Nowadays when we talk about gaming consoles, we usually think of Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox.
But around two years ago, Panic, a publisher known for Firewatch and Untitled Goose Game, revealed to the world their cute little retro handheld console known as Playdate.
Playdate is an incredibly small handheld console designed to offer a unique and different gaming experience inspired by retro games, but not exclusively focused on retro gaming.
The console has a seemingly minimalistic design, with basic A, B, and D-pad buttons, but it also comes with a unique gimmick in a form of a crank which can be used to navigate through menus and settings, and it will also have a prominent role in playing the games, which are specifically designed with the crank in mind.
If this sounds intriguing to you, and you are interested to find out more, you are at the right place! Here's everything you need to know about Playdate!
Playdate pre-order and release date
After more than two years since the initial announcement, Panic has now revealed that Playdate will soon become available for pre-order.
As revealed in their most recent update video, Playdate will become available for pre-order in July 2020.
The exact date hasn't yet be revealed, but Panic co-founder Cabel Sasser said that they will announce the pre-order starting date a week in advance so that everyone that's interested will be able to pre-order the console.
The Playdate Stereo Dock will be sold separately (Picture: Panic)
Furthermore, Sasser confirmed that they don't plan to limit the number of units, and will continue to produce and sell the console as long as there is interest in it.
"The sooner you order, the sooner you’ll get yours, but we’re not going to close the door on you," Sasser explained. "If we sell way more Playdates than we planned, given how constrained parts are right now due to covid-19, it might take a while for you to get your Playdate. We’ll be working constantly with the factory to adjust for demand and we’ll be talking to you every step of the way."
Playdate price: How much it cost and what do I get?
The price of Playdate is US$179, plus shipping and taxes.
For that money, you will get the console itself, a USB-C to USB-A cable, a user manual, and 24 completely free games in Season 1.
The Playdate Stereo Dock
The Playdate Stereo Dock serves as a charger, but also as stereo speakers, and a pen holder, along with a pen which comes as a part of the package.
The Playdate Stereo Dock will be available for purchase separately, and its price will be announced at a later date.
Playdate Season 1: What free games will you get?
Some of the games from Season 1 (Picture: Panic)
Panic has announced that the console will launch alongside what they call Season 1.
During a 12-week period, Playdate owners will get 24 games in total, at the pace of two games per week.
While these games seem simplistic, they are actually designed exclusively for the console and will offer various unique experiences and different genres, with many of them being designed by well-known developers, like Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy, Wattam), Bennett Foddy (QWOP, Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy), and Zach Gage (Ridiculous Fishing, Card of Darkness)
Here is a full list of free games coming in Season 1:
- Crankin's Time Travel Adventure
- Battleship Godios
- Boogie Loops
- Casual Birder
- DemonQuest 85
- Echoic Memory
- Executive Golf DX
- Flipper Lifter
- Forrest Byrnes: Up in Smoke
- Hyper Meteor
- Lost Your Marbles
- Pick Pack Pup
- Questy Chess
- Saturday Edition
- Whitewater Wipeout
But this is just the beginning, as Panic has already revealed that a renowned developer Lucas Pope, know for creating Papers Please and Return of the Obra Dinn, works on a game called Mars After Midnight, which will come in later seasons.
Additionally, everyone who owns Playdate will be able to make their own games even if they aren't good at programming, thanks to the new browser-based development app called Pulp.
Playdate system specifications
- Battery: 14 days standby clock and 8 hours active
- CPU: 180 MHz Cortex M7, SDK supports Lua, C
- Storage: 16 MB RAM, 32 KB L1Cache, 4 GB Flash
- Wireless: 802.11bgn 2.4GHz Wi-Fi Bluetooth
- Sound: Built-In Mono Speaker, Stereo Headphone Jack, Condenser Mic + TRRS Mic In
- Display: 400 × 240 1-bit
- Inputs: D-pad, A+B, Sleep+Menu, 3-Axis Accelerometer, Crank
- Size: 76 × 74 × 9 mm