Playdate News

Catalog Update #1

March 7, 2023

Here’s the lineup of games available now that Playdate Catalog has launched:

  • 🎙️ Direct Drive, a silent-movie-musical game about being an intern in the music industry in 1927, from DAC Vector
  • 🏂🏽 Carve Jr, where you’ll hit the slopes like never before, from Chuhai Labs
  • 🎼 Playmaker, with six playful creative spaces where you can paint, compose, build, record, and dance, from Dustin Mierau
  • ⚙️ Swap Machina, a fast-paced puzzle game made in the Pulp game engine by NaOH & Zion D. Hill
  • 🌀 SKEW, the world’s 1st real-time 3D endless spinner, from Oiffy
  • 🚴‍♂️ Grand Tour Legends, an epic bicycle racing game from iorama studio
  • 🌱 The Botanist, an interactive sci-fi adventure comic with a linear story, from Cadin Batrack
  • 🌺 Bloom, the real-time narrative-driven social sim about starting up a flower shop, from RNG Party—now with a new post-game story, and more!
  • 👁️ Eyeland, a mysterious bite-sized adventure made in Pulp by Ron Lent
  • 📼 Tapeworm Disco Puzzle, a grid-based puzzle game where you play as a tapeworm, the local nightclub owner; from Lowtek Games
  • 👻 Down the Oubliette, a dungeon crawler for people who like tower defense games, from Rebecca König
  • 🍑 A Joke That’s Worth .99¢, now in Catalog with a NEW .1¢ joke! From kamibox
  • 🎁 Hidey Spot, a little Pulp-made adventure about sneaking around in the middle at night, from Neven Mrgan and us here at Panic
  • 🚙 Word Trip, a light-action word-building game from Shaun Inman

If you own a Playdate, we also hope you enjoy 🎣 Reel Steel & 🐶 Recommendation Dog! These games were brought to you by two teams of up-and-coming devs from marginalized backgrounds, led by the folks at @SweetBabyInc and @StrangeScaffold.

You can get all these games in the Catalog app on your Playdate or on our website. Crank to buy some cool titles!

Playdate - $199 starting April 7

March 7, 2023

It’s a story we’ve all been hearing recently: costs are going up for parts, shipping… you name it. Panic is unfortunately no exception to these trends: our manufacturing partner recently gave us the news that the cost of building a Playdate is going up. And given our already tight margins, we’re at a point when we need to adjust Playdate’s price.

We don’t take this lightly: we’ve always wanted Playdate to be as affordable as possible. In that spirit, we’ve done two things that will hopefully soften the blow:

  • The price increase is what we hope you’ll think is modest: from $179 to $199.
  • The increase will take effect not today, but one month from today: April 7. That’ll give you time to lock in today’s $179 price.

We also hope that today’s launch of Catalog—our new, on-device game store—will convince you that Playdate is an amazing value. (And Catalog is only the newest resource for games: it arrives on top of our 24-game Season One that’s included with every Playdate, and the 425-and-counting titles you can sideload from game stores like itch.io.)

We’ve been deeply touched by the excitement we’ve felt from happy Playdate owners, and (to be honest) shocked by the enthusiasm shown by our robust game development community. Hit games like Zipper, Saturday Edition, Pick Pack Pup, Bloom, and A Joke That’s Worth $0.99—along with many more—have validated what we believed at the beginning: that there is room in this market for a very quirky, very different kind of game console. And room as well for the very offbeat games it inspires.

Thanks so much for your amazing support and encouragement.

Catalog is now out!

March 7, 2023

Playdate Catalog is now available for all Playdate owners!

Arriving with the latest Playdate OS and also available at play.date/games, Catalog is our curated store for neat Playdate software.

It’s launching with new games, and some previously released favorites.

You can check these games out in the Catalog app on your Playdate (make sure it’s running the latest version of the Playdate OS.) You can also get them on our website; the games will be delivered wirelessly to your Playdate .

Happy browsing!

