Strapping my iPad into a faux arcade cabinet is the last thing I want to do with my tablet. Oh, I can get behind PAC-MAN and Space Invader ports, for sure, but the device has become much more than a toy for me over the last year -- it’s become a browser, an e-reader, and a respectable game machine capable of offering some compelling modern experiences.

But for those of you who do actually want to relive those coin-op days, know this: Ion and Atari are teaming up to put out the “iCade,” an arcade cabinet for the iPad this Spring ($99).

The cabinet, as you can see from the following Engadget video from CES, features a full-sized joystick and eight arcade-style buttons. The apparatus itself is gleefully decorated in a retro style, though it’s missing the scratches and smoke damage that we’ve started to associate arcade cabinets with.

According to Ion, the iCade “ensures safe loading and unloading of your iPad,” as well as a secure fit. It also positions the iPad at a decent viewing angle for arcade play. The stick and buttons, by the way, will operate via Bluetooth.

The kicker here is that Ion’s business partner, Atari, will be publishing “a huge suite” of classic games to market with the device. In the press release, the only game name-dropped is Asteroids, but I’d imagine that we’ll also see ports of Centipede, Tempest, Missile Command, Crystal Castles, Super Breakout, and Gravitar at the very least. Curiously enough, some of these games have already been released by Atari, but were pulled early last year. We'll have to wait and see how different these re-released games turn out being.

OK, so maybe I do kinda want to strap my iPad into an arcade machine. Anyone with me?

[via Engadget]

  • Jim

    Life imitating a prank? I wonder if ThinkGeek will carry this for real.

    • Anonymous

      They do this all the time, so yes. Unicorn Meat?

  • Jim

    Life imitating a prank? I wonder if ThinkGeek will carry this for real.

  • Anonymous

    Umm, Centipede, Tempest, Missile Command, Crystal Castles, and maybe even Gravitar, but I'm not sure about that one, all use a trackball controller or analog dial. This cabinet has a joystick. So I'd certainly hope they don't waste time making ports of those, and instead focus on games that use a joystick. Truth be told, though, asteroids used only buttons, not a joystick. Hmm.

  • Anonymous

    If the controls are legit, it would be a great additive to a coffee table haha

  • Anonymous

    If the controls are legit, it would be a great additive to a coffee table haha

    • Anonymous

      Coffee... Additive... I get it

  • Aworldforfree

    yeah as this was not done by freekade.co.uk last year.

  • WP

    So, basically, it's a bluetooth game controller? If so, they really need to license this to other game developers, as well!!

  • Aworldforfree

    yeah as this was not done by freekade.co.uk last year.

  • WP

    So, basically, it's a bluetooth game controller? If so, they really need to license this to other game developers, as well!!

  • Adam

    They are at least guaranteed one sale. I would buy one. No doubt about that. I just hope the games will still support regular touch screen controls too (which I am sure they would so that they don't alienate all the other people without the cabinet.

    I do hope they allow other third parties to use the controller too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Burkett/100000210607581 Joe Burkett

    ya put centipede back in the app store so i can dl it again i did purchase it after all....

    • Ecco6t9

      I too missed the Atari remakes, basically they dropped to 99¢ when I went into the Target and by the time I made it home to my Wifi they were gone.

    • Pow R Rock

      If you had ever synced it to your computer,....you still have the file. Hopefully you can get it back

  • Dr. Zachary Smith

    Would this work with iMAME4all?

  • http://twitter.com/hotmonday Marcus H

    Oh buddy... If this becomes compatible with all of the side-scrollers and fighting games on iOS, this is gonna be siiiiick! Tearing it up in Street Fighter II and a (being hopeful) port of Giana Sisters for iPad? Plus Pac-Man... Tetris... Espgaluda II.. Dodonpachi Ressurection... Space Invaders Infinity Gene..

    I could name drop all day! They better license this out for 3rd party use! That would be one of the best things to happen to iOS gaming next to a legitimate controller for the iPhone. Hell, I'd sell my consoles and just have the iPad if this were the case!

  • fafner

    I super excited for this thing!

    But did any one else get all excited and click the video then as soon as the ad started say "screw it!" and turn the video off?

  • Dahak

    One thing's for sure... no Atari arcade games need that many buttons. Clearly they're future proofing for Williams (ala Defender) or Capcom (ala SF2) titles. Should be a good ride if they get enough companies on board. I hope Atari also releases 2600 games for it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ahamling27 Andrew Hamling

      I just hope that you can rotate the screen to landscape cause a game like SF2 looks a lot better widescreen than in portrait....

  • DotComCTO

    Need Major Havoc and Tempest...but mostly Major Havoc.

    • fafner

      both of those used a spinner instead of a joystick though :(

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, but without something like a swappable trackball and infinite pot (spinner, you heads, not unlimited weed) then the games made for them are fail. Stick games, bring 'em on -- bring 'em ALL on. The rest? Don't even bother. And I love retro in any form, but don't even try to retrofit stick control into a trackball or spinner game.

    I mean okay, I could potentially see Centipede -- that worked in a kinda-sorta way with a stick, Tempest 2000 wasn't bad on the JagPad, and Missile Command is workable with a stick if you slow it down a bit, but Crystal Castles absolutely does not work with a stick at all.

