Playdate Update Wrap Up – The Games, The Stereo Dock, and Preorder Details

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By Chris Penwell on June 8th, 2021

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The Playdate is an intriguing handheld device with a unique 1-bit look and a crank controller, and this week, we received new information on the peculiar product. Here’s the downlow on everything that Playdate announced during its first Direct-style update video.

Playdate stereo dock

Panic announced a new accessory for its new system. Co-developed by Teenage Engineering, this stereo dock does four different things

  • Similarly to the Switch, it acts as a way to store and charge the Playdate while not being played. It can’t be docked to the TV.
  • It’s a Bluetooth speaker making games sound better.
  • Poolsuite FM, a collection of summer songs is playable on your Playdate device.
  • It’s a pen holder and you are given your own ballpoint pen with purchase.

The stereo dock will be coming soon.

Playdate season 1

Saturday Edition Playdate

There will now be 24 games for the Playdate’s first season. This means that there will be two free games every Friday for three months. It will come free with the purchase of your system. This is the promising selection so far from the press release with three more yet to be announced:

  • 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 (he/him). Music and Sound by: Max Coburn (he/him).
  • DemonQuest 85
    • Developed by: Alex Ashby (he/him), Lawrence Bishop (he/him), Duncan Fyfe (he/him), Belinda Leung (she/her), and Jared Emerson-Johnson (he/him).
  • Echoic Memory
    • Developed by: Samantha Kalman (she/her), Everest Pipkin (they/them), Carol Mertz (she/her), and Rachelle Viola (she/her).
  • Executive Golf DX
    • Developed by: davemakes (they/them).
  • Flipper Lifter
    • Developed by: Serenity Forge.
  • Forrest Byrnes: Up in Smoke
    • Developed by: Nels Anderson (he/him) and Christina “castpixel” Neofotistou (she/her).
  • Hyper Meteor
    • Developed by: Vertex Pop (Mobeen Fikree [he/him], Robby Duguay [he/him], and h heron[they/them]).
  • Lost Your Marbles
    • Developed by: Sweet Baby Inc. & Friends.
  • Omaze
    • Developed by: Gregory Kogos.
  • Pick Pack Pup
    • Developed by: Nic Magnier (he/him), Arthur Hamer (he/him). Music by: Logan Gabriel (he/him).
  • Questy Chess
    • Developed by: Dadako.
  • Ratcheteer
    • Developed by: Shaun Inman, Matthew Grimm, and Charlie Davis.
  • Sasquatchers
    • Developed by: Chuck Jordan. Music and Sound by: Jared Emerson-Johnson.
  • Snak
    • Developed by: Zach Gage (he/him). Art by: Neven Mrgan (he/him).
  • 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 (he/him).
  • Saturday Edition
    • Developed by: Chris Makris. Music by: A Shell in the Pit (Gord McGladdery, Alfonso Salinas).
  • Whitewater Wipeout
    • Developed by: Chuhai Labs (Giles Goddard [he/him], Mark Lentz [he/him], Peter Traylor [he/him], Hero Liao [he/him], Remy Thor [he/him], Charlie March [he/him], Kensaku Nakata [he/him], Zach Aikman [he/him], Mihoko Terao [she/her], and Kinsey Burke [she/her]).

Playdate went into detail on some of the games listed above. Saturday Edition tells the story of John Cornfield, an investigator who’s looking into a string of missing people cases that somehow coincides with mysterious lights in the sky. Whitewater Wipeout from Chuhai Labs is a righteous surfing game that uses the crank to control your way around the water. Lost Your Marbles is a visual novel, in which Prota is looking for her friend Minty before the annual festival begins in her town, and there are marble-based levels to play too. Lastly, Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure has you play as a nap-loving robot who stumbles as he moves and can’t make it to his important dates. Playdate has teased that some surprises will be revealed along the way.

Sweetbaby, the developer of the aforementioned Lost Your Marbles will be mentoring two new developers are who making completely original and creative tites for the Playdate. This is an effort to help marginalized minorities who are new at developing games. They announced Recommendation Dog and Reel Steel, a fishing game from what it looks like.

Return of the obra Dinn’s lucas pope is developing Mars after midnight

One of the biggest announcements of the presentation is that Return of the Obra Dinn developer Lucas Pope is creating a new game for the Playdate called Mars After Midnight. Pope said that he thought the Playdate was a chance to make “something that my kids might like.” There’s no timeline for the game yet, but he gave us a sneak peek.

In this game, you seem to be some sort of counselor inside an alien city. As you open a window with the crank, you’ll see the striking sci-fi world outside. It looks incredible cool as you can peek around corners. You can close it once more with the crank. This use of the control method is inventive, and we can’t wait to see more of Making Mars After Midnight.

Additional games

More developers are experimenting and creating new titles for the Playdate. They include:

  • Noble Robot
  • Matthew El-Jamal
  • Matt Sephton
  • Andrea Interguglielmi.
  • Rokashi Games
  • Michael Frei and Raphaël Munoz.
  • davemakes
  • DACvector
  • Dustin Mierau

Some of the standout gameplay scenarios we saw from this brief montage is a Mario Paint-style title, and a 1940s take on the music-rhythm genre, vinyl records included.

Playdate pulp

Making games has become more accessible than ever with Panic’s new development system called Playdate Pulp. It’s a tool that lets you make games through your web browser. You can create everything including music, graphics, basic scripting, linking, and narrative all in one browser tab. They say you’ll be able to make a game easily even if you aren’t a pro with coding. You’ll be able to release games onto the platform straight from Pulp itself. This might be the perfect way to publish your first game. It will be available this year and it’s free.

When you can preorder and cost

Playdate Preorder
Image via Panic

The Playdate will be available for preorder in July, and you’ll be given a week’s warning on when it will go live. Panic claims that it shouldn’t sell out on the preorder date, but it does say that the sooner you order the device, the quicker you’ll get it in the mail. However, if Panic receives more preorders than expected, it has admitted that it might take a while to ship over. There is a lack of parts around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If this becomes a problem, the company has guaranteed that you can cancel your preorder at any time for any reason.

The Playdate will cost $179, and it comes with 24 free games from Season One. Panic has also increased the internal storage to 4GB.

The British “Canadian” Chris Penwell has been a video game journalist since 2013 and now has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from MacEwan University. He loves to play JRPGs and games with a narrative. You can check out his podcasts Active Quest every Tuesday and Go Beyond: A My Hero Academia Podcast on Wednesdays.

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