2022 was a blur. More travel for me. More surprise trips to the hospital. Less memorable gadgets. I can’t recall my last deep memory of a particular iPad, laptop, phone, watch, or even VR headset. 2022 did not replace my interest in 2021 and earlier.
Still, I carried a little yellow one in my pocket. the one with the crank. Something a little silly, unjust, charming, fidgeting, and comforting.
ofis my favorite gadget of 2022. Wherever I go, I pack standard stuff: laptops, iPads, phones, Switches, Kindles. Playdate is now in that bundle. Slip it into your pocket when you’re out and about. I’m fiddling with cranks and playing little games.
Playdate is a weird mini handheld game machine. Kind of like the Mutant Game Boy, Alternate Reality Game & Watch.that is, a fringe-type prototype sensory device. Playdate doesn’t play every day games. A bunch of random games created by developers on sites like itch.io, in addition to games from the included season of indie exclusives.
I reviewed Playdate in the spring – and yeah, I’m still enjoying it.
When I was a kid, I was addicted to Game Boy and Nintendo Game Watch. I brought little puzzles, magic tricks and fidgets to school. I love the nice little magnetic flip case for my AirPods. The design of the Panic Playdate alone is attractive. I was on the sidelines for about a month this year recovering from surgery, and it was a little buddy who was by my side and played the indie game Bloom. I immersed myself in text messages, gardening a small plot of land with flowers.this isNintendo really made a new Game Boy/Game & Watch Classic. Maybe Playdate is good enough to satisfy me.
I’m usually in and out of my VR headset. Playdate often felt like the flip side of something big and fully immersive, but it can be immersive in its own small, engaging way. Everything about Playdate’s design feels like part of the experience. In some ways, every game made for it feels like part of its crank-ready appeal.
Playdate has also made itself aware of its own interest in indie games and paid more attention to its experimental space. Sites like itch.io feel like the bustling future of gaming, where ideas are riffed on and shared instantly. I’m more excited about this kind of emergent zone than high-end, productive games on consoles. I’ve come to check my weekly updates just to see what new experimental Playdate games may come up.
In the first few months of the iPhone’s App Store, or in the early days of a new product, such as the launch of the Oculus Quest or Nintendo Switch, I get this sentiment: It seems to be addicted to new sensations. The unique and exclusive nature of Playdate seems to be a challenge facing indie developers, and some of its games have already become my favorites this year.
A Joke That’s Worth 99 Cents is a game where you bounce a big-assed person using a crank on a small Playdate within a Playdate while someone tells a long, slow joke. Survive as long as possible. my kids love it.
Crunky is also an arcade-like survival game, perfectly tuned to be addictive like the best old Game & Watch games.
Some of the games included in Season 1, like Playdate’s Advent Calendar, are small delights I always revisit: Whitewater Wipeout’s Surfing High Score Challenge, Omaze’s Kinetic Puzzle, Flipper Lifter’s Elevator Arcade Game, Pick Pack Pup. Match – 3 puzzle stories, games like Asteroid and Tempest on b360, Star Thread and Hyper Meteor. Here are the types of games I loved those little handheld games & watches.
Not everything is perfect. Playdate can’t even be purchased right now, even if I wanted to. It is on backorder until 2023. Not a multiplayer device. I don’t use it all the time. The screen is small and has no backlight. Battery life is variable. Still, I remain interested in the game. I keep looking for new indie stuff on Itch. It became a mysterious little box. I adore absolutely everything.
All you want from your gadget is a little bit of joy. Tools are good, and a well-made platform helps. But playdates comfort me.
There were a lot of “boring but good” products this year. New laptops, incrementally improved phones and watches, headphones and TVs. They were fine. But this year, I don’t remember as much as this little yellow hand-crank thing.