Just when it seemed like handheld console might slowly become a thing of the past, in comes small publisher Panic with their brand new handheld game system, the Playdate.
The Playdate looks like most other handheld consoles, it comes with a screen, a d-pad, two face button and…a crank. Yes, you heard that right, the Playdate will come with a crank on the right side of the device, which players can turn just like the reel on a fishing rod which should make for some interesting gameplay.
Another interesting aspect of Playdate is that there will be no game purchase involved. Instead, Playdate owners will receive 12 surprise games over the course of 12 weeks from game developers like Katamari Damacy’s Keita Takahashi and Bennett Foddy, who created the extremely frustrating Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy.
The games will be available for download over WiFi. The rest of the games are deliberately kept a mystery as the company has explicitly stated their desire to surprise Playdate Owners.
Here is the official description of Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure, a game developed by Keita Takahashi,
This game uses the crank exclusively to control the flow of time, backwards and forwards. Your goal? Get Crankin’ to his date with Crankette while avoiding an ever-increasing series of ridiculous obstacles — obstacles that aren’t affected by the time control. Will Crankin’ make it to his rendezvous on-time?
However, unlike most devices these days with their ultra high definition, full-colour display, the Playdate’s display will be in black and white. According to Kotaku, Panic has described the 400×240 low-power Sharp LCD, as being “extremely sharp and clear” with no grid lines or blurring. Unfortunately, the Playdate does not come with a backlight so users will need a reading lamp when playing it in the dark.
Playdate is expected to launch in early 2020 and will retail for US$149, and the first season of 12 games will be free of charge.