The handheld video game business has been dominated by Nintendo since the days of the Game Boy. Sony had a fair crack at it, but has since pulled out of the portable market. With Nintendo now dominating the handheld video game arena all by itself with the Switch, it has left us wondering if anyone else will step up.
Enter the Playdate – a new yellow coloured device created by the Oregon-based software and video game company, Panic. If you're not familiar with the name, this company recently started publishing games. The first one it helped out with was Firewatch and it's also handling the upcoming release Untitled Goose Game.
The Playdate includes a control pad, an A and B button, a 2.7-inch black and white high-resolution screen, wi-fi, Bluetooth, a USB-C port, rechargeable battery, headphone jack, and a crank. The crank puts a "whole new spin" on games and some titles will even use the crank exclusively.
One of these is Crankin's Time Travel Adventure, a game created by Keita Takahashi, best known as the designer of Katamari Damacy. Other designers include Zach Gage (Ridiculous Fishing), Bennett Foddy (VVVVVV, QWOP, Ape Out) and Shaun Inman (The Last Rocket).
Included with this hardware is a game service. Playdate users will receive 12 games over 12 weeks. These games will range from short, long, experimental to traditional. Panic promises it won't end there, either:
And there’s so much more to come. 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.
As for the price, it'll cost $149 (about £118) and will include the first 12 games. The device is scheduled to arrive early on in 2020. For more information, visit the official website and sign up to the email alerts.
What do you think of the Playdate? Share your thoughts below.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Thu 23rd May, 2019.
[source eurogamer.net, via play.date]
No physical release = no buy for me.
Not interested with Playdate.
I will stick on my GBA games with NDS Lite for Retro gaming.
@Anti-Matter this device is a physical device right? Not really sure what your problem is with it.... interested to see how you use your Apps on your phone as well btw, love to see the box art for “maps”
On topic, really cool device! Kind of a steep price for such an experimental project so I Will be keeping my eyes out for it but not jumping on board right away
As a budget oddity, it might have been cute.
That price isn't doing it any favors, though.
It'll be interesting to see what the software is like. I definitely won't write it off until then.
I love it. I’m not completely sold just yet, but I’ll definitely keep my eyes peeled
I'm a game collector.
I want all my games in physical release (discs and cartridges)
@Anti-Matter I understand, but this is something different entirely, the device is part of the games and Will probably be exclusive to it like a game & watch, you don’t mind those not having discs right?
It's quite cute
I mean, seems like a neat idea for a gimmick but... that's all.
I just don't see the appeal to play this over something else I already have access to. And 150 dollars for a black and white screen? I could understand black and white games as a style for the games but... for the device entirely?
I'm just not in the target audience I guess.
I was hoping that the crank was used to power it, like those wind-up radios!
Hipsters will love this (if they're still a thing). But for me I can see the novelty wearing off very quickly.
No thanks not interested, the retrocade looks more promising than this.
@Ooyah that was my first thought too, would have really been a novel (and very good) item then.
@nmanifold yes, they are still a thing. Just like Fiat Multiplas, they will always be with us.
For a moment, I thought the crank was to help recharge the device.
Honestly this looks like a lot of fun. I really like all the developers involved in making games for it.
Still it might be shortsighted to pay 150 for this device without finding out if the games are any good. If they are able to amass a library of 30-50 games of relative good quality then it will be worth it. It would be really interesting if they had a fishing game that had feedback/ resistance on the crank so it felt like you were actually reeling one in.
April fools lol. I just don’t get it. It looks like that LDK handheld like the Bittboy. Can’t help feeling like this is going to be yet another niche product that’s doomed to flood the likes of aliexpress.
@halljames Maybe it won’t do well, but it’s certainly not a retrobaiting cash grab. All the developers on board so far have made some remarkably novel and innovative games in the past. If they see the potential then I’d be willing to give this device a pass for now.
Sounds like someone took my advice but with another company and a type of handheld. 💕
Yeah, I was totally excited for a crank powered device! I've got a radio/flashlight that is crank powered with a small rechargable battery built in. I love that device and thought this would be similar. Hopefully it is! The crank could totally be used for games and for charging. I don't understand the black and white display. I mean, I like minit, downwell, and West of Loathing as much as anybody, but I still want color games too! I suppose Slime-san could easily be black and white and still be just as fun. And maybe The End is Nigh too. It seems like a $150 Gameboy could have color these days... All that said, I'll probably really want to try this thing out.
The perfect handheld for campers and living off the grid! The ultimate must-have desert island accessory!
