ION iCade vs Atari Arcade vs a real arcade cabinet: Classic gaming gear shootout!

Ah! the 1980’s. A time when hair was big and so were the arcades. Sure, it's 2012 now, and we have more computing power in our iPads than we used to have in our houses, but there's still many a retro gamer just itching to play the classic arcade games on a classic arcade gear. Both the Atari Arcade Duo-powered joystick for iPad and ION Audio's iCade for iPad promise just that -- to give you a flashback of the '80s on the iPad of the '10s. But which is better, and which gives the best real arcade experience?

Since the Atari Arcade vs. ION iCade has been done to death, I decided to up the ante and go full out -- I decided to put the Atari Arcade and ION iCade not only against each other but to put both of them against a full size arcade machine as well. That's right. It's on like Pong! Literally!

Shootout criteria

So how close do the Atari Arcade and ION iCade get in terms of bringing that real arcade experience to the iPad? We've run a series of tests that compare our iPad accessories to the real deal arcade cabinet. For each test we've awarded a point for matching the arcade experience, half a point for effort, or no points for getting it wrong.

Tests included looks, feel, sound, coin feeding, coin staging, aggression proofing, kick resilience, trackball options, awesome art, and two player compatibility.

There were also a few ways the pretenders were better than the real thing, so  so we have some bonus points for the competition.

Those include portability, power efficiency, home convenience, and cost.

So which comes closest?

Here's the point where you watch the video up top and find out!

Bottom line

If you want the genuine arcade experience then get a genuine arcade cabinet!

However, for those who have a more limited budget or more limited floor space and want to relive some of the glory days of arcade gaming, judging from our results, the iCade is your best choice.

  • $70.58 - ION iCade for iPad - Buy now
  • $49.99 Atari Arcade for iPad - Buy now
Anthony Casella