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How Many Games Does Playdate Actually Have?

The first thing console manufacturers talk about whenever they release a new product is what it can do. Gaming companies want players to know what the system is capable of before they set about trying to blow them away with all of the things that set it apart from the competition. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's just as important for prospective buyers to consider the actual games that they will be able to play before dropping a bunch of money on a new console. After all, it doesn't matter how much a gamer likes the system if they don't like the games.


Panic, the company that published "Firewatch," announced back in 2019 that it would be releasing a new handheld console called the Playdate, which features a crank on the side of the device that can be used as an analogue controller. Now, the first wave of these handhelds are starting to roll out — and although it certainly isn't for everyone, critics are loving it. But prospective owners may be wondering: how many games can be played on this new pocket-sized device and what are they?

The season pass

The crank isn't the only unique thing about the Playdate. Panic is also taking an interesting approach to game distribution. Those who purchase the console are automatically signed up for a full season pass of games. According to the official Playdate website, "Once you set up your Playdate, you'll start to receive two brand new games... every week. For 12 weeks. That's 24 free games, in lots of genres." 


The first two games players will be able to get their hands on are a surfing game called "Whitewater Wipeout" by Chuhai Labs and a birding photography RPG from Diego Garcia called "Casual Birder." While fans will have to wait for the games to be individually released across the season before they can play them, all 24 of the games and their developers are all currently listed on the Playdate website. That's good, since many may not wish to go in on a $179 console without having some idea of what they will be playing.

Panic also claims on its website that there will be "a few extra surprise games along the way." Who will be making these surprise games and what kinds of games they will be remains a mystery, but it's good to know that those who choose to invest in the console will have more games to look forward to.


Fan-made titles

A number of the games that players will get as part of the season pass are made by reputable indie developers. For example, Bennett Foddy — the developer behind bizarre mountain-climbing game "Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy"  — has created a game called "Zipper" for the Playdate (out April 1). Bigger titles like that aren't the only ones gamers will have access to, however. It seems that fans with a bit of creative drive will be able to make their own games.


Panic has also made the Playdate SDK free to use for any fans who would like to try their hand at making a game for the pocket-sized console. The company has also provided access to a web-based editor called Pulp for customers to use. Creators can then sell or share a "Playdate code," which other users will be able to use to access it on the console. If the mania around "Dreams" has taught gaming fans anything, there will probably be a whole bunch of fan made games on the way for those who choose to buy the Playdate.