If you’re longing for some modern day retro gaming, the new Playdate is a wonderfully designed gadget that features brand-new games on a pocket-sized screen, like the original Gameboy by Nintendo (from the eighties). A new twist is the crank on the side, which is actually used as a unique gameplay mechanic.
What is the Playdate?
The Playdate is a bright yellow, handheld gaming device, designed by Teenage Engineering and made by Panic, known for their very funny Untitled Goose Game.
It runs on a rechargeable battery for a total of 8 hours of playing time, which you can charge with a supplied USB cable.
The display is black and white, without a backlight, but supposedly very reflective so that you can always clearly see the games you’re playing. It’s always on and doubles as low-power alarm clock when you’re not playing games.
The Playdate also features a very loud speaker and a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack so you don’t disturb your environment.
In true Teenage Engineering fashion, the Playdate already has a set of hipster accessories ready to accompany it. There’s a bluetooth speaker dock (with a pen) as well as a magnetic snap-on cover lined up for launch.
- Design by Teenage Engineering
- Black and White screen
- Special crank
- 400 × 240 1-bit display
- 180 MHz Cortex M7 CPU, SDK supports Lua, C
- 16 MB RAM
- 4GB Flash memory
- Dimensions: 76 × 74 × 9 mm
Don’t expect some kind of emulator running Tetris or Pokémon. When you buy the Playmate, you’ll get a season’s worth of games. What does this mean?
Every week, you’ll get 2 new games on your Playdate device, for a total of 12 weeks. This way, you’ll stay engaged with your gaming machine. The official Playdate website lets you get a sneak peek at the cover art for all the upcoming games.
What’s more is that it’s very easy for developers to get on board with the SDK and develop new games for the Playdate. There’s even a web-based game development environment for you to manage your game development, which looks very nice if you enjoy to design your own games (such as Gamestudio on the Switch).
And if you’re wondering, yes someone did already run Doom on it:
Who is the Playdate for?
The Playdate looks ideal for people missing that retro era of gaming, where you took out your bulky Game Boy to play games on the go. It doesn’t pack the same weight as the old Gameboy, but the cute black and white screen certainly gives you a dose of nostalgia.
It has a collection of unique games that you can’t find on any other game store, so depending on the quality of development teams, you might be in for a good amount of gaming time, hardcore game collectors will want to have one.
Finally, we see this as a collector’s item for the design itself. Teenage Engineering usually attracts an audience that enjoys the products because of their design aesthetic and this device will be no exception, it truly looks great.
Where can I buy the Playdate?
The Playdate can be pre-ordered on its official website via the link below. The devices are manufactured on demand, so placing an order at the time of writing, you will have a unit shipped to you in 2022 (the first batch sold out in a little over 15 minutes!).