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Playdate (Quick Look) - Just For Fun

We take a look at the mini handheld console and see how it is shaking up this slice of the technology space.

Audio transcription

"Hello everyone and welcome to another Gamereactor Quick Look.
I have, over the past couple of weeks, spent my time with a lot of handheld gaming.
Now I've tested this, the MSI Claw, which is very expensive and very heavy and very big and pushes out a lot of heat."

"But if you think that this is just too cumbersome, too expensive, and not your general idea of just having a bit of fun on the go when you're out and about, well, how about you drop this and don't buy that and instead buy one of these.
This is a Playdate and it is actually the console that I've spent the majority of my handheld gaming time with during that particular duration."

"And there are some good reasons for that because this has an entirely different idea of how to offer small enjoyable gaming sessions in between what else that you're doing during the day.
So first and foremost, you have to remove this little Aqua cover that I got with my particular unit and just examine it in detail."

"This has been designed and partially engineered by a company called Teenage Engineering and they do awesome stuff.
They are very serious in the audio space in particular and they just make great shit.
And this is fantastic to both look at."

"And to hold.
It doesn't look like a particularly ergonomic shape, but it actually really, really is.
You think that it's small, but it's not meant to hold your attention for hours at a time.
It is meant to give you a five minute burst of enjoyable gaming bliss in between doing two other things during a busy day."

"I have two small boys that just wreck everything at home.
So when I drop down on the couch for just a minute or two at a time, instead of pulling up my phone and doom scroll on some app, I pull out this and I played a couple of games on it and it's actually very, very enjoyable indeed."

"There's also another reason why it's enjoyable, curation.
It is something which is completely opposite to the MSI Claw or most other handheld gaming devices.
It's curation in the sense that when you buy your Playdate, you pay $200 for it up front."

"Well, then you'd get shipped to you and you make your account and you set it up.
What then happens is that you get two free games a week for 12 weeks for a total of 24 games.
These are free for you."

"And as per Playdate's own website, you might like some of them, not all of them.
Some will be short.
Some will be long.
There is one basically, which is very easy sort of balancing game about getting a guy on a unicycle through a track to get a cup of coffee."

"It sounds incredibly simple, even a little whimsical and dumb, but that is one of those games where I just, I pick it up, I complete two or three, like Candy Crush, for example, I pick it up, I do two or three tracks and then I put it down.
Very enjoyable."

"And one of the ways in which it is enjoyable is very unique control schemes, because there is a small D-pad here and only two face buttons, an A and a B in classic Game Boy fashion.
And then there is this, this is called the crank.
And if I unspool it, then it becomes, well, a crank."

"And this is basically part of the control scheme in almost all of Playdate's games.
For instance, I played something called Mars After Midnight, which has been developed by Lucas Pope, who also did Papers, Please, and Obra Dinn, very, very respected indie developer who made a game specifically for Playdate."

"And the way that it works is that you're sort of a, you're an arranger and doorman for a Mars-based support group.
And the way that you use the crank is that you have to lift up the little eye cover hole on the door to see who knocks on it in order to determine whether or not you let these people or the person in question into the support group meeting or not."

"Whimsical, funny, and it's just a nice and really immersive way to control some in-game mechanics.
And obviously when you're done, it stows away very neatly.
Now there are obvious caveats to this."

"For one, this screen is 400 by 240p.
It's a one-bit display and there's no backlight, meaning that you can't play this at night or in a dimly lit room.
You'll have to use a light like we did when we were kids where our Game Boys did not have a backlight."

"But even still, I love it.
And I love that the games that it gets pushed to me every single week.
So for one, if I unlock it here, there's a small animation to indicate that I actually have new games waiting for me."

"So if I go home, I am, there are new games as part of my season one, which is whenever I got the console.
So there are two gift wraps here waiting for me that I can play.
And it's incredibly enjoyable."

"Some of them are, again, some of them are short, most of them are really simple, but for short bursts, it's fantastic.
I wish the guys that made the Playdate all, like, all best of luck because I feel like that this is a genuinely innovative and novel idea that deserves to flourish in a really sort of tightly wound gaming space."

"Thank you so much for watching.
See you on the next one."

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