Panic adds screen mirroring to its retro handheld Playdate

In context: The Playdate is a tiny handheld gaming device with a 2.7-inch black-and-white LCD and a hand crank on the side. Firewatch publisher Panic is shooting for a gaming system with a retro vibe but still delivers contemporary graphics and performance. Because of the pandemic, it had a little extra time to work on the device and came up with a way to stream gameplay to a PC.

On Wednesday, Panic announced that it had added a cool new feature to its upcoming Playdate handheld gaming system. Users will now be able to plug the device into a computer and mirror the display in real-time. The feature works via an app and cable. However, Panic did not say whether these add-ons were included with the device or sold separately.

Here’s a fun little new thing we made. Plug in your Playdate, launch this app, and it will mirror your Playdate screen to your PC/Mac/Linux in real-time. Perfect for streamers, YouTubers, and better accessibility. Input from the PC can pass through to the Playdate also!

— Playdate (@playdate) March 24, 2021

The company tweeted a short demo on the official Playdate Twitter account (above), noting, “Input from the PC can pass through to the Playdate also!” Latency appears low enough that controlling a game from a PC should be possible, although it is unclear how one would emulate the unique crank control on the device’s side.

Panic says that the feature is intended to make it easy for streamers to broadcast gameplay and provides better accessibility. It did not mention what type of connectivity the cable provides but did say that it is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux variants.

Ever since it was announced back in the spring of 2019, we’ve been anxious to get our hands on the tiny retro-gaming handheld. Panic was supposed to ship Playdate in early 2020, but the pandemic had other plans. Barring any other unforeseen problems, it should launch within the coming weeks, but it still does not have a solid release date set.

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