One weird thing about having a long-running blog is that you end up making embarrassing proclamations in the past, such as not really understanding the appeal of tablets. When the iPad came on the scene, I *really* didn’t get it, but gradually over the years I’ve come to appreciate these portable computers.
Still, my all-in-one phone servers my purpose for most stuff. While I don’t miss having to lug around sixteen different devices for various purposes, I have been re-examining the appeal of single-purpose gadgets in the modern era. Not too long ago I got an iPod Classic and enjoyed only putting music on that, and now I’m wondering if it might be the same for games.
Portable gaming seems to be on the rise, especially with tablets and the Nintendo Switch all over the place. Recently, Steam unveiled the Steam Deck as a portable computer that supposedly can play most of its titles. Again, I don’t understand the appeal of THAT — especially without a mouse and keyboard to interact with most of the games that I do play — but hey, I’m sure it’ll make someone happy.
I’ve taken an odd fascination with the Playdate, though, as a kid of polar opposite to the Steam Deck. This upcoming device is a small, cute Gameboy-looking retro-styled device that is bringing gaming back to the monochrome era. Sometimes simplicity can bring out great gameplay, so I get that.
It’s a bit on the pricey side — $179 — and that’s hard to justify for a device that’s nothing but monochrome gaming. But it will include 24 indie titles specifically made for it, so that does make up some of that cost. I do like the preview so far, but it might have to be a Christmas buy if anything.
Another portable option that I’ve considered is something to handle game emulation for older 8-bit and 16-bit systems. The RG350 sounds like the go-to standard for this sort of thing, and I do start salivating when I think about the potential for putting my whole NES, SNES, and Genesis collections on a single device.
I haven’t taken the plunge yet, but I do like the thought of going back to portable game consoles that only did this one thing — and did it well.