playdate-gaming-device

Playdate has a black-and-white screen and a hand crank.


Panic

The Playdate, a long-promised black and white indie gaming handheld developed by the creators of Untitled Goose Game, looks like it’s finally going on sale soon. The $179 handheld is going to be available for pre-order in July. The handheld’s first games, which are delivered over Wi-Fi for free with the purchase of the device, were shown off in greater detail in a new video today, along with some strange surprise accessories.

The yellow, crank-enabled Playdate looks very much like a Willy Wonka meets Wes Anderson Game Boy, and has a whimsical approach to its game library. A first season of included games, made by a variety of indie developers, will get pushed automatically to the Playdate in batches, once a week for twelve weeks, after the Playdate is released. There will be 24 games, and even though Panic revealed some details and teases of what these games will be like, a lot of them are still pretty shrouded in mystery. Some developers include Zach Gage and Chuhai Labs.

The game concepts look enchanting, though, and very reminiscent of Game Boy games and bizarre Nintendo indie efforts like Warioware. The whole thing is ridiculously full of charm (see above). The Playdate’s reflective black and white screen doesn’t have a backlight, and a side crank is used to uniquely control many if its games along with a d-pad and buttons.

Besides the included Season 1 games, there will also be a game-development web app that will be able to push games onto the Playdate.

playdate-dock

The Playdate dock turns it into a little desk…speaker pencil-holder?


Panic – screenshot by CNET

In the video news today, Panic suggests that enough Playdates will be available to not sell out initially, but with no guarantees that supplies wouldn’t be tight. Right now, Panic’s using an email notification system to alert about pre-orders a week before they happen. The handheld will also have a couple of accessories: a $29 cover to protect the screen, and a weird Bluetooth speaker dock that turns the handheld into a music-playing pencil holder.