Atari Arcade is a retro gaming kick
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Atari Arcade is a retro gaming kick


Along the journey of my early gaming life, I owned an Atari 2600, an Atari 5600 and the "we-barely-knew-you" Atari 7800. I miss those game systems, but I can get a retro gaming hit with the US$59.99 Atari Arcade from Atari Discovery Bay Games (http://www.discoverybaygames.com/). Compatible with the iPad and iPad 2, it's available at Target, Apple retail stores and Apple's online store (http://www.apple.com) and Toys R Us.

If the Atari Arcade sounds akin to the iCade (http://www.ionaudio.com/products/details/icade), well, it is. Both are designed to bring the retro gaming experience to an Apple tablet. However, whereas the $99.99 iCade uses Bluetooth, the Arcade simply docks with your iPad via a 30-pin connector. The joypad is specifically made to work with Atari's Greatest Hits app, which will set you back about 10 bucks at the Apple App Store. Or 99 cents for any of several four-packs of related games. Go with the big package; c'mon, it's $10 for 100 games. That's a deal.

Once you have the apps downloaded, you connect your iPad to the Arcade (more on that in a moment), and you're almost good to go. No batteries required.

Did I say almost? After plugging in the iPad and opening up the app, you’ll discover that each game needs to be updated so that the Atari Arcade base is added to the short list of controllers. You can update each game individually as you select them to play, which takes about fix seconds for the patch to download; you don't have to restart the app. Or you can choose an option to download all the game updates at once, which I recommend.

The Arcade is lighter than I had expected, but seems sturdy. Four rubber feet grip just about any surface to keep it in place during intense gameplay. On the top is an eight-directional joystick, four buttons and the 30-pin connector. The connector has sliding tabs to keep the iPad safely in place, which is a nice touch.

On the other hand, it was a bit difficult to click the Apple tablet into place. You'll need to remove a Smart Cover and any sort of protective case you have on your iPad to get it to connect. Also note that you can't use your iPad in landscape mode.

That said, the joystick and buttons were very responsive (though a bit more resistance from the former would be nice) and did a good job of emulating the Atari 2600 experience. This is despite the fact that, for unknown reasons (unknown to me at any rate), the buttons lack the concave shape of true arcade buttons.

Most of the games -- such as BattleZone, Yar's Revenge, Video Pinball and Submarine Commander -- play very well with the joystick and buttons. However, with games such as Centipede, Crystal Castles and Asteroids, I missed the use of a trackball. Perhaps an Atari Arcade Trackball is in the works?

Finally, I wish that some games available for the iPad -- namely Pac-Man and Space Invaders -- worked with the Atari Arcade. A few game developers have started making games compatible with the iCade. Let's hope they do so the same for the Atari Arcade.

If you're into violent computer games or strategy games that take hours to play, the Atari Arcade/Atari Greatest Hits combo may not be for you. But if you want some fast-paced, quick-to-play, retro fun, check it out.

Rating: 7 out of 10

 
AAPL
$130.28
Apple Inc.
-1.50
GOOG
$532.11
Google Inc.
-7.67
MSFT
$46.86
Microsoft Corporation
-0.59
MacNews Search:
Community Search:
view counter

view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter

Block Fortress has a Big New Update for...
Block Fortress is a survival-style game that's as fun as it is blocky. It's also just gotten a rather sizeable update that adds a lot more cool stuff. [Read more] | Read more »
Simple and Surreal Star Base Sim rymdkap...
I really like rymdkapsel. Not just because I'm a sucker for games that are cleverly simple or highly stylisitc, but because it's fun and challenging. Actually it's extremely challenging, which is why I was excited to learn that it's getting a couple of new gameplay modes in the near future. [Read more] | Read more »
Check out the anticipated Angel Stone in...
Fincon has finally revealed Angel Stone in action in the first ever official gameplay trailer for the anticipated hack and slasher. Angel Stone is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which humanity is in danger of being wiped out by the demonic Legion. [Read more] | Read more »
Moleskine Timepage is an All-New Calenda...
Moleskine Timepage is a bit of a departure for the notebook manufacturer (since it has little to do with notebooks), but it certainly carries their simple and elegant style quite well. [Read more] | Read more »
Jog on Over and Check Out the New Runtas...
Runtastic has put out a fair number of apps to help you sleep, track excercise, and train various parts of your body. Now it's time for your legs to have their own time in the spotlight with Runtastic Leg Trainer. [Read more] | Read more »
It's Lights Out in the Upcoming Pla...
Ember’s Journey is a stark puzzle platformer with a twist: the entire game is played in darkness. The only light you can see by is the one emanating from your own character. [Read more] | Read more »
MooVee - Your Movies Guru (Entertainmen...
MooVee - Your Movies Guru 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Entertainment Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: MooVee helps you effortlessly manage your movies, on your iPhone. | Read more »
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions (Games)
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Enjoy the next chapter in the award-winning Geometry Wars franchise and enjoy stunning, console-quality graphics as you battle through waves of enemies in this frenetic arcade shooter! • 50 Adventure levels... | Read more »
CHAOS RINGS Ⅲ (Games)
CHAOS RINGS Ⅲ 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $19.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: The newest addition to the popular smartphone RPG series is finally here!・CHAOS RINGS Overview | Read more »
The Popular Insight Series of Travel Gui...
Getting around in a country when you can't understand the primary language can be tough. Fortunately there are several options available to help wold travellers with the important stuff like giving directions to a cab driver or asking where the restroom is. Now we can add the Insight Guides Phrasebook app to that list. [Read more] | Read more »
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.