Playdate Community Bundle of games

August 31, 2022

Six months ago, we released the Playdate SDK: a free, fun way to create games for our quirky 1-bit console with a crank. We find it incredible—frankly, quite shocking!—to see how many games have been made since then. As of today, there are over three hundred Playdate games available on itch.io, all ready to sideload wirelessly.

There’s now a cool way to check out some of the neatest Playdate games: the Playdate Community Bundle by Playdate Squad. More than a dozen top-notch games for just $29 (more than 50% off!). This bundle is available from August 31, 2022 until September 7, 2022.

Here are the thirteen Playdate games included in the bundle:

Your Playdate comes with a Season of wonderful games, and we plan to release a Playdate Catalog of games available directly on the console. On top of which, you’ll always be able to sideload games made by just about anybody out there—like the excellent selection in the Playdate Community Bundle. Do check it out!

Some games being made for Playdate

April 28, 2022

As the first shipments of Playdate arrive in customers’ hands, we’re seeing some very cool games being developed for Playdate. Here’s a little roundup of ones that caught our eye!

But first

Sideloading these games onto your Playdate is very simple.

  • Log in to your Playdate account at https://play.date,
  • Go to the Sideload tab,
  • Drag and drop a .pdx or a .zipped .pdx game file.

It should download within an hour; or you can go to Settings > Games to download it now.

For more info on sideloading, check out our Help library.

And now, the games!

Bloom

Bloom is the first “commercial” Playdate game outside of our Season! It’s a narrative-driven social sim about starting up a flower shop, with gorgeous art and fantastic music. It’s very special and deserves great success. You can buy it for $9.99 from RNG Party.

Sketch, Share, Solve

Something we’ve always wanted is a nonogram puzzle game for Playdate. We really love these. You can even draw and export your own puzzles for your friends. Made by Rebecca König. Name your own price (but be generous!)

A Joke That’s Worth $0.99

There’s nothing we can add to this very important video. Which you absolutely must watch now with sound on. Note, for every 0.99 sold, Kamibox will plant one tree via Plant for The Planet. Us, we’ll be paying more than $0.99 for this game, in the spirit of both admiration and irony. Buy it!.

Bomber Panda

Bomber Panda is a bomb-based action-puzzler with different power-ups and 31 levels. We don’t question why the panda is in those boxes. Made by Rob Seto-Patchett. Buy it for $2!

Pocket Planner

We are very excited about the idea of Playdate productivity apps, so Pocket Planner is a dream come true. Make to-do lists. View a calendar. Record voice memos!! Bust this out in a meeting for ultimate success. Made by Kamil Powałowski. Yours for $1!

Playnote Studio

And then there’s the incredible Playnote Studio by James Daniel, a modern and super-polished way to view wonderful Flipnote animations created on the DSi. Use the crank to scroll through frames! Free at playnote.studio

There are many more Playdate games in development by smart people out there. After Season One of our games is fully delivered, we’ll have more to say about Catalog, a place to find more Playdate games. Until then, enjoy these!

Playdate is now shipping

April 18, 2022

Playdates in Group One will begin shipping… today.

Playdate shipping carton

You’ll be emailed the moment your Playdate ships. We’ll ramp up our shipping volume every day to make sure all of our systems are working smoothly. We think we can get Group One out the door during the next month. And remember, your season of games begins when you set up your Playdate.

(Yes, Group Two, you’re next. We’ll have more news for you in the future about estimates and details.)

And that’s not all—we have another surprise! A new Playdate Update video is here!!

It recaps all of the great developer things we’ve done this year — Pulp and the Playdate SDK. Please enjoy it.

Let’s take a small moment, together, to celebrate a huge, unbelievable moment in our long, fun adventure…

Playdate is shipping.

The SDK is now available

February 28, 2022

As you know, last month we released Pulp, our easy-to-use Playdate game making tool. And today, as promised… it’s time for even more developer news. The full Playdate Software Development Kit is now available for free to all!!

