Oh, that's what it could look like

Written on June 13, 2021

Panic is a software company that was founded in 1997 (about 24ish years old). They are makers of some of my favorite macOS apps like Transmit and Nova. Along the way Panic also published a really fun game called Untitled Goose Game—where you play, yup of all things a goose.

Their latest adventure is a handheld game system called, Playdate. This past week they shared their latest update and I am so excited for the system!

If you haven’t caught this video, please check it out.

After watching it I am excited for this little device because it is so different.

While it has the traditional d-pad, a and b buttons, it also has a crank. And it adds such a unique aspect to the games that they’ve showcased so far.

And by the way did you see the dock?

When I first saw a clip of the dock, I wasn’t too inclined by it. But then I watched the entire update video and got even more excited about it. Especially watching Cabel Sasser talk about it—his giddiness for all things Playdate is exciting.

The dock feels like a hat tip to all those weird stationary widgets that existed in the late 80s and early 90s. It definitely has a retro feel to it. I love the little metal lift at the bottom. I was a little underwhelmed by the pen and the pen holder at first, but I kind of dig it now.

I can imagine the dock sitting at my desk and just being a delightful desk accessory to look at. I can imagine a developer coming up with a Tamagotchi-esque game that just sits there on the dock and makes all sorts of funny noises and faces.

But what was so special about this video and I think what Playdate at large means to me; is that independent, self-funded, software companies can do other things than software.

I’m rooting for Panic and Playdate. I hope they see a huge amount of success!

While watching the Playdate update video, it reminded me of Wildbit’s recent 20-year celebration video and Natalie Nagele’s hopes for the future of Wildbit. That she’ll be able to take the creative group of people that work at Wildbit and create something more than software.

I hope if Natalie hasn’t already seen Panic’s adventure into Playdate that she does and that it helps them with a path forward for what she and Wildbit could do in the future. I hope it also acts as inspiration for Wildbit and really the industry at large to go beyond what they are used to and try new things.

Trying something new could end in failure. But, we’re getting a peak into what it could look like for self-funded, software companies to go beyond software and create creative products with success. I’m excited for this future. And I think we’ll be seeing a lot more small businesses follow suit.

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