinet for your iPad?" People liked the idea so much, ThinkGeek actually went out and found a company, Ion, to make it for them so now you can actually buy the iCade for $99. What you get for your $99 is basically a particle board mini arcade cabinet. You have to screw it together yourself, connect it to a Bluetooth joystick and button set so you put a couple of AA batteries in here, sync it via Bluetooth to your iPad, then you take your iPad and you just flip open the top and you drop the iPad right in here. It doesn't actually connect to the cradle or anything, it just sort of sits in it so you don't wanna move this around. Otherwise, you'll jostle everything, and then you launch the Atari Greatest Hits iOS game. That is the only game that currently works with the iCade. However, it does give you a hundred different classic Atari arcade and console games for about $15. That's a pretty good deal especially if you're interested in that kind of classic gaming. Once you do that, you pick the game you wanna play. A lot of these classic games were actually meant to work with trackballs or other kinds of controls, not joysticks. Some of it's a little bit awkward but a lot of them work really well. You're gonna have to go through the hundred games and find the ones that work best for you. For $100, the iCade is basically an expensive novelty. It's a desktop toy but it's a very cool looking one especially if you're into vintage gaming. The company that makes this has released an SDK or a software development kit that will allow people who make other iOS games to make an iCade-compatible version of that game. We have not seen that yet, but if people start doing that, the iCade is gonna be a lot more useful. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the Ion Audio iCade.