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Simply a Blast
a plastic gun and augmented-reality games make the appfinity
appBlaster the best way to shoot stuff on your iPhone.
It’s been said that the simplest ideas
are the best. Spin Master’s Appfinity
AppBlaster looks to transcend the
complexities of gaming and turn a simple idea
into an addicting one.
At 18 inches long, the white and creamsicle-
orange AppBlaster will probably be one of the
largest iPhone accessories you’ll purchase. The
shoulder stock is removable. There’s no complex
software here; just clip your phone into a white
plastic case that secures onto the roof of the gun,
and assembly’s done.
When you pull one of the two triggers, a corre-
sponding pad on top of the gun moves forward to
touch the iPhone screen, where compatible games
have placed fire buttons.
Without any special apps or software to install,
getting straight to the shooting is incredibly easy.
Simply download one of the compatible games
and get started. The first—and best—one we
played was Alien Attack, a free game. There are
currently six others available for $1.99 apiece,
and more are on the way.
By using the iPhone’s camera and gyroscope
to capture your surroundings and movements, the
game creates an augmented real-
ity where you’ll see your enemies
floating around a live 360-degree
view of your cubicle, backyard, con-
ference room, church pew, or fancy
restaurant—wherever you choose to
It seems fair to say the creators
at Spin Master probably played more
than a few rounds of Nintendo’s Duck
Hunt back in the day, and in fact, there’s even a
compatible version of that game for the gadget. Not
to mention that the bright orange-and-white color
scheme rekindled love affairs with the archaic NES
Zapper. While it doesn’t utilize augmented reality
in the way Alien Attack does, it’s much easier and
more enjoyable to blast terrorists with a gun than
tapping the screen.
Simple, cheap, and fun.
That’s a pretty fail-proof
equation, and the $20
AppBlaster hits it on the nose.
Once developers make more
compatible games—we’d love
to see a Time Crisis rendition—
this will be the best way to shoot stuff on
— Oliver Renick
spin Master Ltd.
Needs more games
Discovery Bay Games
Simple, portable design
Clean, neat software
Overly sensitive joystick
Very loud buttons
Remember the good ol’ days when you’d go into
the local pizza joint for a slice and disappear from
civilization, only to leave the place some hours
later with a worn palm, less change in your pocket
and a three-letter alias at the top of a Centipede
high-score list? The Atari Arcade iPad dock looks to
recapture some of that nostalgia by pairing its retro
titles with a console, complete with joystick.
The Arcade has a plastic, oval-shaped dock
with the red Atari logo painted over a clean white
plastic finish. Measuring 11.2 x 7.4 x 2.3 inches
and weighing one pound, this accessory is light
but feels somewhat cheap. Your iPad or iPad 2 is
secured in place with adjustable grips, but the
30-pin connector will take some wiggling for your
tablet to slide in properly.
For such a small duplication of the giant arcade
booths, the Atari Arcade does a good job of replicat-
ing the feel of standing at the gaming center. The
dock’s ergonomics are satisfying, and the buttons
and joystick—although a little loose—felt nice in
The atari arcade offers nostalgic gameplay with old-school
controls and classic titles, but it costs a lot of quarters.
After downloading Atari’s Greatest Hits
app from the store, plug the iPad into the
device and the app will recognize your
new control scheme. Down-
loading the free app will give
you Missile Command,
but any other games
come at a price.
Buying one of
the 25 four-game
packs costs $1, and
getting the whole package
of 100 games will set you back $10.
Unfortunately, the four-game packs consist of
one well-known game, such as Centipede, with
three other spin-offs (i.e., Centipede 2600). What
that boils down to is about 20 or 25 games that
you’ll recognize. Of those, 10 or 12—titles such as
Asteroids, Gravitar, Lunar Lander, and Tempest—will
provide replay value.
Getting down to action in games such as
Asteroids and Lunar Lander was a blast, but the
joystick was a little jumpy. Just
nudging the knob in one direction
will jerk your cursor pretty far, making
titles such as Pong —where precision
is the name of the game—extremely
Don’t expect to play the Arcade
discretely, though; it’s extremely loud,
and the clicking and clacking of springs
will surely annoy anyone within earshot.
For veteran gamers, Atari’s gamepad will likely
be a fun blast from the past. However, the joy from
this $60 dock is fleeting.
— Oliver Renick
CLICK to pLay vIdeo
Caught on video.
Laptop | February 2012
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