my little favorite gaming laptop last year was the panic quote, a tiny yellow hand-cranked pocket console that includes its own library of weird indie games. Despite the Playdate launching last year, shipping delays and shortages meant many people still haven’t been able to get their hands on one. But handheld just added its own catalog of gaming apps to the console with a bunch of new games… and along with that, a price hike for anyone who hasn’t pre-ordered yet.
The Playdate was $179 before, but the price will go up to $199 starting April 7. Pre-orders before that date will be locked in at the price of $179. Product price increases are becoming common right now (it’s step with quest 2 last year). The unique Playdate games (it comes with 24 of them) and diminutive design still make it worth the price for a curious indie handheld fan, but it also pushes this experimental device to the same cost as older handhelds. versatile as the nintendo switch lite.
Launching with its own catalog of bundled games that automatically download to the device in pairs, once a week, the season-based game library approach to Playdate is changing with the new PC catalog hand. The games in the catalog are sold separately, although two are free to download. The games are welcome additions – there are 16 to start with, 10 of which are new. The other six are family hits that have already been available to download from itching.ioan independent gaming hub that has been a great source for Playdate’s other experimental games.
Game prices range from $1 to $15. I’m just playing with them right now, but I wish some of these games also had free demos to understand how they work. Stepping into a $1 game is fine, but $15 isn’t an impulse buy.
Using the Catalog feels like a Playdate extension of the games I can already get through itch.io in many ways, but with a more careful approach. Itch.io is fun to navigate and has plenty of games that are completely free to play, but it’s a more hit-or-miss mix of experiments and more refined products. Those games also need to be downloaded and then re-uploaded via Panic’s website, which pushes the games over to Playdate, while Playdate’s catalog just adds them instantly. (4 GB of onboard storage may seem small, but I’ve already stored dozens of games and haven’t used half yet.)
What I was really hoping for was a true season 2 of the Playdate games, but that’s not here yet or the planned release for future games is changing. Either way, it’s still a promising sign that future indie games will be easier to find on playdate and that hopefully a steady stream continues. So hopefully the playdate will finally be easy to order. According to Panic, Wave 4 pre-orders are now shipping, but eventually the hope is that the wearables won’t be delayed at all. Valve fixed their Steam Deck supply issues; Let’s hope Panic does the same.