With all the third-party iPod docks cropping up on a regular basis, it was only a matter of time before someone upped the ante with a dock that did more than just play music. We’ve already begun to see novelty functions built into MP3 players, like Sony’s Rolly, and an expanding catalog of MP3 toys like Barbie dolls and Transformers with digital music players built right in. Docks offer even more potential because they lack size or power restraints, making them ripe for all sorts of extra features.
The iNo Interactive Game System is one such dock that delves into the realm of iPod-based entertainment. Since MP3 player docks are often marketed as party items to begin with, iNo takes the concept a step further by offering a party game that revolves around the iPod.
Like most good party games, it’s simple to play: one player puts his or her iPod into the dock and fires up a song. The others take turns guessing the name of the song, artist or album. After a number of rounds, the player with the highest number of correct guesses wins. Control of the dock rotates through different players, so everyone gets a chance to play their own music. It’s certainly not the most original or innovative concept, but we can easily imagine a room full of music buffs getting riled up over it with the right playlists.
The unit looks a bit an astronaut’s helmet. It’s a large white globe with a visor-like band of silver running across it where the speakers are housed. The iPod sits right up top, with some basic controls right below it. Players “buzz in” with one of four colorful wireless remotes. They can see their scores tabulated below the globe on a round base that has four LED scoreboards on it, one facing each direction.
Unfortunately, the iNo Interactive Game System is one of the most restrictive docks we’ve seen in terms of connector flexibility, since it only accommodates the 30GB, 80GB and Nano variants. In other words, the iPod shuffle, mini, and a slew of classic iPods are all out. This wouldn’t normally be such a drawback, but since the entire point of the game involves four separate people playing music from their respective iPods, compatibility is a major concern. We imagine it would be tough to round up four people with iPods that match the specs necessary for this dock, unless you keep company exclusively with Apple aficionados.
The iNo Interactive Game System retails for $79.99 USD through Target, which makes it priced comparably to many other iPod docks that have no party-game capabilities. If you’re looking for a way to liven things up at your next party without breaking out Twister, the iNo may just the thing, as long as you and your friends have the right players on hand.
*Edit 10/28/07 – We were contacted by the public relations department at Sababa Toys (the manufacturer of the iNo) and told that the iNo will retail for $99.99 instead of $79.99 (Target still has it listed for $79.99). The iNo also supports 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th generation iPods in addition to the 1st and second generation nano, iPod Touch and iPod classic.