I'll buy it , might turn out terrible but I'm a collector so I've got to have it.
Nah. Nintendo changed the handheld game with the Switch, and I can't really see myself getting into a low-tech device like this.
Wish this had X and Y buttons I feel like leaving those out is a huge mistake. Could be a fun little device.
I thought the crank would charge it, like the windup radios from the 90s
It seems cool and looks nice but I don't think I could justify the price tag to be honest.
This friggin' adorable. It's going to be so limited isn't it? I've registered my interest though.
Yeah it would be cool except the price, just 2 buttons and the black and white screen.... oh well could have been something I would have been into.
This actually looks pretty cool. It's not retro. It's modern. It's interesting and I want one.
Man, I, too, thought the crank was used for recharging. A missed opportunity. Would be so cool if it was used both for gameplay, and then charging in some special recharge mode.
Looks great, though. Reminds me of what Teenage Engineering is doing for music devices.
What a beautiful and lovely design! It looks stunning. I love it.
It's nice to see some people are still trying to make innovative and new hardware.
Not sure I will buy it, but I'm really interested by this thing. Hopefully the games will be good.
Bennett Foddy didn't make VVVVVV. That was Terry Cavanagh. I highly doubt he made Ape Out as well - he's the QWOP guy; the Getting Over It guy.
That crank though... I first thought it would be some gimmick where it's the only way to charge the battery. Hence you really have to make a "play date" with yourself and commit to it.
Not sure whether I'm disappointed or relieved now...
Edit: so I bought Ape Out on the weekend and I have to admit I was wrong about that one - Bennett Foddy is listed in the opening credits. Don't give him Terry Cavanagh's stuff though!
A wild Lolwut has appeared! I don't think I'll be buying one, but I totally dig the bizarro concept.
@Anti-Matter Have fun not being a gamer anymore in the next 10 years when physical media goes away.
Is this a wind up?
It seems more like a commercial art piece than a practical game system. But I'd be down to pick it up for the novelty.
I think I would "wind up" not playing it that much.
Don't open the shrink wrap
Soulja Boy left the chat
I love it! That’s actually innovative and the simplicity and pocketability is very appealing.
If I didn’t have to pay $150 plus postage, taxes and whatnot, I’d love to try it. Teenage Engineering being part of the production explains why it’s so expensive. They make extremely high quality products in a super compact form factor.
If this is why Untitled Goose Game got a major delay I am pissed
It'll serve as a nice new fidget spinner. Last about as long, too...
Cute idea, but not for that price. You could buy a 3DS for that much these days
@Quinnsdaddy11 Panic has been working on this device for years (before UGG) and, if I had to guess, Untitled Goose Game might be delayed because they wanted to beef up the content in light of the unexpected large positive response.
Not sure I have the budget for it, but I kind of love it. I do hope the crank can also charge the battery, but it's a nice analog input which is very interesting. Makes me think of bit.trip.beat and how great the analog motion control was for that — apparently the speaker is quite loud on this machine.
Those game developers are pretty great, too. There will be unique, innovative, or at least novel and fun games on here. Zach Gage is one of the reasons not to write off all mobile games, for instance, and he really understands how to make games that are fun to visit for short bursts and hard to put down for hours once you are hooked.
I'm probably going to end up with one just to try developing on it. Panic is a great non-game software company, too, and I'm very curious what they have cooking with the OS and dev environment/SDK.
It actually looks really intriguing, but I'm not sure I want to spend £120 on 12 very basic looking mini games.
They really missed a trick if the crank doesn't recharge the battery.
As I've said for a long long time, I wish Nintendo would make a Game Boy like this (minus the crank). That slim thickness, with a nice big screen and actual buttons. And a completely online based game library. Mainly for all the classics, like a Virtual Console in your pocket, but if they wanted to publish new games then they can.
I like the idea, reminds me of those old Cybiko things. I do think at that price it seems steep but I guess if you look at it in a different way that you are getting a new console and 12 games then that really isnt a bad price! im intrigued!
If the crank is not also a way to recharge then I see limited use for game application. Also the Black & White screen is no go for me.
Same price as a New 2DS XL.
I suppose this is the hardware video game equivalent of a $1,000 iPhone or Samsung Galaxy so the price may be justified but I'll just wait until someone makes equivalent games in Labo Toy-con Garage.
If I wanted to spend that much on a piece of tech I'd buy a Cozmo. You can probably play similar games on it's face.
Not bad, but... Why black and white??
I really don’t get the point of a black & white screen at this point.
