The Play Date Game... Console?

on Wholesomedonut's blog

I don't know how to describe this thing other than cool

So imagine you've got one of those old digital games from McDonald's.

Got that image in your head?

You know the ones.

Now imagine that it railed a fat line of "corporate work powder."

And you get the Play.Date.

This thing comes from the same company that made Firewatch; so you can rest assured that while this is their first foray into hardware, these guys already have proven market viability with a game that was all the rage for weeks when it came out.

What is this?

The main website's 2 minute video tells it better than I do.

Go watch it in a new tab and make sense of it for yourself. That's why we have tabbed browsers now.

Once you get back, I'm gonna talk about how I think about this little device.

My thoughts on it

The crank is pretty cool considering it can actually be involved in gameplay. I legitimately thought that this was a hand-crank game console that you could spin up for a charge just like you would a survival flashlight. I guess not; it's actually part of the controls.

I do like the openness of the platform's games: the SDK is available for anyone to make games for the platform on demand.

I am not a fan of the season-style, GaaS mentality regarding the games. They pitch it as being fun, random games; and they even admit that you probably won't like all of them - which is impressive self-awareness and understanding - but I'm leery of the games no longer being available after that point. I don't like that concept. I will admit I do not fully understand how their delivery scheme works, and therefore this entire statement could be completely wrong.

Which is to say, if I get to keep the games after their "slot" is up in the season I don't mind the concept at all.

But if I can't keep the games I like and let the ones I don't care for slide off during the rotation of these games, I'm gonna be significantly less interested. Not everything has to be a "Momento Mori" shtick a la Unus Annus.

I definitely think that the makers of this device would benefit hugely from advertising this as a "disconnected" game console, of sorts. Like they all used to be, before ad-hoc and wifi connected consoles like the Sony PSP, Nintendo DS, and etc started using wireless communications for local and online play.

The Playdate has wifi, ostensibly just as a way to update the games and firmware, and that's just fine with me. I don't want to see it going beyond that though.


Real cool game console with novel ideas and a very simple hardware setup. It will likely bring out some interesting titles and otherwise continue to be a fairly niche device. And, given how crisp and clean the presentation is, I think it will succeed pretty handily in that niche.