Meet Playdate, The New Handheld Gaming Console With A Crank

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The Playdate is a new video game console that releases in early 2020 Panic

The games industry these days is strongly built around franchises. Games like Madden, FIFA, Call of Duty, and Battlefield come out pretty much every year, like clockwork. Thankfully, independent game developers are stepping it up with creative and inventive new gaming experiences. Developer/publisher Panic is going even further, creating a new handheld game console that is sure to be different from anything else released so far.

Panic is creating the Playdate, a new Game Boy-like contraption that drop-feeds games to owners. The Playdate has a black and white screen, a D-pad, and two buttons, just like Nintendo’s iconic console, but where the Playdate stands out is with a built-in crank on the side. Surprisingly, the crank isn’t used to power the console like one of those portable radios. Instead, the crank is used to control certain games.

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The Playdate looks kind of like a squished Game Boy, but with a crank built into the side of it. Photo: Panic

What games will use the crank? We don’t actually know yet, and Panic isn’t ready to start talking. In fact, the plan for the Playdate’s game lineup is to release a new game every week, with no advanced advertisements or marketing. Like Panic says on the Playdate website, the idea is to wake up on game release day, excited to see what new experience is now available.

There are 12 games planned for “Season 1” of the Playdate, and so far, only one game has been confirmed: Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure. Designed by Keita Takahashi, creator of Katamari Damacy, Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure exclusively uses the Playdate’s crank to control the flow of time and help the main character avoid obstacles. It sounds weird and unique, and I want to play it. Other confirmed game creators include Bennett Foddy, Shaun Inman, and Zach Gage, but we don’t know what kind of games these folks are working on just yet.

Panic has confirmed the Playdate will ship in early 2020, but no specific release dates have been mentioned yet. If you want to get your hands on a Playdate, be sure to sign up right now on the official Playdate website. There is a limited quantity of consoles getting created, and pre-orders will be sent out to those who sign up for more information. The Playdate will cost $149, which includes the first 12 planned games. Panic has not revealed if more games will come in the future, and if those games will cost more money.

If you want to sign up to reserve your spot in line for the Playdate, be sure to sign up on the Playdate website. If you want to follow along with developments and game updates, check out the official Playdate Twitter account.

So what do you think? Are you interested in seeing what kind of games can be played with a crank? Would you rather have all the games announced before you make a purchase? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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