Throwback Gaming Handheld “Playdate” Announced

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Publisher and developer Panic (Firewatch) has announced a new throwback handheld gaming console – the Playdate.

The new handheld will retail for $149.99, and it will ship in early 2020, with limited stock.

The Playdate has a non-backlit, black and white screen, a directional pad, A and B buttons, and a rotatable crank that can be used by games for – things.

While further details are scant, the handheld will ship with twelve indie games, and later games will be downloaded (at no extra cost) over a “season” of twelve weeks, from various developers like Katamari Damacy’s Keita Takahashi, Bennett Foddy, and others.

The first game to be revealed is Keita Takahashi’s Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure. Here’s an official blurb:

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? (Spoiler alert: no)

Stockholm-based Teenage Engineering designed the Playdate. The black-and-white display with a 400×240 resolution is described as “extremely sharp and clear” and has no grid lines or blurring. Again, there’s no backlight so playing in the dark will require a lamp – just like the good old days.

Further details like the on board CPU, RAM, storage, future seasons of games, and so on aren’t revealed yet.

If you’re looking to be informed when the Playdate goes live, make sure to sign up on its official website. Pre-orders are expected to go up later this year.

Brandon Orselli


Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer, Nicchiban, and Pretentious Media. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.