I’ve been a happy owner of a playdate game console for a week now. I ordered it in July 2021 and finally received it a mere 1.5 years later. Since then I’ve really enjoyed the console. Every animation, every sound somehow expresses the joy and dedication that Cable Sasser and his team at Panic evidently put into the development of this – while rather expensive piece of hardware.
I really like the first two games of Series 1 so far and they couldn’t be more different. Whitewater Wipeout is quite a challenging game of skill in the spirit of California Games, which I played with friends for hours on the C64 and immediately brought back fond memories. The game makes very good use of the crank. At first I was happy about 200 points, meanwhile it’s a few thousand and my sons, who grew up with graphically bombastic touchscreen games on iPad and Co. or complex titles on the PS4, also liked it straight away and now fill the high score. However, how you can achieve several million points in this game will probably always remain a mystery to me.
Casual Birder is „a snap-‚em-all adventure set in beautiful seaside Bird Town“ and also entertaining. However, I haven’t really progressed very far here.
I’m definitely looking forward to the next 20 games that are included in the purchase price, which also puts it into perspective, and I’m excited for the upcoming store (aka catalog).
Meanwhile, you can load your own games and applications onto the device via USB or a website (called sideload). A probably almost complete overview of all projects can be found on the playdate community wiki. The games are often offered on itch.io and usually cost somewhere between $1 and $10.
So far I’ve been into Bloom, „a real-time narrative-driven social sim about starting up a flower shop“ and Rocket Bytes, „a 1-bit precision rocket flying reverse platformer“. The former is just plain nice, the latter hard as hell. Other games I would like to check out are EYELAND, Daily Driver (Tech Demo) and A Balanced Brew. And if you have a dollar left over, you can also buy A Joke Thats Worth $0.99 for a smile.
As if that weren’t enough, Panic has an app called Mirror that allows games to be streamed and recorded directly to a monitor. Accessibility has also been considered. And then of course there’s the development environment, once in professional and as if that wasn’t enough, also a comprehensive web editor, with which you can develop really professional games in the browser.
It was also a good thing that I have been the happy owner of an AnkerMake M5 since December 2022, so I was able to get a suitable Magnetic Cover, because unfortunately I didn’t have the official ordered and now the shipping would be more expensive than the case itself ;-(
I’m excited to see how the little yellow part will continue, I’m looking forward to regular game updates for the next eleven weeks and at the same time I’ll be listening to the official podcast. Long story short: for me personally a really compelling overall package.