What is the Panic Playdate handheld gaming system?

Yolanda Curtis
May 23, 2019

Buyers get access to a single game when they first turn on the device, with a new one being pushed out every week for the next 12 weeks.

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?".

Sure, you've got 4K resolutions, HDR support and a vast library of games to choose from, but does your video game console of choice have a crank? Then we lost our minds when they said "Yeah!" The first one it helped out with was Firewatch and it's also handling the upcoming release Untitled Goose Game.

Playdate and its first season of games will launch in early 2020 and will be priced at $149 (around £118 / AU$217).

It fits in your pocket.

Playdate also has a D-pad and two buttons below the screen, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, USB-C, and a headphone jack. Compared to modern mobile devices, the Playdate is downright diminutive, measuring only 74 x 76 x 9mm (or just shy of three square inches at a thickness of 0.35 inches). "It's twelve brand new video games, one each week".

The company plans to keep these games a secret until they arrive on the handheld in an effort to surprise its customers, simply stating that, "Some are short, some long, some are experimental, some traditional".

It flips out from the side, a rotating analog controller that puts a whole new spin on games. It's created to deliver a jolt of fun in-between the times you spend with your phone and your home console; something to fill the moments when you just want a game you can pick-up and play. Crankin', as well as the other games, operates on the company's Playdate OS, part of the overall Playdate system that was created entirely from scratch.

You certainly couldn't accuse Teenage Engineering of taking a tried and tested approach to product development. The team is open to the idea of adding in more "seasons" as well, but Panic wants to see how well the Playdate does with gamers before making a final decision.

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