Just when you thought Nintendo Switch was the future of handheld gaming, an Oregon-based publisher went ahead and announced Playdate – that is, a modern, handheld system with black and white graphics, WiFi, USB and a crank. Yes, a crank. A small yellow rotating analogue controller flips out from the side. Apparently, it’s revolutionary, despite looking like a slim retro GameBoy.
Playdate will debut in early 2020 and includes a 12 game subscription. That’s a game a week for 12 weeks. Playdate is priced at $149 USD, and stock is expected to be extremely limited.
Playdate is said to fit perfectly in a pocket. It has a black-and-white screen with high reflectivity, a crystal-clear image, and no backlight. Charging is through USB-C, and audio comes via a headphone jack.
Playdate includes a full season of games, and each release will be a surprise. Several well-known game designers are said to be working on the software. Just one game has been revealed so far. It’s called Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure, from Keita Takahashi, the creator of the classic Japanese game Katamari Damacy.
As you probably guessed, this game uses the crank. It controls the flow of time, as players Get Crankin’ to his date with Crankette while avoiding an ever-increasing series of ridiculous obstacles.
Playdate comes from Panic, the publisher behind the 2016 game Firewatch and the upcoming Untitled Goose Game. After more than 20 years designing software and publishing games, Panic was ready to try something new.
An in-depth look at Playdate and interviews with the developers will be featured in Edge magazine issue #333 which hits newsstands later this month.
If a new take on retro gaming is your thing, follow the link below to join the mailing list to be notified when pre-orders open later in 2019.