Varvara PPU on the Playdate
Varvara PPU on the Playdate

The Playdate is a monochromatic handheld console, programmable in C.

A Playdate was donated to Hundred Rabbits by Nate Steiner, our interest in the device was to see if we could turn it into a host machine for Uxn.

Screen 2.7" Sharp Memory LCD
Monochrome memory LCD display
400 x 240 pixel resolution
Default 30fps, maximum 50fps
Memory & Storage 16MB RAM
2GB flash storage
Controls D-pad
2 Buttons

The device is the result of a collaboration between Teenage Engineering, a company who makes boutique electronics and Panic, a company who writes proprietary development software for the platform that most aggressively fights against the Right To Repair.

But, despite that, it's surprisingly easy to open the Playdate and replace its standard 740mAh battery, all is needed is a slotted screwdriver. We did not receive our pre-sale unit with a disassembly manual nor the tools to open the case, but such third-party manuals exist.


The PlayDate documention focuses on building Lua projects using either VS Code or X Code, we will setup a plain C project without relying on an IDE.

You need to install the GNU cross compiler for ARM EABI(bare-metal) to be able to make arm compatible binaries. It should include libnewlib-arm-none-eabi(arm-none-eabi-newlib) which is also needed.

We'll simply use make as opposed to the ninja/cmake toolchain suggested in the official documentation. For an example project, you can have a look at the Uxn Emulator.

Playdate in bed
Playdate in bed

Incoming: playdate sleeve