Playdate handheld console gets new details, games announcement and pre-order window

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You might recall the quirky Playdate, the handheld gaming console with a manual crank on the side, that was announced back in 2019. Well, it's still happening and in a video update streamed today, we got new details about this upcoming indie console from video game publisher Panic.


As part of its "Season 1", the Playdate will receive 24 free games, including a new title from Return Of The Obra Dinn's creator. The season lasts for a period of 12 weeks where every week, two new games automatically download onto the device. The title screen, names and developers of 21 of Season 1's games have been revealed and Panic says that there will be "a few extra surprise games along the way". Additional details about the gameplays have been intentionally kept under wraps. Below you can find information about the revealed titles (courtesy of The Verge):

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  • Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure by uvula (Keita Takahashi, Ryan Mohler), Matthew Grimm, and Shaun Inman
  • Battleship Godios by TPM.Co Soft Works.
  • Casual Birder by Diego Garcia with music by Max Coburn
  • DemonQuest 85 by Alex Ashby, Lawrence Bishop, Duncan Fyfe, Belinda Leung, and Jared Emerson-Johnson
  • Echoic Memory by Samantha Kalman, Everest Pipkin, Carol Mertz, and Rachelle Viola
  • Executive Golf DX by davemakes
  • Flipper Lifter by Serenity Forge
  • Forrest Byrnes: Up in Smoke by Nels Anderson and Christina “castpixel” Neofotistou
  • Hyper Meteor by Vertex Pop (Mobeen Fikree, Robby Duguay, and h heron)
  • Lost Your Marbles by Sweet Baby Inc. & Friends
  • Omaze by Gregory Kogos
  • Pick Pack Pup by Nic Magnier and Arthur Hamer (he/him) with music by Logan Gabriel
  • Questy Chess by Dadako
  • Ratcheteer by Shaun Inman, Matthew Grimm, and Charlie Davis
  • Sasquatchers by Chuck Jordan with music and sound by Jared Emerson-Johnson
  • Snak by Zach Gage with art by Neven Mrgan
  • Spellcorked! by Jada Gibbs, Nick Splendorr, Ryan Splendorr, and Tony Ghostbrite with music by A Shell in the Pit (Em Halberstadt)
  • Zipper by Bennett Foddy
  • Saturday Edition by Chris Makris with music by A Shell in the Pit (Gord McGladdery, Alfonso Salinas)
  • Whitewater Wipeout by Chuhai Labs (Giles Goddard, Mark Lentz, Peter Traylor, Hero Liao, Remy Thor, Charlie March, Kensaku Nakata, Zach Aikman, Mihoko Terao, and Kinsey Burke)
Also announced today are a couple of accessories. First we have the "Stereo Dock" that works as a Bluetooth speaker and a pen holder but no pricing have been revealed for it. Then we have the $29 magnetic cover.

speaker.PNG

cover playdate.png playdate specs.PNG

The Playdate will cost $179 and pre-orders will open sometime in July. Once you own one, you will also be able to create your own games with the free SDK and the browser-based Pulp game maker. As for side-loading games, the company says that it is easy to do so directly onto the handheld.

:arrow: Playdate Official Website
 

MikaDubbz

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Why make it black and white? Just why?
I think if it were full color and/or backlit, people might take it to be something more serious than it's set out to be. Though that price is more than I'd consider putting down for what I perceive the device to be about. Seems like it's supposed to be a niche fun little knick-knack for your desk, but at $179 it's asking to be taken more seriously, a Switch Lite is $199, so I'm confused lol.
 
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pedro702

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hell no, 179$ for a novelty thing? seems way to much, just put 20$ on top and buy a switch lite lol

serious its not even in color and the games will be a simplified as ever, this will die a quick and silent death, they will loose money like hell, i doubt they will even break even with this thing.
 

Harsky

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I keep seeing clone consoles based on this design that I assumed it was already released and the manufacturers are just using leftover plastic and cheap components to make the clone consoles.
 

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I tend to not care a whole lot about handheld consoles like the Evercade or the twelve-billion Dingoo-like devices that get released nowadays as they're all basically the same thing. But this actually looks cool and interesting because its doing own thing with the crank gimmick and it has an unique library of games.
 

inetkun

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The more I see about this, the more I want one. I was tangentially interested initially, but after today's video I'm all but sold.

The dock is super nifty, the curated music that is baked in to that functionality, and even the weirdest addition; the pen, is oddly alluring. The games themselves look utterly charming and the "surprise, you have a new game!" delivery system is a unique way to distribute games. Keita Takahashi (Katamari) is involved with a game here and Lucas Pope (Obra Din) has been confirmed to be working on something as well. The ability for anyone to jump in and create a game easily using a web UI hopefully means that tons of creatives will see potential here to do interesting things. Which means more games.

I'm not expecting anything groundbreaking here in terms of AAA or GOTY experiences, but you can tell a lot of thought has been put into this product, and I hope that we see many seasons of games in the future. Honestly this might be a neat thing to toss on my desk at work and mess around with every once in a while. I think that's the intention behind it, and I like that a lot.
 
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GenNaz

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Honestly I'm a hell of a lot more interested in this than all these portable PCs and emulation boxes we've been seeing recently. The look and premise of this thing is so god damn charming. It's hard to stomach the price though. At $100-$120 this would be a no brainer but at $179 I just don't know.
 
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orangy57

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This has popped up here a couple times and it's just an extra-gimmicky Arduboy/PocketChip at an even higher price point. I don't see the appeal of this for anyone besides 25+ year-old millennials and some bored aspiring dev teenagers with a ton of money to blow. Maybe it's cool for developers to get to work with limitations by intentionally buying a underpowered device with an awful resolution and no colors, but at the end of the day you're just paying a ton of money for a product that's the equivalent of a souped-up gameboy.

Development on these things also slows due to boredom, if someone were to make a new device like this that had multiplayer support and an emulator for phones maybe then there would be an actual ecosystem of players who play games together, and it would inspire more development. There's no incentive to make an Arduboy/Chip-8 game with your friends since you can't play them together.
 
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