Published on March 3rd, 2012 | by Greg0
iPad Gaming Accessories From Discovery Bay
Gaming on the iPad has a great deal to offer. From classic board games that translate well into electronic versions (Ticket to Ride, Scrabble, Boggle), and music-based games like Groove or Auditorium, and plenty of RPGs or puzzles, we've seen the platform handle most types capably. The library of titles is ever expanding of course, as the App Store selection swells in every direction. But there have always been a couple of small issues with iPad gaming- problems that are true with all tablets and are certain to be the case with the iPad 3 as well.
The first issue is with controlling fast-twitch arcade games. We're big fans of Atari classics, so the Atari Arcade got us excited- it's a cute piece of hardware that serves as a combination iPad dock and joystick/button control pad. Plug your iPad into the base, and then you can play Missile Command for free once you download the available app, or download other games for an additional charge. It sounds great- until some fine print catches up and reality sets in. The joystick is not particularly solid, the base a bit unstable, and the unit feels fairly cheap. You'll pay for additional games, but most of the 99 in the full package are terrible, some of them Atari games that aren't really made for joysticks and don't play well. If you have other games- Pac-Man, for instance- they won't work with this controller; the only compatible titles are those in the "Greatest Hits" app so far as we can tell. That said, Crystal Castles and Asteroids, Adventure and Centipede are fun, but those are about the only four we liked. Overall, at $60, the price doesn't really justify the hardware unfortunately.
But that doesn't mean iPad gaming 'appcessories' have nothing to offer! We liked Discovery Bay's Duo Pop quite a bit. Much like the GameChanger, the goal of this add-on is to enable multiple people to play around one iPad. Unlike the GameChanger, this one had more appeal to adults, and enabled up to four of us to play quiz-type games using the included buzzers. Think "You Don't Know Jack" trivia- an SNL game is available that is pretty fun- and with a few different apps the system can appeal to families or just about anyone. Granted, we wished that we could actually play the YDKJ game using these controllers, but the three available apps were free which was nice (and can be played solo without the controllers). Extra question packs cost $2 or $3, and the other two titles are Guesstimation and Highlights Hidden Pictures Countdown. According to the official site, an app called "New York Times Swoop" will be coming, though we have no additional details. At $40 and available widely online and in stores, this is an easy way to pull friends into a quick game, or keep the kids quiet if you only have a single tablet and sharing isn't coming naturally.