My Playdate pal Pocket playing perfection

I really like my Playdate.

Hang on, rewind: you need a bit of context for this.

I’ve always been drawn to videogames, and I’ve mostly been terrible at playing them. This, despite writing a professional videogames reviews column for a while during the late 1990s. Not quite sure how I got away with that. Anyway.

Yes, I’ve always been drawn to them. School friends of mine had home computers (lol, that phrase - “home computer” - sounds so prehistoric now).

Tim had a ZX Spectrum, and I’d go round to his house after school to play it, or watch him play it more successfully. John had a BBC Micro, and I’d do the same at his house. A couple of years later, in 6th form, Chris had a PC and I vividly remember him showing me how to play SimCity on it. I oggled and cooed. It was amazing.

Most of the time, I was - and remain - just a bad games player. I don’t understand most in-game puzzles. My reflexes aren’t quick enough, so I lose all my lives in rapid succession. I spend hours exploring every corner of a dungeon for power-ups, when most players would be charging ahead on their quest. I tend to get stuck on level 2 or level 3 of most things. It’s embarrassing.

There have been a few successes:

The main thing, I think, is that the constant fail-then-try-again of most videogames just bores me too quickly. Once I reach a level boss (or even just a level) that’s too tricky and I’ve tried playing it a few times without success, I switch off. Emotionally and literally. Life’s too short and all that. I’ve spent too much money on Nintendo Switch games that I never finished. (They did get finished by my son, though, he’s an avid and very successful gamer.)

But then I ordered a Playdate, waited a few months until I’d almost forgotten it, and got a surprise package in the post.

Playdate is great because:

The casual gaming thing is so important. I don’t play games with purpose. I don’t block out time in my day to play games. I’ve got too many other things to do and think about. But I do like being able to fill life’s unplanned gaps with a quick spin on the Playdate.

My fave games so far: Sasquatchers, Executive Golf DX, Pick Pack Pup, Casual Birder. I’m looking forward to seeing what new stuff comes out, especially puzzle or strategy games.

Another reason to love Playdate is the excellence of the comms and marketing that surrounds it; but that’s a post for another day.