In a surprise move, Indie publisher and app developer Panic has announced their very own hand-held console – the Playdate.
Panic – known best as the developers of web development apps like Coda and publishers of Indie titles like Campo Santo’s Firewatch – announced the Playdate via a new Twitter account dedicated to the console. The idea for the console came as a result of the company wanting to challenge themselves on the hardware front, leading them to contact Teenage Engineering, a Swedish electronics company well known for its pocket synthesizers, for collaborative assistance.
The design both companies came up with is certainly a unique one, to say the least: Whilst somewhat similar to a Game Boy Advance SP in regards to basic layout, having a D-Pad and two input buttons, the console features something none other ever have: A handcrank. The crank is described as ‘a flip-out, rotational controller’, with some titles on the system will requiring it to play, and others only having it as an alternative for players to choose. The console will focus on lighter titles, more reminiscent of yesteryear than contemporary gaming.
The system will ship with four games installed on the console – Zipper, Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure, o360, and Executive Golf DX. These tiles were created by Indie stars like Bennett Foddy (QWOP, Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy) and Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy) for the Playdate. The console – featuring an internet connection – will expand it’s library frequently, releasing a new game each week for a few months. “Our dream is simple,” The announcement thread stated, “That you wake up on new game day excited to see what you can play next.”
The result of four years of development, the console is slated for a release some time in 2020, and is expected to retail at around $149USD. Other details – such as distribution, and planned ports (if any) – are yet to be announced. In the meantime, the console’s mailing list may be found here.