What began as an April Fools’ Day joke has turned out to be a product surrounded by plenty of discussion. ThinkGeek’s iCade gaming accessory offers up both a nostalgic look and play experience by providing 80′s-era controls to the iPad’s normally touchscreen only experience.

The idea of using your iPad as the screen and circuit board to complete an arcade cabinet was passed off as any kind of successful spoof product. What seemed so unfathomable was the idea for a user to pay over $100 just to get tactile feedback. Yet, here we are with a product that’s now available for pre-order and shipping in a month’s time.

iCade features:

• Beautifully retro-styled tabletop arcade cabinet
• Compatibility with iPad and iPad 2
• Bluetooth joystick and button control pad

How does it work? Remove the top of the iCade, carefully slide your iPad or iPad 2 into the holder, and replace the iCade’s top cover. The control input uses Bluetooth for painless wireless connectivity, requiring only a simple enabling of the Bluetooth service on an iPad and a quick pairing.

ThinkGeek has worked closely with Atari to provide the first iCade compatible app with tons of classic games to make things complete. You may have already noticed, purchased, and played this retro gaming package: Atari’s Greatest Hits. Atari’s Greatest Hits includes more than 100 arcade and Atari 2600 titles, but my favorites are Asteroids, Missile Command, Pong, and Warlords.

Atari’s Greatest Hits should keep most occupied for now, however, the iCade control API will be released in the not overly distant future to allow developers the capability to create — or add to their current offerings — iCade compatible games.

Atari’s Greatest Hits is a universal app compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch running iOS 3.0 or later. The game is available as a free download from the App Store now, and includes Pong to start you off. Additional games are available in four pack packages for $.99 or the entire set for $14.99. ThinkGeek’s iCade is available for pre-order from ThinkGeek.com for $99.99. iCade is only available to residents of the United States.