Last week, Portland-based publishing studio Panic announced that there would be a video update for our little yellow friend, the Playdate. Fortunately, the wait for the video update wasn’t too long, and the Playdate Update was released today, and it showed off a handful of new goodies, from a new accessory, to previews of the games included in Season One.
Playdate Stereo Dock
The first thing announced was the Playdate Stereo Dock, an accessory to which the Playdate can magnetically attached. While attached, it charges the Playdate, and outputs the handheld’s audio through a more powerful speaker. This speaker can play music via Poolsuite FM, an app announced for the Playdate which plays “Summer songs”, accompanied with 1-bit videos. The dock also has a penholder, and in turn Playdate is including a Playdate-brand ballpoint pen. Unfortunately, the dock does not appear to have any video output, so it’s unlikely this will function similarly to the Switch dock.
The second topic in the Playdate Update was about the most important part of a gaming console: the games. The games to be included in Season One were announced first, and 21 out of the 24 games were named, and shown with title cards. These games will be included with the price of the handheld, and will be coming sometime within the first 12 weeks post-launch.
Crankin’s Time Travel Adventures
Executive Golf DX
Forrest Byrnes: Up In Smoke
Lost Your Marbles
Pick Pack Pup
Though those were all the games guaranteed for Season One, those were not all the games shown off in the Playdate Update. Two developers in particular were featured, including Sweet Baby Inc., who are working on Lost Your Marbles, Recommendation Dog, and Reel Steal, and Lucas Pope, known for 1-bit indie game Return of the Obra Dinn, working on a title called Mars After Midnight. There was also a developer preview, which showed short clips of the following games, which are currently being developed for the Playdate.
Widget Satchel II: Return of Sprocket
Oxy Con Brio
Date of Life
A cute little Mario Paint-esque music box
The next thing announced was Playdate Pulp, a game development kit for the Playdate that requires no prior experience of coding or game development. Panic have stressed that they want anyone to be able to develop games for the Playdate, and this seems to be the way they intend to go about it. Pulp is a web browser-based development kit that is intended to be accessible to anyone interested in developing games.
One thing they did not address, however, is how these games will be published. They did say that any game you create can be downloaded straight to your Playdate, but they did not discuss if there would be any digital storefront to which these games could be published for others to download and play.
Preorders are obviously a pretty important part of indie game releases like this one, and Panic addressed that with a segment towards the end of the Playdate Update. Preorders for the Playdate will start next month, July 2021, and the console will cost $179.
Preorders for the console are to gauge demand, and work with the factory producing the consoles to get them out in a timely manner. They do not intend to “sell out” on orders of the Playdate, and clarified that anyone who wants one will be able to get one. They also clarified that preorders can be cancelled at any time, for any reason.
The Playdate Update wrapped up with a charming ad that explained the Playdate and Season One. The ad did include the slightly worrying information that the Playdate will not have a backlight, but elaborated that the screen is “extremely reflective” and said that the Playdate can be played by candlelight. Anyone who owned a Game Boy back in the day will know the struggles of trying to play in the car at nighttime, or in a poorly lit room, so hopefully the reflective screen of the Playdate will mitigate these issues.
That’s it for all the content included in the Playdate Update. To anyone interested in the Playdate, I recommend checking out the full video for a charming look at the device and upcoming games. If nothing else, it’s at least worth checking out the ad at the end of the video.
Will you be preordering the Playdate? Let us know which games you’re excited for over on Twitter.