Grumpy old man that I am, ThinkGeek's iCade retro arcade cabinet for the iPad was the only April Fools joke that I found vaguely amusing. Promising, then, that the retailer describes it as "our most posted, tweeted and blogged about product this April Fools" and suggests that a real-world version is in fact "a possibility." Geekosystem pestered ThinkGeek about the chance of the iCade - which looks like a desktop arcade cabinet, into which an Apple iPad slots - crossing over from comedy mock-up to legitimate device, and while there are several hurdles (not least Apple themselves) it's definitely being considered.
April Fool jokes online are generally tired, unfunny and just plain annoying, but there's usually one decent idea that slips through the net of mediocrity. ThinkGeek's iCade iPad arcade cabinet is obviously a joke - the "Availability: 80's" pretty much gives it away - but we can see plenty of people loving the concept of a proper arcade controller for some serious retro gaming with their shiny new Apple tablet.
When does retro go too far? We reckon this Korea-only LG Serie 1 Retro Classic TV is teetering on the edge, but we still love the idea of 4:3 14-inch CRT set with 60s-futuristic stylings. Although it may look like a TV you could stumble across in a second-hand store, LG have squeezed a digital TV tuner, composite input and a proper remote control into the package, just in case you're feeling too lazy to twiddle the (working) knobs.
Excellent news, old school vinyl lovers. Despite earlier reports from Technics Australia suggesting that parent company Panasonic were planning to axe the Technics 1200 and 1210 decks in February 2010, the company has issued a statement saying they have "no current plans" to discontinue the iconic turntables.
Since you can now pick up a set of chumby guts without bothering with the standard casing, the real fun for the platform is in fashioning a unique housing for the internet-connected widget display. That can be as basic as the cardboard box the components come with, or you can go the route of one particular Etsy seller and put together a somewhat Steampunk-esque retro enclosure.
Called the Chumbophone, as far as we can tell the various brass horns, controls and other appendages are all decorative rather than functional. The only real controls are the power button, the front panel key and the chumby's 3.5-inch 320 x 240 touchscreen, which is still enough to browse various web widgets, control music - either streaming or local - and do everything else that makes chumby so appealing.
Electronic versions of the classic Etch-a-Sketch aren't particularly unusual, but so far this is the first time we've seen Arduino-controlled knobs with physical resistance and a proper shake-to-clear integrated into such a project. The Hack-a-Sketch takes a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop and adds the usual two Etch-a-Sketch rotary knobs; this time, though, they're hooked up to two potentiometers which control the onscreen drawing.
Video demo after the cut
Retro-camera addicts may have remembered mutterings of Superheadz's Digital Harinezumi camera a few months back, the unusually-shaped Japanese shooter promising Super 8 style images and silent video. At the time, finding one outside of its native country was tougher than selling Nokia shares, but now arch-importers AudioCubes have stepped in with a $169.99 sticker price.
Whether you're an iPod owner or wouldn't be seen dead near one of Apple's PMPs, you can't argue the fact that the distinctive mediaplayers have had a huge impact on how rival devices are designed. That's why we're glad to see the Lisse Q10, a pleasingly retro PMP with a rather tactile looking control dial.
NES console mods are cool, HTPCs are pretty cool, and nettops with NVIDIA Ion graphics are darned cool too, so when you put all three elements together you've got a recipe for something with a whole lot of cool potential. Modder drumboog has been video documenting his work transforming a NES into an Atom 330 based Blu-ray HTPC with GeForce 9400M graphics, and while it's not quite complete yet, it's certainly 99-percent awesome.
Video after the cut