Indie game platforms don’t happen that often. From the meteoric rise and fall of the OUYA, to Raspberry Pi powered handhelds like the Gameshell, most of these indie consoles would run on already available operating softwares and act more like homebrew endeavours. That is until the newly announced Playdate by Panic Inc.
The announcement of this new console came as a surprise this week through a tweet on Playdate’s official Twitter account. The makers of Firewatch and Untitled Goose Game have partnered with Teenage Engineering to make a truly unique handheld like any other. It’s small enough to fit into your pockets, it definitely takes a lot of cues from the classic Gameboy, and as far as gimmicks go, the Playdate has a built-in crank, along with the D-pad and the A and B buttons. It seems to be powered by USB-C, and looks to have a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
The Playdate is just about as big as a wallet and has a bright yellow finish. The screen does not have colour at all, which really hones in on that classic handheld feel. It doesn’t take cartridges like Nintendo’s handhelds, but instead will have games saved straight into the handheld. The Playdate will have games coming to it in seasons, with Season 1 consisting of 12 games and will be downloaded to the Playdate every week for a few months.
So what are the games coming to this system? So far there’s only one game that has been revealed for the Playdate; Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure takes full advantage of the Playdate’s crank, having you control time with the crank as you try to get Crankin to his date with Crankette. It’s weird and delightful, a good way to show the world on what the Playdate is capable of. Other games include Zipper by Bennet Foddy of QWOP fame, a game by SpellTower creator Zach Gage, and a new game by Katamari creator Keita Takahashi.
A fun fact is that it is made in Malaysia, while the developers aren’t Malaysian, it seems that the parts are manufactured and assembled here according to the official render. The Playdate doesn’t have a concrete release date just yet, with the official site saying it’ll be out in early 2020. The Playdate will have the Season 1 games for free, and will cost about MYR 630. Check out more of this exciting and quirky new handheld gaming device right here.