They’re some veeeery exciting names on board with this. There could be some exciting experimental games coming out on this odd little thing. Also, Bennett Foddy didn’t really work on VVVVVV, he just named the rooms. He’s more known for Getting Over It and QWOP.
Like others, I wanted it to be powered by the crank. That would probably be really tiring, though. I have a crank powered flashlight and it takes a ton of muscle to keep the stupid thing lit. I can't imagine trying to keep a video game going, even black and white. We'd have thumbs of steel.
i thought it was dumb the screen is black and white when it has wifi before i realized it was digital
It might be worth buying one, considering how big of a bust it'll be.
5 years from now, nobody will know what it was but there may be collectors around the world who'll pay a lot for these then hard-to-find devices.
The device looks generic and ugly, I don't think this is for me. The fact that it had no real games for you to play and own is just the icing on the not-gonna-buy cake for me. The crank does seem interesting though, would make for a nice virtual crane game.
I'm already imagining how useless this device is going to be, when that crank breaks off...
This seems like a pretty ill conceived device. It has two buttons, a black and white display, 12 unrevealed games and is significantly more expensive than the 2DS.
It's incompatible with most modern games and its limitations aren't even out of necessity or for the sake of good value.
Would have been an interesting niche to have Steam compatibility, but alas.
I’m a video game collector sitting in my games room surrounded by 100s of boxes right now. I still want this. It looks bloody great and I don’t understand certain people on here saying they will only ever buy physical games. Some games will never get a physical release and developers who are willing to take a risk should be supported. The developers involved in this make me very excited indeed.
The screen resolution is great and the black and white will shine.
I’d buy one tomorrow if I could.
I want one bad!
@Ooyah That is what I was thinking, I honestly just assumed the crank would be used to power it because when you think about it having a hand crank powered game console could be really useful in some situations where power is in short supply.
They could come up with some fun little games to play while you are cranking it for power, seems like a real missed opportunity to not capture any energy.
@ferryb001 the “physical release people” on this site are so weird. I only see it happen here,nowhere else. These guys are going to have to quit gaming in a couple years.
@retro_player_22 I don’t know why some posters on this site are so hung up on “owning” games,but you do own the games on this system. They aren’t streaming
@MisterKorman do these people buy hundreds of DVDs instead of using Netflix like a normal person?
@ThanosReXXX as useless as any other portable when the buttons break off
@Anti-Matter what does that get you?
It's my choice to consider physical games only.
I'm not interested with digital download only / no physical games.
@rxchrisg Yes you do own the games you download but will the games be tie to the system or through a network account? Also if and when the service is discontinue, will there be options to preserve these games so they won't be in denial like the Ouya? See the reason why I'm not interested in the digital download route is because of this one reason, that you likely won't be able to keep those games you already purchase. Now don't get me wrong, owning physical games had their downs as well but physical makes owning the product seem more legit than digital download to me anyways. What I don't get is why there no options for both (physical and digital) cause having only one just doesn't seem right.
I've always wondered why consoles haven't had a crank
I assumed the 'Crank' actually wound the battery or created the power somehow. This will become the new 'wiimote' in that games will tack on the usage no doubt. I do love B&W games but that's about as far as i'd go with any interest in this unit.
@Anti-Matter The games are exclusive to the device, making them a part of the device. The device is physical.
Depending on the size of the games and the internal storage of the device you may never need to delete any game off of it. Small screen 2D black/white games shouldn't cost a lot of storage.
Im both saddened and relieved by the somewhat negative response this is getting. I love it, and I think it looks very unique and awesome. I dont understand why people are saying its bad because it isnt exactly the same as every other console. I think it looks fantastic and charming, but as they are supposed to be an extremely limited release, Im glad all of you dont want one, cause thatll make it easier for me to get one.
@rxchrisg Except buttons aren't as vulnerable a component as an external crank, so although buttons breaking down might occur in some extreme cases, that crank is something entirely different, and even though the crank itself looks sturdy, it's still connected to a plastic housing, so that might crack or tear from overuse or incorrect/extreme handling of the crank.
Oooops. Good luck with this portable 😂
Crank it like a Soulja GameBoy.
I so can't wait to play Sega Bass Fishing on this thing!
It plays in black and white, and it has a crank? This sounds weird. :/
@ferryb001 I think he means it doesn't play anything physical.
@Dr_Lugae This is a very succinct way of putting it.
I mean, I wish em luck n stuff but yeah. You make a lot of really good points.
@rxchrisg What do you care if people do? What do you have against people owning things they pay for?
@Anti-Matter In this, I agree with you completely.
@Tempestryke you do own them
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