For Christmas, I received a nifty product called the Ion iCade Arcade Cabinet! It was one of the coolest items I found on ThinkGeek, I knew it was a necessity for my household. I’ve spent the past few nights playing classic Atari arcade games on my iPad, as well as newer applications that let you use a joystick.

What Is The Ion iCade Arcade Cabinet For The iPad?

The iCade integrates your iPad with a retro arcade cabinet, equipping you with a classic joystick control to play your favorite arcade games! According to the Ion website, iCade is compatible with over 500 arcade games, including most of Atari’s Greatest Hits and hundreds of modern applications.

Key Features of the iCade Arcade Cabinet

  • With your purchase, you can download the Atari Greatest Hits application for free via the iTunes App store. However, it comes with 1 free game. To play other Atari games, you must purchase tokens. I recommend purchasing all 99 games for $9.99 and grant yourself unlimited play. Trust me, you’ll need it!
  • The iCade works with 500+ games, but whether they are completely compatible to your liking will depend on what you consider ‘compatible.’ The games that I have tried have worked fine, but others have not. For instance, Fix-it Felix is compatible but I have not been able to get the game to sync.
  • The retro, wooden cabinet is strong, durable, and definitely achieves the look & feel of a classic arcade console.
  • A strong cradle for your iPad is also built into the cabinet and is crucial for the safety of your tablet.Groovy Arcade Cabinet
iCade Cabinet

Using a Bluetooth connection, your iPad will connect to the iCade cabinet. It’s not the easiest system to setup, but Ion provides several instruction guides to get going. Basically, you’ll switch on your Bluetooth and using a button combination, the iPad will sync with the iCade. Then, you’ll open up a compatible iCade game and play! For the most part, the system is seamless but I have found a few annoying features. Once your Bluetooth is synced to the iCade joystick controls, the use of your iPad keyboard is gone. Therefore, if you switch to an application like Facebook – you will not have the ability to type a status update without having to turn off the Bluetooth connection. Also, not every game can be played standing up inside the cabinet. Although compatible with the controls, some games have to be played with the iPad turned on it’s side. If you are careful, you can use the ridge above the controls to hold your iPad, but this is not designed for it.

My Recommendation

The iCade is definitely for the nostalgic gamer! If you have a soft spot in your innards for horrible 8-bit graphics and original game themes, purchasing the iCade and downloading Atari games is the thing to do. If you are not into old games, the iCade cabinet still adds a new experience to your other applications. Play “Super Mega Worm” using the joystick and control your blood-thirsty worm using a classic joystick. It’s easier than steering with your finger on the iPad screen. Also, the arcade cabinet makes a neat conversation piece for your home. It’s unique and well-crafted – your friends and family will ask you about it. Despite having a few games not fully compatible and some odd syncing glitches, I highly recommend purchasing the iCade!