I was skimming through Arstechnica and saw this weird little yellow box that looked like a squished GameBoy with a hand-crank. It’s called the Playdate, and it will be available for pre-order in July.
We’ll give you the basic rundown in my typical blunt style. It’s a portable game system that will feature lots of indie games. It’s a true boutique item.
Yes, that crank is functional. What does it do? In Playdate’s own words, “Yes, the crank. Is it a gimmick? Nah. Does it charge Playdate’s battery? Nope. Is it really fun? Yes yes yes. It’s an analog controller that flips out from the side, allowing you to precisely dial in the action. Not every game uses it, but some really do …”
It works with some games. I don’t want to be a contrarian, but that does make it a bit of a gimmick. Hey, a new way to play … but will you want to play something that way at length?
The Playdate will also come with games:
Here’s the truly unique bit. Playdate isn’t just an empty system. Once you set up your Playdate, you’ll start to receive two brand new games… every week. For 12 weeks.
That’s 24 free games, in lots of genres. Some are short. Some are long. Will you love them all? Probably not. Will you have a great time trying them? Absolutely.
That’s a step up from the Ouya, for sure. The first “season” of games features the following titles from a list of developers.
● Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure, developed by uvula (Keita Takahashi, Ryan Mohler), Matthew Grimm, and Shaun Inman
● Battleship Godios, developed by TPM.CO SOFT WORKS
● Boogie Loops, developed by May-Li Khoe and Andy Matuschak
● Casual Birder, developed by Diego Garcia; music/sound by Max Coburn
● DemonQuest 85, developed by Alex Ashby, Lawrence Bishop, Duncan Fyfe, Belinda Leung, and Jared Emerson-Johnson
● Echoic Memory, developed by Samantha Kalman, Everest Pipkin, Carol Mertz, and Rachelle Viola
● Executive Golf DX, developed by davemakes
● Flipper Lifter, developed by Serenity Forge
● Forrest Byrnes: Up in Smoke, developed by Nels Anderson and Christina “castpixel” Neofotistou
● Hyper Meteor, developed by Vertex Pop
● Lost Your Marbles, developed by Sweet Baby Inc. & Friends
● Omaze, developed by Gregory Kogos.
● Pick Pack Pup, developed by Nic Magnier and Arthur Hamer; music by Logan Gabriel
● Questy Chess, developed by Dadako
● Ratcheteer, developed by Shaun Inman, Matthew Grimm, and Charlie Davis
● Sasquatchers, developed by Chuck Jordan; music/sound by Jared Emerson-Johnson
● Snak, developed by Zach Gage; art by Neven Mrgan
● Spellcorked!, developed by Jada Gibbs, Nick Splendorr, Ryan Splendorr, and Tony Ghostbrite; music by A Shell in the Pit (Em Halberstadt)
● Zipper, developed by Bennett Foddy
● Saturday Edition, developed by Chris Makris; music by A Shell in the Pit (Gord McGladdery, Alfonso Salinas)
● Whitewater Wipeout, developed by Chuhai Labs
Specs? Yup, here they are:
Oh, this thing is niche. It’s quirky and would make an interesting display piece. As a console that you’d continually play? Not so much from what I’ve seen. If it were about $100 cheaper, I’d totally get it.
What do you think of the Playdate? Innovation or innovat-yawn? Let us know in the comments.