I’m the first to admit I haven’t written much (if anything) about Playdate, the innovative console with a crank. Matt sometimes includes the game releases in his Itch.io wrap-up, but even then the last time was in January. Today, a Playdate Update was uploaded, showcasing some news about the console as well as a good amount of new games; now seemed like the perfect time to begin my foray into Playdate news.
First up is Catalog, which is out today. Catalog is a boutique digital on-device and web-based store that is launching with 16 Playdate games and apps. Eleven of these titles are brand new, and two will be free to all Playdate owners. Players can browse and purchase titles with a credit card using Panic’s (the manufacturer’s) Crank-To-Buy technology. Apps purchased through catalog receive automatic updates, unlike those that are sideloaded; purchased apps are tied to the user account, so they can always be downloaded again.
Titles are hand-selected by Panic to make sure developers and their games are properly taken care of. Developes can submit their titles through a developer form. The release of Catalog doesn’t mean other methods of getting the games are null: Playdate apps can still be sideloaded and purchased from stores such as Itch.io (much like these launch titles!) and Gumroad.
Catalog’s launch brings players two free games, Recommendation Dog!! and Reel Steal, through Playdate’s Season One. Both games were made by different teams of up-and-coming developers from marginalized communities, and each were led by industry veterans. Narrative development company Sweet Baby was also on board to help throughout the process.
New releases today include both Recommendation Dog!! and Reel Steal, as well as Carve Jr., Direct Drive, Playmaker, Skew – A The Last Worker Spin-Off, Swap Machina, Grand Tour Legends, The Botanist, Hidey Spot, and Word Trip. Games featured on Catalog with new content available are A Joke That’s Worth 99 Cents and Bloom. Other featured, previously-released titles include Eyeland, Tapeworm Disco Puzzle, and Down the Oubliette.
The last piece of news is a bit sad, but understandable: the price of Playdate is going up due to an increase in production costs. Beginning on April 7, the console’s price will increased from US$179 to US$199. It can still be ordered at the current rate until that time. If you’re at all interested, now may be the perfect time to get in line!