It’s surprisingly easy
Playdate devices are starting to ship out, and although all owners are getting a 24-game “season 1,” there’s more out there. Here’s how to sideload Playdate games and a few links to get you started.
How to sideload Playdate games online (the easiest consumer-friendly method):
- Go to the Playdate website and log into your account after you register your unit (more on that here)
- Select the “sideload” option above your account info
- Once you’ve bought/acquired a game, you’ll just drag/upload a .pdx file directly to your account
- Head to your device, look under “games” in your account, refresh the list at the top left, then scroll to the bottom (they can also automatically download over time)
That’s it! The .pdx file is actually just a folder containing the game itself, but you can upload the .zip directly to your Playdate account and access it from the cloud.
The sideloaded titles will be under “my games” at the bottom of your game menu.
How to sideload Playdate games via USB:
- Get the Playdate SDK
- Plug your Playdate into your PC via the included USB cable (or any USB C to USB A cable)
- Load the Playdate Simulator and open the .pdx file directly
- Select “Upload game to Device”
Playdate also has a third “data disk mode” option that I wouldn’t recommend: you can find those instructions, and info on other sideloading methods, here.
Where to buy/download Playdate games:
Since the process is so simple, finding games is arguably harder to do than actually loading them. Right now, your best bet is the Playdate Reddit, as well as Itch.io. But the Playdate developers will be spotlighting games as well as time goes on.
There are several games you can buy for Playdate now piecemeal that are not part of the “seasonal” run, which we’ll add to the list here:
- Bloom ($9.99)
- Bomber Panda ($2.00) [Free for a limited time using the link here provided by the developer]
- Ribbit Rabbit ($1.00)
- Sprout (name your price)