Atari recently announced some exciting news for the retro gaming community. The company is getting ready to launch the highly anticipated Atari Arcade. This compact console can be hooked up to Apple's iPad, and follows the well-received iCade, by ThinkGeek. The iCade and Atari Arcade have very different designs, but both serve as virtual time-machines, bringing gamers back to some of their favorite Atari games. Seeing as the iCade costs a whopping $100, the Atari Arcade is a beacon of hope for nostalgic, cash-strapped gamers.
The Atari Arcade, by itself, is fairly flat and rectangular in shape, with curved corners. On the bottom are four thick rubber pads, in order to keep the system from sliding around on glass, wood or any other surface. The eight-directional joy stick and four button controls are located in the front half of the top surface of this mini arcade. The back half of the top surface contains a recessed doc, which holds either generation of the iPad. The iPad fits in vertically and connects to the system via a tilted 30-pin connector, which holds the device at a slight angle, ideal for the display screen function.
The Greatest Hits
The sole purpose of the Atari Arcade is to bring a more enjoyable and familiar experience to playing Atari's Greatest Hits games on the iPad. Atari games are fond in many people's hearts because it represents early, but incredibly fun and challenging, video game technology. Since the age of the Atari, the video game industry has skyrocketed into unbelievable graphics and complex story lines. In a word, the draw to this product is nostalgia. In the same way that watching favorite childhood movies brings adults back to the enthusiasm of their childhood, so can favorite video games.
One of the major set-backs of the Atari Arcade, is the limited game play. The system is compatible with the Atari's Greatest Hits application, which includes 100 classic Atari games. The problem is that many of the games are very similar, such as Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe, so there aren't exactly 100 unique games to play. The arcade is ideal for nostalgic Atari enthusiasts, but may not be quite so attractive to your average gamer.
Atari's Greatest Hits app is already available for the iPad and iPhone. Missile Command is the only free game available. There are 25 additional game packs that can be purchased separately for a dollar each. Alternatively, the entire game library can be bought for $15.
Despite the $100 price tag, ThinkGeek and Ion's iCade system was very well-met by the gaming community. It only makes sense that Atari would want to cash in on their own dedicated market, which made the iCade so popular to begin with. The Atari Arcade is Atari's official answer to the success of the iCade, and should give the existing arcade adaptor a run for its money. The system is scheduled for release on October 2, 2011. It will be available for purchase at Target for $60, almost half the price of the popular iCade.