  • Steverd
    • thewiirocks

      That's the same cabinet. Note the text that says, "We've partnered with ION".

      While I'm excited, I kind of liked the original look better. (see http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2011/01/07/icade-for-ipad/) The newer cabinet looks rather squat and far less arcade-y.

      Still, I'll probably end up getting it. If for nothing more than the pure awesomeness of it!

      • Steverd

        Cabinets are different shapes, plus there's a coin slot (I'm sure that's just for looks) and player one/two buttons on the front. Looks nicer than this one.

      • Anonymous

        Dude. Look at the article here. It's made by ThinkGeek. It's the same cabinet.

  • Battle Born

    beautiful, just beautiful....

  • Bodobear

    Doesn´t look bad but the main problem is that you can only play a few games that support the cabinet. I build some ipad arcade machines myself and will sell them on the internet very soon... they will work with imame perfectly ! pictures and infos coming soon ! follow me on twitter: bodobear

  • http://twitter.com/squidlaser laosquid

    There will be a market for replacing those icade logos with original cabinet artwork from the 80's. Totally cool. I hope it will work with iMame4all via Cydia.

  • Anonymous

    "do you know what you're doing?" - "no, not really". Yeah, because Asteroids has a steep learning curve. But that's always the case with a demo on a show floor - right product/wrong person on camera lol.
    In any case - this cabby looks awesome - would love for Mame4All support.

    • http://blog.dobert.pl Dobromir Chodkowski

      "Yeah, because Asteroids has a steep learning curve."
      LOL

      Anyway this iCade is the weirdest and thing i've seen for iPad so far. Too bad it isn't in proper arcade game size. But than it would cost more than 100USD...

  • Pow R Rock

    I flipped the board back to Zero on one Quarter on Asteroids....Wasn't that hard.
    The control's are not that hard.
    I'm not trying to insult the guy but WTF?
    Any way,...Just hope this gets opened up to some titles that are newer than 20 Years, and require some skill.
    There are so many potentially Great games in the App store.
    This might make them shine.
    I do see more buttons than Atari ever needed so.... I'm thinking they know the potential.

  • Singapura

    Yes, finally! Seleuco, please make iMame4all compatible with this!

  • Mrgellons

    I don't really give a crap about ipod or retro gaming but this borderline rules.

    • Mrgellons

      *meant ipad

  • E_Domina

    So it's really gonna happen, huh? Looks fine and should be good except that it runs on bluetooth. It should run on the 30 pin connection

  • chris

    i built a mame cab. i put a 3" trackball in my cab.. you can get a small enough track ball to put on there.. just use it in spot of one of the buttons. marble madness!!

    should be interesting to see what happens here.. jailbreak and mame would be fun! i plan on building a bartop mame cab.. will be bigger than this. but if i had a ipad i would buy one of these for sure. if for anything to use as a charger.
    chris.

  • http://headcaseGames.com Ron_headcase

    ok now I have finally seen THE thing that will make me wanna buy an iPad. This is the real deal. Bring on the MAME adaptor!

  • The_lunatic_from_outer_space

    Definitely needs a trackball. I would buy for $99 if there's enough good games available. Hope other i-game devs will update their games to be compatible too FTW!

  • http://www.topitexam.org Kyung Lah

    21st century tech used to play 20th century games. Am I missing something here?
    I thought Atari bit the dust in the 90's.

    • thewiirocks

      The Tramiels divested themselves of the Atari name when they could find no more use for it. It ended up in the hands of Infogrames - most commonly known by the GT Interactive brand.

      The Atari brand was used to produce real winners like "The Matrix: Path of Neo" until Infogrames decided to disband the Atari subsidiary and become Atari themselves. In a strange turn of events, the CEO left the company and was replaced by... wait for it... Nolan Bushnell himself.

      Yes, that's right. After nearly 40 years, the original founder of Atari is running the company again. Will wonders never cease?

  • http://www.topitexam.org Kyung Lah

    21st century tech used to play 20th century games. Am I missing something here?
    I thought Atari bit the dust in the 90's.

    Cheat-Test.com 70-680 640-802

  • swany

    Guys want joysticks for stuff like this? I *love* our "flings" ...

    http://www.tenonedesign.com/fling

  • swany

    ... and I would give my left arm for Robotron ... seriously the best game ever.

  • Stevehip

    I would love one of these for the retro game look. I'm old enough to appreciate when these games cost a quarter apiece to play in the arcades and atari just released a hugensuite of games. The games can be purchased in packs, or you can go the bargain route, like me, and buy up all of em for fifteen buckaroos. So far, I'm impressed with everything except the controls. Using this with real joysticks will bring back that feel. If it's a charging setup, even better!

  • Paul

    Simply genius! Nuf said....

  • Guest

    It is my understanding that the exterior of the machine will come blank and that you will be able to design it as you wish on the outside. I like this decision as the idea of what a retro arcade looks like will mean different things for different people. It would not surprise me if sticker packs of some sort are provided for those that want to give it the conventional arcade look.