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Handheld games device Playdate looks adorable and innovative

Black-and-white screen, weekly new games, and a crank


This is Playdate, a handy little games console with a black and white screen. It looks fantastic.

Announced on Wednesday, Playdate is due out next year, at a price of $149. It comes with a few interesting quirks. First, it has a crank on the side, which manufacturer Panic says puts “a whole new spin on games.” The company’s website shows one game, Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure, in action. Players use the crank to control an on-screen character.

Second, its launch library of 12 games are all included in the price of the hardware. The games are released on a weekly basis, and are designed to surprise and delight players.

“We’d like to keep them a secret until they appear on your Playdate,” says Panic. “We want to surprise you. Some are short, some long, some are experimental, some traditional. All are fun. When your Playdate lights up with a brand new game delivery, we hope you can’t wait to unwrap your gift.”

The device measures 74 × 76 × 9mm, with a 2.7-inch display. It comes with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a headphone jack and USB-C port for battery charging. The games are being designed by the likes of Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy), Zach Gage (SpellTower), Bennett Foddy (QWOP) and Shaun Inman (The Last Rocket).

Panic has been around for two decades, mostly making Mac and iOS games. But it’s also responsible for publishing Firewatch and the forthcoming Untitled Goose Game.

“There’s so much more to come,” adds Panic. “Playdate is alive with possibilities and surprises, future games and new ways to make them. We’ll have even more to talk about at launch.”

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