Playdate is a game console that looks like a Game Boy, and features a hand crank(?)

Panic said in its blog that it wanted to create “something truly different in the world of video games."


Panic, a company that has recieved recognition by developing high-end software for macOS and publishing indie hit Firewatch, has announced a new device that looks more-or-less like Nintendo's Game Boy.

Panic's Playdate hand-held console.

Panic's Playdate hand-held console.

The device is called the Playdate and it is a tiny handheld console with a black and white screen, chunky buttons like the one you'll find on the Game Boy, and a hand crank on the side. The entire device is yellow in colour and so are the buttons, except for the hand crank, which has a silver handle. It becomes apparent from looking at the device that it is targetted towards a very niche gaming audience.

Panic said in its blog that it wanted to create “something truly different in the world of video games." Panic co-founder Cabel Sasser said that “The yellow color immediately made Playdate feel approachable, friendly, and impossible to resist.”

Coming to the dimensions, the device measures 4 x  76  x  9 mm, with a 2.7-inch display. The screen in itself is a reflective black and white display with no backlighting. The buttons include the standard A and B keys, a directional pad and the aforementioned hand crank. The crank is a special control option which can be used for certain titles.

Apart from that, the Playdate includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB-C, and a headphone jack. It runs on a custom OS which has been developed by Panic.

The Playdate doesn't take in a cartridge or any other downloadable content like you might expect from a console. The hardware itself comes bundled with what Panic is calling a “season” of games. What this means is that when you power on the device, you will get access to one game and subsequently, each game will unlock every week. The first game to unlock is called Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure.

The Playdate is expected to ship in early 2020, and it’ll cost $149 when it does.


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