After much anticipation, especially in the handheld gaming community, the quirky Playdate’s official release is almost upon us. It’s like Christmas for technology hipsters, only in April.
If you’re unfamiliar with the upcoming Playdate, it’s basically an electronic retro-inspired plaything that harkens back to the likes of the Game Boy, Tamagotchi, Game & Watch or maybe Tiger’s old licensed dot matrix one-offs. It has a high resolution black and white screen (no backlight), Wi-Fi access for downloading games and a wacky flip-out crank for all kinds of interactive possibilities.
I received my sample unit recently, and while I won’t be able to post my full review until next Monday, I can post some unboxing photos and at least discuss the initial product impressions. I can’t even show the UI, downloadable games or anything beyond the initial boot sequence. So secretive. So intriguing.
The Playdate unboxing experience is nothing short of excellent. The elongated boxed packaging boasts the same bright yellow coloring as the actual handheld device itself. The design is simple and clean, presenting you with just the Playdate device and a matching yellow USB charging cable. ‘Have fun!’ is printed in bold lettering.
Since I can’t upload videos directly to my Forbes blog, you can check out the boot sequence over on the Pen to Pixels YouTube channel (plus a really great unboxing walkthrough):
The Playdate’s charming hardware intro is filled with all kinds of delightful and interesting tutorial-esque animation that helps you learn the ins and outs of the Playdate hardware.
Well, unfortunately, that’s about all I can share at the moment. I’ll have a full review posted on April 18, so check back then for detailed impressions. If you’re interested in pre-ordering a Playdate, they’re available for $179 on Panic’s website, but shipping has now been pushed out to 2023. That’s quite a wait, and next week we’ll see if it’s worth it.