Playdate: Game Boy with a crank for all players?

While the portable console market is gradually set aside by our video game giants, Sony being out of the race and Nintendo that opted for the choice of hybridization, the playDate arrives with more than one crank tower in his bag. Indeed, this radiant little machine thought to enter all the pockets, except those with sea urchins, promises a regular delivery of independent games to discover by acting a funny handle. What to run heads?


a very square portable console

Panic Playdate review | Handheld gaming with a crank! | Mark Ellis Reviews

We had already had the chance to put our big hands on the most “indé” portable consoles last July. Our hours spent on the final version of the Playdate confirm all our good initial impressions. PLAYDATE is a small machine perfectly thought to hold in all the pockets thanks to its minimal dimensions and its pen weight. Its design recalls that of a Game Boy Pocket who would have received a hammer on his top slice: the format is almost square, the color yellow tickles the retina and the design is purified. The only visible elements on the facade are limited to the directional cross, at the two buttons “b” and “a“, to the “MENU” key, the speaker, as well as the three fixing screws. Thanks to its delicate coating and rounded angles, The console designed by Panic with the collaboration of Teenage Engineering is nice to take charge , even after long sessions of play. The directional cross feels good the robustness: we Let us feel each direction easily, with what it takes pressure to be performed to avoid involuntary_inputs. Even finding for the “b” and “a” buttons that are reactive and rapid rebound. Their layout on the same horizontal line will surely prevent to take charge of the classic platform sets where “b” is used to run and “a” to jump.

Playdate at the height of other portable consoles?

During the first start, the configuration is done in a few steps. First, it is necessary to connect its machine to Wi-Fi, then save the device online to receive the latest updates. Nothing complex for whom is used to setting today’s salon consoles. At first glance, the Playdate screen recalls that of our good old cells , since Panic has decided to display black and white. The games are therefore 1-bit monochrome for a definition in 400×240 (5: 3). However, the rendering is much clearer than we once had . With its CPU Cortex M7 at 180 MHz, the notebook aims to offer the sensations of yesteryear while improving visual comfort thanks to the backlight and various technical improvements. The few concessions made at least the merit of allowing a very good autonomy : We needed to recharge the device only after 8 hours of use. Caution, Download / Install games Nibbles the battery faster. If the rendering is pleasant compared to the size of the screen, the absence of colors remains a questionable choice since this will prevent developers from launching concepts around certain visual shades.

With regard to the general interface, it turns out ergonomic. The game library reveals large animated banners representing the different Softs installed while the options make it possible to manage different details. We still regret the absence of a reinforcing parameter the brightness of the screen. A list of games less graphic but more ergonomic is available in the “Games” section of the options. Finally, the standby mode displays a rather sober virtual clock.

Characteristics of PlayDate |

Display | 400×240, 1-bit
Size | 76 x 74 x 9 mm
Screen size | 2.7 inches, about 68 mm diagonal
Autonomy | 14 days in standby mode (clock), 8 hours active
CPU | 180 MHz Cortex M7
Storage capacity | 16 MB RAM, 32 KB L1 Cache, 4 GB Flash
Wireless specifications | 802.11BGN 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Sound | Integrated Mono Speaker, Stereo Helmet Port, Condenten MIC + TrrS Mic In
Keys | D-Pad, A, B, Standby, Menu, Crank
Price | 179 dollars (excluding shipping costs)

More crank turns than magic?

It is at that moment of your reading that you are surely asking “_Why DIANTRE disburse 179 dollars for an umpteenth retro console”. The answer is simple: Despite appearances, Playdate is not a retro console . Using the small crank located on the right slice of the device, The laptop designed by Panic’s ambition to seduce the independent game fans looking for both known and new sensations . Indeed, this funny accessory brings a wind of freshness in ways of interacting with our video games. In a few crank towers, the surfboards are oriented, the characters move, the balls bounce… In short, the worlds come alive in joy and good mood. It will obviously be necessary to ensure the resistance of this crank after several months of use. For the moment, we have no reservation to formulate the quality of the equipment. However, the few reserves we had during our preview find a new echo today. If we have taken a lot of fun to discover softs at the very arcade principle, where the crank played a decisive role, we are less enthusiastic about the more classic adventure games where the accessory goes to the background (when it is not Not purely and simply useless). The left people will weigh on the fact that the location of the crank is designed for the right-handed, although an option exists to return the screen (which allows to return the machine, and thus to pass the sleeve to the left).

Do the playDate games make the difference?

Before being one of the most atypical portable consoles ever designed, The PlayDate is above all a concept based on a promise: that of providing two free games every week, for twelve weeks . This makes a total of 24 titles for this first package promised with the purchase of the machine. Whenever a new title arrives, a gift to open appears on the story interface to make the event festive. We could have access to all of these works imagined by some renowned developers such as Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy), Zach Gage (Speeltower) and Bennett Foddy (Getting Over IT). At the moment we write these lines, the creation of Lucas Pope (Return of the obra dinn) is not in the package. Since one of the principles of the console is to surprise players by bringing two new games a week, we are not going to spoil the surprise by describing the contents of all planned softs. We will just say that in the lot, there are for all tastes with shoot, adventure, platform, textual experience, puzzle-game, rhythm rhythm, arcade, etc. We note despite all the absence of horrifying games and the almost non-existence of sports games.

In the totality of the titles, we retain mostly eight creations that come out of the ordinary, and who arrive to sell the original concept of Playdate. One of the best is Time Travel Adventures, a project that Panic has highlighted a lot, and who perfectly uses the features of the device. We also appreciate Omaze, a puzzle-Game / very intelligent address game, and Whitewater Wipeout, very efficient surf / scoring game. We also retain Echoic Memory, Flipper Lifter, Sasquatchers, Spellcorked and Forrest Byrnes Up in Smoke. Know that only a little more than half of the downloads to download use the crank wisely, when they use it right, which is amazing since the playDate is sold in part for its original way to play. For informative purposes, the 24 games of the first season weigh between 59 kb and 160 mb. Once all downloaded on the 4 GB internal storage space, 2.6 GB remain available.

PlayDate Pulp: Become a video game developer!

Playing independent developer games, it’s good, but become yourself a creator of monochrome virtual universe, it’s better! If you feel the soul of a Game Designer, know that the purchase of the PlayDate gives access to Playdate Pulp, a tool available directly on browser that gives the possibility to create its own games for the Small console . If there is a method for making its softs simply using code tips, it will quickly roll up the sleeves and go through the PulpScript to give life to its most sagregated ideas. Which means that users will have to dial with austere scripting language made of functions and variables. Editors of levels, sprites, music and sounds are well thought out enough to produce quickly. Professionals do not want to go through Pulp can recover the SDK (free) and create their works with their favorite LUA and C APIs.

PlayDate, a console for an informed public

With an entry price set at 179 dollars (241 dollars with the shipping costs for France and taxes) and a delivery now scheduled for 2023, Playdate is undeniably dear, even if the player would have access to 24 titles after three months of use. This rate reserves the Panic machine to Indian productions enthusiasts, skilful with Shakespeare’s language (games like menus are in English), and who are not afraid to put the price in order to have an outgoing object of The ordinary . Some will see an indisputable wind of freshness to elitist enthusiasts and hackwoods, others will not understand the craze around this expensive small monochrome screen machine. From our point of view, Playdate is a beautiful object that already offers amazing experiences, although we would have appreciated more audacity again in the way the crank is used inside the proposed pixellized universes.


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40 minutes ago

The “Game Boy…. No I’m kidding, calm you d4rk_hitachi_du13

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