In one word: Panic’s quirky Playdate will be pre-ordered later this month, and based on feedback from some previews, there are a lot of things I like about the retro handheld. It’s a rarity to be sure, but its limitations are precisely why the device is so charming. And the crank, it is also very good.
Ars TechnicaSam Machkovech has spent the last three weeks testing a “near final” version of the Playdate. “I have yet to give a friend a play date without them telling me how much they liked it,” Machkovech said. “And usually that compliment comes with a statement like ‘this is so much better than it looks online.’
Playdate is the polar opposite of the Steam Deck recently announced by Valve, or even the aging Nintendo Switch. It is a low-power device that paints a color screen. There’s also no touchscreen, nor does it have Bluetooth connectivity (not yet, anyway, but Panic indicates it’s coming soon). Sorry, there isn’t an SD expansion card either, so you’ll have to do it with the 4GB of internal storage.
Andrew Webster with The edge described Playdate as a Game Boy from a different dimension:
It stands out in a world of smartphones that are mostly black slabs. It is also a square, measuring 76 x 74mm, as opposed to the more common rectangle, and it is only 9mm thick. Basically, it is small. About half of the front is taken up by a glossy 400×240 screen, with a glossy D-pad and A and B buttons underneath, just like on an original Game Boy. There is also a home / menu button in the upper right corner, a lock button on the right shoulder, and a headphone jack and USB-C port at the bottom. A small, but surprisingly loud speaker sits on the right side of the screen.
PolygonChris Plante sees it quite similarly:
So no, this is not the future of video games, but it is a promising historical review of a world in which some of the world’s best game creators ignored the world of big-budget complex games and invested their time and talents. in a smaller one. Cheapest and most accessible gadget. Because, despite what tech companies will tell you, great ideas aren’t inherently limited by raw computing power. They are limited because they need an audience and a home. Perhaps Playdate can provide both.
EurogamerChris Tapsell loved the Playdate screen:
What I didn’t find as frustrating as others was the display as well. Playdate has a 1 bit 400×240 screen and it is absolutely gorgeous. The effects that the developers have managed to obtain are quite impressive, all pointillist backgrounds and misty wipes. It’s pin-sharp, and Gameboy’s blacks and silver-green-gray background just sing along to the sweet yolk of the console. I love it.
Playdate will be available to pre-order starting July 29 at a price of $ 179. It is one of four new handhelds launching this year alongside the OLED Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck and the Analog pocket.