Playdate SDK

The full Playdate SDK is for folks already comfortable with coding — but we’ve worked hard to make it as easy and approachable as we can. It gives you two choices of languages: Lua, for a higher-level scripting language experience, or C, for improved performance.

It’s also packed with helpful functions for things like drawing font handling, animation, sprites, tilemaps, collision detection, A* pathfinding, audio synthesis, crank handling (of course!), and really quite a lot more!

The SDK also includes a key tool: the Playdate Simulator, for Mac, Windows, and Linux. This app allows you to run and test your Playdate games on your computer, without needing Playdate hardware. Simulate the crank. Log errors. Check memory usage. It does it all.

Playdate Simulator

(PRO TIP: a quick heads up! The Simulator does not simulate the actual hardware speed of the Playdate, so a complex game that might run smoothly on your PC, might not be so smooth on-device. So, until you get hardware, if you post your .pdx on our Developer Forum, we’ll be happy to test it for you!)

You can use any text editor you want to code for the Playdate. But, if you’re using macOS, we *ahem* also jussssssst so happen to make a code editor that’s best for writing and debugging your Playdate games. (And much more!) Give Nova a try if you’d like!

The release of the Playdate SDK also means an expansion of our Playdate Developer Forum, where folks can ask questions, show off their work, and hopefully feel fully supported and welcomed while making great things.

We’ve also written up some new Playdate Design Guidelines, based on the knowledge that we, and our Developer Preview folks, have accrued over the years. We’ll keep expanding this document over time!

Once you’ve made a game, then what?! Well, anyone can sideload games onto their Playdate without us, so really, you can do anything you want with it. But, we ARE working on some new ways for people to find and download games… directly on the Playdate itself. Stay tuned!

Finally, sincerely: your interest in our handheld gaming system SDK means so much to us. Nothing has energized us more on this long (and often difficult) adventure than seeing people make incredible things for Playdate out of nothing. We can’t wait to see what you make. Dig in!

Playdate game on Playdate

Pulp is now available in public beta

January 19, 2022

Playdate Pulp is now available in public beta!! Pulp is a super fun (and free!) game making tool for Playdate. With a few clicks, anyone can turn a game idea into Playdate reality.

Playdate Pulp

The best part: Pulp runs right in your web browser. You can work on any computer, anywhere, with no installation or worrying about moving files around. Everything is in one place, in one window. And with a few clicks, you can export an actual Playdate .pdx game!

What’s included in Pulp? A pixel graphics editor, complete with animation? Yes. Pulp has that, built right in. Level editor? Yes. Custom fonts? Yes. Sound sequencer, SFX creation? Oh yes.

And while you can make a Playdate game in Pulp with zero code, what if you like code, or you’re code-curious? There’s also PulpScript, a simple, logical language that unlocks… well, just about anything you can think of.

Playdate PulpScript

We designed Pulp for room-based, story-centric games — the kind that focus on your ideas and narratives rather than nuts and bolts. But our amazing developers have shown us that with a little creativity, you can make incredible games of all sorts!

And once you get your Playdate, you’ll experience the true magic:

Pulp Game on Playdate

Taking the game YOU made, exporting it to a file YOU own, and playing that game on a proper, physical console, held in your hands. There’s nothing quite like it.

Built by Shaun and Neven, Pulp was inspired by Bitsy, a truly wonderful game editor from the talented Adam Le Doux. If you enjoy using Pulp to make Playdate games, we really hope you’ll also check out Bitsy for making games for other platforms!

And remember, Pulp is just one part of the Playdate game making story — there’s also our full Playdate SDK! It’s for more advanced game coding but is still super fast and friendly. It supports both Lua and C, and includes a desktop-based simulator. Check it out!

In summary: Pulp is FREE, OUT NOW, and YOU’RE INVITED to try it. Start making some games today and, soon, play them on your Playdate.

P.S. We shared on Twitter some wonderful creations made in the first few weeks since Pulp came out. Just look at all of these!