I pre-ordered a Playdate a while back and it finally arrived a few days ago. It's an awesome little device, toyetic and whimsical in the way that videogame consoles used to be, yet still feeling premium. It's yellow, it has a beautiful lo-fi monochrome 1-bit un-backlit screen, clicky little A and B buttons and a responsive D-Pad, and a Crank. It uses wifi to download games and has an online store, a web account integration, and the ability to Sideload games which you can buy off itch.io or wherever else, or make your own, but it never lets those features get in the way of the simplicity of the device.
It's also very developer friendly and seems like an accessible way to learn some game development and programming, and I hope to tinker around with it eventually.
It's not going to replace my Steam Deck or PS5 or Switch, and it's nowhere near as expensive as any of those but for what it is it isn't cheap either, but I'm glad that I have it. It's kind of nostalgic, but it also has a kind of alternate universe, speculative, retro-futurist, anachronistic appeal to it, like the clam-shell phone from It Follows. What would a world look like where we had network technology but still only lo-fi displays? What would a world look like where the original Gameboy had a crank?
The first "season" of games unlock week over week. So far I only have the first two starting games, and two free games from the Catalog (their game store), and I'll probably buy one or two more games and Sideload sooner or later.
Whitewater Wipeout is an awesome game. It's tricky to get the hang of at first, it relies mostly on the Crank, and it doesn't do a whole lot to teach you how to play, so you have to be patient, but even though I still suck at it, it's super addicting and fun and a perfect demonstration of exactly what this console is about, Crank and all. I can see why they made it among the first games you receive.
Casual Birder is a cute, fun, funny, open-world bird photography adventure game. It's a little meatier than Whitewater Wipeout, but nothing too Epic. It's the kind of game I might not necessarily have played if it were on Steam or PSN, and I don't know if I'll actually finish it, but I'm enjoying my time with it.
The two free Catalog games I have not been as impressed with, but I still appreciate having a couple more options in my first week until more games unlock, without having to make additional purchases.
Recommendation Dog is basically a matching game. You work at a temp agency and have to match agents given descriptions by the employers. There's nothing wrong with it, I gave it a playthrough, but I dunno it didn't do much for me.
Reel Steal was an interesting and surprising premise, I wanted to like this game, but I just wasn't feeling it. You're modern-day Robin Hoods infiltrating buildings owned by billionaires and robbing them, Cranking your way up and down the facility. It's a cool idea, but ya in practice I just found it tedious.