Panic Inc. — the developer behind such video games as Firewatch and the upcoming Untitled Goose Game — has announced a brand-new handheld console called the Playdate.

The Playdate is a rather unique handheld gaming device, as it features a hand crank on its side. However, crank, contrary to what you may think, does not power the console. Rather, it is part of the Playdate’s control scheme.

The crank is a flip-out rotational controller that serves to make the Playdate stand out from other handheld consoles out there. That being said, the device also features a traditional d-pad, as well as A and B buttons. Different games on the device use different controls. Some use both the crank and the d-pad, others use the crank exclusively and some don’t use the crank at all.

Another key aspect of the Playdate’s design is its small size, a decision that was apparently made with easy portability in mind. The handheld system also comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, a USB-C and a headphone jack.

Panic explained their thought process in venturing from game design into actual hardware development, saying, “What if we could push ourselves even further? What if we could build something? A real something you could hold?”

They continued, “It was harder than we thought, but it’s here.”

Several independent game designers joined Panic in the Playdate’s development process, including Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy), Zach Gage (TypeShift), Bennett Foddy (Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy) and Shaun Inman (The Last Rocket).

Panic explained, “We showed them Playdate and asked, ‘Want to make a game for it?’ Then we lost our minds when they said ‘Yeah!'”

 

Following its release, the Playdate will feature a total of 12 original games as a part of its first “season,” with one being released each week. Panic is currently keeping what the games are under wraps, so each release comes as a surprise to players.

When speaking to what the games will be like, Panic said, “Some are short, some long, some are experimental, some traditional. All are fun.”

The Playdate is set to launch sometime in 2020 and will sell for $150 USD. All 12 games released as a part of Season One are included in that cost.

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About The Author

Noah Dominguez
Jr. Staff Writer

A lifelong gamer who got his start playing Spyro the Dragon, Trap Gunner, and Medievil II on the original PlayStation (and has been impatiently awaiting Medievil III ever since), as well as Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Genesis. Now has a penchant for games with compelling stories, but still spends way more time playing Tony Hawk games than any one person should and could listen to their soundtracks all day long if need be. Has worked as an online writer since late 2016, giving his take on video games, movies, television shows, comic books, and the like. Currently waiting to be cast in a 21 Jump Street revival TV series.