My old chum Alan Winstanley in England just sent me an email. The subject line was “iPad Space Invaders Console”; the body of the message contained a link and the text “Must get one!”
The link pointed to a rather interesting YouTube Video showing a game console called iCADE that uses your iPad as the main display device. There was also a link back to the parent ION Audio website at ionaudio.com.
Now, to be honest with you I’ve never been a big games player per se, but I must admit that I do look back on the old Atari classics like Asteroids and Centipede with fond memories, and it seems that iCADE is compatible with 100 of these timeless masterpieces. My understanding is that there’s a free iCADE app, but then you have to purchase the games from the app store (you get one free game).
From the ION Audio website we discover that this is a classic wooden retro cabinet that is perfectly sized for the iPad and that boasts authentic, full-sized controls for a genuine arcade experience. Also, the cabinet connects to your iPad wirelessly, which is nice.
I just went rooting around the ION Audio website but I couldn’t find a price for this little beauty (I sent them a message requesting more info). Also I haven’t looked at the app store to see how much the games cost. Like I say, I’m really not a big games player, but in this case I could see myself and my son and my wife getting a lot of fun out of this (actually, thinking about it, it would keep my son and his friends quite for hours).
The following words come from the ION Audio website (hence their rather exuberant tone [grin]):
Flashback to the glory days of gaming with iCADE! iCADE integrates your iPad into an authentic, arcade-style cabinet complete with joystick and buttons! Impress your friends, family and co-workers with iCADE's great-looking retro design, and then challenge them for high-scores on the most entertaining iPad accessory imaginable!
iCADE's specially designed cradle ensures safe loading and unloading of your iPad, while also providing a solid, secure fit even during the most intense game-play sessions. Furthermore, the cradle offers an ideal screen-viewing angle and quickly connects iCADE's top-quality arcade controls directly to your iPad wirelessly. Once iPad is in place, simply launch any supported iCADE-compatible app and it’s game on!
iCADE is compatible with 100 Atari classics including Asteroids, Centipede, and Battlezone. All are available as in-app purchases when you download the free Atari Greatest Hits app. Plus, new and existing apps can be easily updated to work with iCADE. Grab hold of iCADE's full-sized joystick and smash the eight arcade buttons for commanding control of iPad's on-screen action. This truly unique arcade cabinet game-controller for iPad will provide hours of action and nostalgic fun for years to come. Enter the iCADE and go back to the future!
I'm not much for "shoot them up" type games, but I do enjoy wandering through virtual worlds -- Riven is fantastic in many ways, but it is old in others (like the fact that the scenes are pre-rendered) -- are there any modern versions (for my iPad) where I can just wander around looking at things without getting attacked?
It's cute and it's small, but I can guarantee you that you won't be lugging the console around in order to play an arcade game. In other words, the unit will remain on a table in your home.
Another item that sits on your table at home is a PC and any serious retro-gamer knows that this is the best platform for arcade emulation. Check out http://mamedev.org/ This project has been growing since 1997 and now emulates over 4000 different arcade games. Enthusiasts also sell joystick/button devices that plug into your computer as an alternative to mouse/keyboard. I've even seen plans on how to design/build a full size stand-up console for use with MAME.
Another option would be to buy a $20 arcade emulator that comes with a joystick and plugs directly into yout tv. They usually contain anywhere from 20 to 100 games preloaded. I recall seeing these in stores everywhere about 5 years ago.
OK, so the icade is cute and may sucker a few people into buying it, but there are other better/cheaper solutions out there to help rekindle your memories of dropping quarters into a coin slot.
All your base are belong to us.
Read in the the newsletter that you just picked up a copy of Riven?...
ooh...oh! Max! Must say something!
( ... though... actually, I've been meaning, for awhile now, to post you a thank-you for again mentioning one of my own personal "runs-in-circles" projects )
First it'll be Riven... then Myst... then finally you'll find yourself hopelessly addicted to games like L.A. Noire, Oblivion, and Skyrim... you and your wife both, spending hundreds of hours wandering around in vast, lush, virtual landscapes... only to have the beauty and tranquility of these types of scenes interrupted, constantly, by attacking zombies and assaults from various other types of sinister monsters!
... actually, I don't know why I play around with these things myself... that's just too much like where I used to work.
But, all I can say is... be careful!
Sorry -- guilty as charged -- although in my own defense I should point out that this wasn't intended to be a journalistic triumph -- it's a blog for goodness sake.
As I said, my friend pointed me at the YouTube video, from there I went to the ION Audio website -- and they didn't even have a price on their own site (I've since discovered it's around $99.95).
But again, this was just a quick blog in-between juggling loads of other projects ... take me outside and spank me now! :-)