Mobile developer Panic – which also published Firewatch – has revealed that it is preparing to release a new gaming handheld called Playdate.
The Playdate certainly won’t be your average handheld. Panic describes it thus: “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.”
Panic says that Playdate will cost $149, and: “It will ship in early 2020.” That may sound expensive for such a small and basic – albeit cute — item of hardware, but the price will include 12 games, released over a 12-week period.
Panic explains: “We reached out to some top game designers, like Keita Takahashi and Zach Gage and Bennett Foddy and Shaun Inman. We showed them Playdate and asked, “Want to make a game for it?”. Then we lost our minds when they said “Yeah!” So Playdate isn’t just the hardware. It’s twelve brand new video games, one each week. 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.”
And it will be the first handheld to sport a crank: “We weren’t kidding about the crank.
It flips out from the side, a rotating analog controller that puts a whole new spin on games. Some games use the crank exclusively (like Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure, above.) Some don’t use it at all. By the way, the crank came from our friends at Teenage Engineering. They were our partners for Playdate’s design.”