Playdate, app and recreation designer Panic’s first shot at , lastly has a agency worth and ship date, in addition to a bunch of shock options cooked up since its announcement in 2019. The tiny handheld gaming console will price $179, ship later this yr, and include a 24-game “season” doled out over 12 weeks. However now it additionally has a cute speaker dock and low-code recreation creation platform.
We first heard about Playdate greater than two years in the past, have been charmed by its clear look, funky crank management, and black and white show, and have been ready for information ever since. Panic’s impeccable design credentials mixed with Teenage Engineering’s inventive chops? It’s sure to be a pleasure to make use of, however there wasn’t rather more than that to go on.
Now the corporate has revealed all of the essential particulars we have been hoping for, and plenty of extra besides.
Initially we have been anticipating 12 video games to be delivered over 12 weeks, however within the intervening interval it appears they’ve collected extra titles than deliberate, and that preliminary “season” of video games has expanded to 24. Nobody is aware of precisely what to anticipate from these video games besides that they’re unique to the Playdate and plenty of use the crank mechanic in what seem like enjoyable and fascinating methods: turning a turntable, opening somewhat door, doing methods as a surfer, and so forth.
The workforce hasn’t determined how future video games can be distributed, although they appear to have some concepts. One other season? One-off releases? Definitely the presence of a brand new recreation by one-man indie hit parade Lucas Pope would promote like hotcakes.
However the debut of a brand new lo-fi recreation growth platform referred to as Pulp suggests a future the place self-publishing might also be an possibility. This pretty little web-based software lets anybody put collectively a recreation utilizing presets for issues like controls and actions, and should show to be a kind of tiny Twine in time.
A dock accent was introduced as properly, one thing to maintain your Playdate entrance and middle in your desk. The speaker-equipped dock, additionally a lemony yellow, acts as a magnetic charging cradle for the console, activating a kind of stationary mode with a clock and music participant (Poolsuite.fm, apparently, with authentic stress-free tunes). It even has two holes by which to place your pens (and Panic made a particular yellow pen only for the aim as properly).
The $179 worth could trigger some to balk — in any case, it’s significantly greater than a Nintendo 3DS and with the dock in all probability approaches the worth of a Change. However this isn’t meant to be a competitor with mainstream gaming — as a substitute, it’s a kind of anti-establishment system that embraces weirdness and gives one thing equally unfamiliar and undeniably enjoyable.
The workforce says that there can be every week’s warning earlier than orders might be positioned, and that they don’t plan to close orders down if stock runs out, however merely permit individuals to preorder and cancel at will till they obtain their unit. Delivery will start in late 2021, and if the 20,000 models within the preliminary run don’t cowl it, they’ll make extra and ship as they arrive in.
We hope to get one ourselves to check and evaluate, however since a part of the attraction of the entire thing is the timed launch and social facet of discovery and sharing, it’s greater than probably we’ll be experiencing it together with everybody else.
(This text initially acknowledged Playdate ships subsequent month, however it should truly ship later — preorders start subsequent month.)