Playdate (console)

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Playdate
Playdate Logo.svg

Playdate handheld video game console with crank.
Playdate handheld video game console.

Playdate with the crank in an open position (above)
and with the crank tucked away into the side slot (below)
Also known asAsheville (code name)
DeveloperPanic Inc.
TypeHandheld game console
Release date2020
Introductory price
System-on-chip usedEspressif Systems ESP32
CPUSTMicroelectronics STM32 F746 180 MHz
Memory16 MB
Storage2 GB flash storage
Display
  • 2.7-inch, 400 × 240 (173 ppi)
  • Sharp Memory LCD
Connectivity
Mass86 grams
Websiteplay.date

Playdate is an handheld video game console by Panic that will come out in 2020. It was first introduced on May 22, 2019 on the cover of Edge magazine.[1] Panic worked with Teenage Engineering, a Swedish consumer electronics company, to design the Playdate.

The Playdate has a black-and-white 1-bit screen, 4 way directional pad, two game buttons, and a mechanical crank on the side.[2]

Technical specifications[change | change source]

The Playdate will allow games that are not part of a season to be sideloaded without needing to jailbreak it.[3] Games are made using an SDK that comes with a simulator and debugger and works with C and Lua, which are programming languages.[4] It is only available with the developer kit for Mac. However, in a response, Playdate said they are open to creating software for Windows, and compiling is already available, and the simulator is a work in progress.[5]

The screen technology used is Sharp's Memory LCD, which has some features of e-paper displays.[6] Each pixel can remember if it is black or white without having to be refreshed, resulting in faster refreshing and lower power usage, whilst also being "viewable in any light, from edge-of-vision darkness to brightest sunlight" and having a wide 170° viewing angle.[7]

Games[change | change source]

Games for the handheld will come out in 12-game "seasons". A new game will sent over Wi-Fi every week. Each game's contents will be kept secret until the week it comes out, and will be automatically downloaded. The first season of games are included in the price of the console.[8] Video games are made by Panic, and notable indie game developers such as Keita Takahashi, Zach Gage, Bennett Foddy, Shaun Inman, and Chuck Jordan.[1][9] Future game titles include Crankin's Time Travel Adventure, b360, Zipper, Executive Golf DX, Snak, and Sasquatchers.[9][10]

List of Playdate games
Season Title Developer(s) Publisher Release date Ref.
1 b360 Panic Inc. Panic Inc. 2020 [11]
1 Crankin's Time Travel Adventure Keita Takahashi, Shaun Inman Panic Inc. 2020 [9][11]
1 Executive Golf DX Dave Makes Panic Inc. 2020 [11][12]
1 Sasquatchers Chuck Jordan Panic Inc. 2020 [9]
1 Snak Zach Gage Panic Inc. 2020 [9]
1 Zipper Bennett Foddy Panic Inc. 2020 [9][11]

Ideals[change | change source]

In a developer survey, Panic said they would like to include games by underrepresented developers, and said season one contains games by women, and games by "queer/trans/enby" people.[13]

Criticism[change | change source]

In May 2019, Panic was told off after the details of an email they had sent to an indie video game event that was also named Playdate should change its name to avoid confusion.[14] The next day, one of Panic's founders cancelled the request, saying "My intention was always to find a way for our Playdates to co-exist [...] but we remain fine with you using the name Playdate."[15] On January 29, 2020, the team behind the event (now named "Playdate Pop Up") announced Panic was joining the event as a sponsor, and would help the event to be considered as non-profit.[16]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 News, Edge Staff 2019-05-22T22:00:00Z. "Playdate, a new handheld console backed by indie royalty, unveiled in new issue of Edge magazine". gamesradar. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  2. Fahey, Mike. "The People Who Published Firewatch Are Now Making A Game Console With, Uh, A Crank". Kotaku. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  3. Playdate (May 26, 2019). "It WILL be open. You will always be able to side load games onto it, no jail breaking required". @playdate. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  4. "Playdate, a tiny game console with a big pedigree". Boing Boing. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  5. "r/PlaydateConsole - Testing games on Windows is make or break for me". reddit. Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  6. Mrgan, Neven (May 25, 2019). "Believe it or not, the Sharp Memory LCD is quite expensive—much more so than a typical display today. But we like its unique look, and making something different is our motivation!". @mrgan. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  7. "Sharp Memory in Pixel Displays - Sharp". www.sharpsma.com. Retrieved May 28, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  8. Webster, Andrew (May 22, 2019). "Playdate is an adorable handheld with games from the creators of Qwop, Katamari, and more". The Verge. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Simpkins, Jen (May 23, 2019). "Small Wonder". Edge. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  10. "12週にわたって毎週ゲームが届くユニークな携帯ゲーム機"Playdate"が発表。『塊魂』高橋慶太氏や、あのツボ男ゲーのベネット・フォディ氏らが新作を提供予定". ファミ通.com (in Japanese). Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Playdate (May 22, 2019). "But here's the trick: every game is a secret. They're all included with system, and they will be delivered to you each week, for a few months. Our dream is simple: that you wake up on new game day excited to see what you can play next.pic.twitter.com/gq6woriP4h". @playdate. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  12. "This New Gaming Handheld Has a Crank (!!) And Looks Cool as Hell". Waypoint - Forum. May 26, 2019. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  13. Gach, Ethan. "Crank Gaming Handheld's Creators Trying To Make Amends For Poorly Worded Email". Kotaku. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  14. Klepek, Patrick (May 28, 2019). "That Gaming Handheld With a Crank Asked a Queer Games Showcase to Change Its Name". Waypoint. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  15. Cabel (May 28, 2019). "My intention was always to find a way for our Playdates to co-exist joyfully. I was worried we would overshadow yours. That sounded entitled – I'm sorry. I thought your idea to add "pop up" was great, but we remain fine with you using the name Playdate. Please, keep using it.pic.twitter.com/Ysxd8m7GXA". @cabel. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  16. The Playdate Pop Up 2020 Team (January 29, 2020). "Welcome to 2020 - The Playdate Pop Up Blog". Retrieved March 21, 2020.