Playdate, new indie handheld console by Firewatch publisher Panic revealed - features a black-and-white screen, and a crank...?

Playdate, new indie handheld console by Firewatch publisher Panic revealed - features a black-and-white screen, and a crank...?

Platforms: Playdate

Panic, the publisher of Firewatch, has revealed a brand new indie handheld console called Playdate. It's releasing in early 2020 for $149, has a black-and-white screen, a crank, and is very yellow.

The handheld is a product born from the minds of Panic, and realised by Swedish industrial design firm Teenage Engineering. The striking handheld console features a black-and-white screen that is retro but incredibly sharp.

As the images show, games are controlled with a simple D-pad opposite two buttons, alongside a rotational analogue crank that will seemingly make for some very interesting and novel gameplay mechanics. Edge magazine, who feature the console in their latest issue, call it the "craziest bit of videogame hardware we've seen in years".

I'll take one for the sublime packaging alone.
Image Credit: Edge Magazine

The controls are not the only novel aspect of Playdate: games will be delivered to the console once every week over WiFi, with the first 'season' of 12 games included with the purchase of the Playdate console. The idea appears to be that every week you boot up your Playdate to find a new, surprise game to play. With new seasons being made available, assuming the demand is there.

You may be thinking, who is going to be developing games for this bizarre little machine? The answer? Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi, Spelltower and Flip Flop Solitaire's Zach Gage, and QWOP and Getting Over It designer Bennett Foddy are all signed on to develop titles for the first wave of Playdate games.

Over on their newly launched Twitter account, Playdate revealed a number of behind-the-scenes shots of the new handheld's construction as well as a brief view of four games that will be appearing on the system.

Be sure to check out Playdate's lovely website that features some great interactive models of the system and a demonstration of how the crank works in Crankin presents Time Travel Adventure, by the creator of Katamari Damacy. The handheld will charge via USB-C and features a headphone jack.

Check out how tiny this thing is. And give me a crank on every console please.

Firewatch developer Campo Santo have highlighted on Twitter that an early prototype model of the Playdate console can be found in the Panic published game. Interestingly, this in-game model has been posted on The Models Resource website since August 2018 and is labelled as 'PlayDate'. So, Panic's new handheld and its name has been available to view for a long time, the page has even been visited over 1120 times.

Hidden in plain sight.

Edge magazine has an exclusive cover story revealing more about Panic's Playdate handheld console. They've had hands-on time with the machine, interviewed the creators, and spoken to the developers making games for it.

Playdate will cost $149 and is scheduled to launch in early 2020. You can sign up to be notified when the handheld goes on sale at play.date.

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