Want One: iCADE for iPad 8 years ago

Want One: iCADE for iPad

The iCADE, by tech firm Ion, is a cool, retro looking docking device for iPad that allows you to use arcade style controls complete with joystick.

For use at home, in work, on the bus, at mass, it's suitable for anywhere you’re willing to carry it. Although we suggest you leave it at home (and don’t take it to mass. The priest might want a go).

The system feels like an authentic arcade game and with the graphics of the iPad only increasing the enjoyment of the games, it’s a must for the retro gaming lover.

Authentic arcade controls

How tempting is that giant arcade stick?

The iCADE’s cradle has been designed to hold the iPad in very securely, in order to combat even the most intense of gaming sessions. When the iPad sits in, the screen is positioned at a slight tilt allowing for maximum screen viewing, just like the real thing.

The iPad connects to the iCADE via Bluetooth, so there are no dangly wires just asking to be yanked out, removing your high score in the process. It takes two AAA batteries but you can also plug it into the mains via an AC adapter.


The iCADE is compatible with 100 Atari classics including Asteroids, Battlezone and Centipede. Other Atari games work on the system, however there aren’t many other games available as yet. One annoying feature of the cradle is the fact that you can’t turn the iPad to landscape mode, so you therefore can’t play games that use widescreen.

At the moment, only games that are supplied by Atari will work on the controller. However, Ion has said that more rights holders are on their way to the iCADE. Free with the device comes the Atari Greatest Hits app, with one free game available for download via Apple’s App Store.

Useful for the office

Admit it, you want one now, right?


$99 or €70 (minus shipping), seems somewhat pricey just for an accessory. However, we reckon that the iCADE is a pretty cool toy to have around the house. It seems good for rainy days and certainly parties, although booze and portable arcade games generally don’t mix.

We’re lucky to have the device on the market as it was originally an elaborate April Fool’s joke by the gadget site ThinkGeek. So thanks are due to Ion for making this 'joke' of a device into a piece of class.

Overall, the iCADE is admittedly just a novelty. You’re not going to use it for every game you have and frankly, it's too bulky to be dragged around all day.

If you ask us, the iCade would definitely be well received at a party, but do you really want to spend nearly €100 (inc. postage) just so you can show off your Asteroid skills to your mates? It’s a definite for the ultimate retro gamer, but a tad unnecessary for everyone else.

- Oisin Collins

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