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Published on March 3rd, 2012 | by Greg

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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.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Appleā€™s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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