Playdate: New Handheld Console (With a Crank!) Unveiled

Here’s an unexpected slice of gaming news: there is a new handheld games console coming to market, and it has a black-and-white screen and a working hand crank. It’s called Playdate and it comes to us from Panic, a studio that’s been developing games for over 20 years (mostly for Mac and iOS) and recently started publishing (with titles like Firewatch and Untitled Goose Game).

The Playdate console was announced with a new website, featuring the following description: “It’s yellow. It fits in your pocket. It’s got a beautiful black and white screen. It’s not super cheap, but not super expensive. It includes brand new games from some amazing creators. Plus it has a crank.”

Playdate isn’t just hardware, either. There will be bespoke games made for the Playdate, with Panic promising to release these exclusive titles in 12-part “seasons,” where gamers receive a new game to play every week for 12 weeks. Keita Takahashi, Zach Gage, Bennett Foddy, and Shaun Inman are among the designers that are developing games for Playdate.

Further Reading: The Games You Need to Play in 2019

Panic’s announcement of the Playdate continues, “What are these games? Here’s the thing: we’d like to keep them a secret until they appear on your Playdate. We want to surprise you. Some are short, some long, some are experimental, some traditional. All are fun. When your Playdate lights up with a brand new game delivery, we hope you can’t wait to unwrap your gift.”

Not all of the games will use the crank mechanic, which was designed with partners from Teenager Engineering, but some of them will use it as their main control method. One game that falls into the latter camp is Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure, which is the first Playdate game we’ve been given a title for. You can get a glimpse at that game here:

Playdate will become available in early 2020, costing at $149. This cost will include the first 12-part season of games. You can sign up for updates on the Playdate website.

We’ll keep you posted as we hear more.

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