Playdate handheld gaming device coming in 2020


A bright yellow handheld gaming device reminiscent of the Game Boy is in the works by software and games developer Panic.

The device — dubbed Playdate — has a black-and-white screen and a “literally revolutionary” hand crank. Playdate will ship in early 2020 at a cost of $149 including 12 games for “season one,” but with very limited stock, the company said.

“Playdate isn’t just the hardware,” Panic said. “It’s 12 brand new video games, one each week.”

Games will be delivered over the air, with the system to alert users with a flashing light.

Games will come from designers such as Keita Takahashi, Zach Gage, Bennett Foddy and Shaun Inman, and will range from short to long, and from traditional to “experimental.”

One game, called Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure and developed by Takahashi, uses the hand crank exclusively. Panic said the crank pops out from the side of the device, but not all games use it.

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.

Panic said the system took four years of work.

“Panic built every part of Playdate from scratch, starting with early board designs (using the hotplate in our kitchen to flow solder), our own Playdate OS, a full-featured SDK supporting C and Lua development, a Mac-based simulator and debugger, and more,” the company said.

You can sign up for alerts on when the Playdate will be ready, and for information about developing Playdate games.

Preorders are expected to start in late 2019.

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