Playdate, The Newest Retro-Inspired Handheld Gaming, Is Almost Preordered-Out

[Click here to view the video in this article]

Image via Playdate

Panic Inc., the company that published Untitled Goose Game and Firewatch, is releasing a neat little game device called the Playdate. When preorders opened on July 29 just last week, 20,000 units were sold in 17 minutes.

Playdate is its new-yet-retro take on a handheld video game system, made in collaboration with Stockholm-based company Teenage Engineering. Don’t underestimate its size: even at 76 x 74 x 9mm (3 x 2.9 x 0.4”), the handy little device still packs a punch.

Its display is a non-backlit reflective black and white screen, and doesn’t turn off when not in use; instead, it turns into a low-power clock. There’s a D-Pad and two buttons, and a crank on the side.

“Is it a gimmick? Nah. Does it charge Playdate’s battery? Nope. Is it really fun? Yes yes yes,” writes Playdate’s website. It goes on to explain that the crank is actually another way to control the device: “allowing you to precisely dial in the action.” Not every game uses it, but there is definitely the potential.

Image via Playdate

The 180MHz Cortex M7, 16MB RAM system comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a trove of indie games is scheduled to be delivered via this wireless function. In a unique feature called Seasons, two new games are delivered to players every week for 12 weeks for free upon the purchase of the console.

Developing games for the Playdate is easy, too: the team is releasing its SDK for free download. A highly accessible software, all users will need is a web browser. This promises an eclectic, unique mix of games from developers and users alike.

For all its cool factor and convenient yet fun design, plus the 24 free games that come alongside the device, it sits at just US$179 and can be found here. There are also accessories available to jazz up the console, such as a stereo dock (which also charges the device) and a nifty case to protect it during travel.

Image via Playdate

“If we made hardware, and built a tiny little game system that came with lots of surprise games, would that make people happy?” was what the team wondered. Given the staunch success of the first preorder batch so far, it’s clear to see that the answer is a resounding yes.

Image via Playdate

Image via Playdate

In just one week, it's time to pre-order your Playdate.

Join us on Thursday, July 29th 2021, at 10:00 AM PDT.

— Playdate (@playdate) July 22, 2021

It's always hard to explain Playdate's black and white, no-backlight screen with words… but here's a great video of Playdate outside in natural light.

(This is the very cool Pullfrog from @amanogames_, who are taking part in our Developer Preview.)

— Playdate (@playdate) June 15, 2021

[via Forbes, images via Playdate]

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