Meet Playdate; a handheld games console with an, er, crank controller

“Of course there’s some degree of nostalgia out front,” said Panic's Cabel Sasser

Mike Rogoway The Oregonian “Of course there’s some degree of nostalgia out front,” said Panic's Cabel Sasser

If you long for the good old days of simple games which place fun and imagination above everything else, then today is your lucky day, because a new indie-focused handheld is coming from videogame-publisher Panic, the company behind Firewatch and Untitled Goose Game, and it aims to bring Game Boy-style charm to the 21st century.

It'll cost you $149 to get a Playdate, which admittedly isn't exactly cheap nor is it too expensive. This small device, which looks somewhat like a Game Boy crossed with an iPod Nano, will offer players mobile access to unique games utilizing the device's hand crank 'joystick.' Each game will be made available as part of a 'season of games, ' according to the company, naturally raising some questions about how all of this will work. The crank puts a "whole new spin" on games and some titles will even use the crank exclusively.

The device will ship in early 2020 and cost $149 Dollars, with all twelve Season One games included in that initial cost. Here's the thing: we'd like to keep them a secret until they appear on your Playdate. They say that they are meant to be a surprise, and when the game is available you will get a notification on the console.

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"Playdate isn't just the hardware", Panic said. We want to surprise you, ' the company claims.

For more from Panic, check out our Firewatch review, where we called the Campo Santo-developed game "Amazing" saying "Firewatch is among the best of the "walking simulators" thanks to stellar writing, art direction, and voice acting".

For a start, it's got a removable hand crank on it - yes, a hand crank - which serves as a rotating analogue controller. One of those games is Crankin's Time Travel Adventure, created by Katamari Damacy's Keita Takahashi and relies purely on the crank. "They were our partners for Playdate's design". The console will be available to pre-order starting later this year for $149 United States dollars; shipments will start early next year if everything goes according to schedule. You can already register on the Playdate's official website for more information. The games, specially designed for Playdate, will arrive over-the-air in something called a season.

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