Can a game be active while the device is sleeping?

Howdy y'all. I'm totally new here and haven't touched Playdate development. I did poke around the docs but didn't see any obvious place where this core question of mine was answered.

Can a game be active while the device is sleeping (or whatever term for when I have to "wake it up" to play it)?

I ask because I enjoyed reading Stephen Totilo's recent piece on StreetPass and commented about whether the Playdate could replicate some of the magic of this phenomenon.

Core to this idea would be the ability to have something running and active while the device isn't actively being used, and I assume it would use Bluetooth.

I've only dabbled a bit with Bluetooth, so maybe that's also a non-starter and doesn't suit this purpose. If a reader happens to know more about this, I welcome it!

I would totally understand enabling background applications would be a security nightmare or any number of reasons to not enable this kind of behavior. But I thought I'd ask!

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Would be great. But...

Not possible, at least not currently.

  • device is single tasking, the OS is not running whilst your game is running
  • the system menu is a limited exception, I'm not sure exactly how that's hooked up but I believe it's injected into your game
  • system goes into hibernation low power state when sleeping
  • use of Bluetooth or WiFi isn't allowed
  • there would need to be 1M times as many Playdate in the wild to make it work

There was a phone game that did this with the scenario of a virus that slowly affects all people/phones. Can't remember the name.

I pitched something like StreetPass for iPhone back in 2014 but the funding body decided it wouldn't be popular enough.

The beauty of StreetPass is that the core functionality was built-in to the system.


Totally understood. Thanks for this info!

It's very clear on the StreetPass angle that it only existed because Nintendo made it for their own hardware and could trust it. No other 3rd-party game did anything like it, and IIRC only their own games interacted with it.

Edit: Oh, but for the # of Playdates needed to make it work, I'd be satisfied with it just spicing up conferences and conventions.


TBH conventions were the only place that 3DS Streetpass consistently worked for me. Same with TWEWY's Mingle mode on the original DS.