Playdate, the adorable crank operated handheld, to release in 2021

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More people should be talking about the Playdate because… I mean come on, just look at it! The tiny handheld console reminds one of an age where everyone had a Gameboy in their back pocket and gaming didn’t require at least 720p resolution. Of course, the Playdate offers a similar experience except with more… crank. The device is controlled with two face buttons, a direction pad and, most unconventionally, a side-mounted crank.

We’ve played games with some weird peripherals before but I don’t think we’ve ever controlled anything with a crank, beyond maybe that small crane that sits behind the office. Don’t tell them we did that though, we’d get in all kinds of trouble. Honestly, I don’t even know if it was a crank. Might have been a very poorly designed lever.

Developed by Panic Studios, the strange little handheld console is able to play a series of games designed specifically to be controlled with the crank. The Playdate was announced last year and it’s been in development for some time now as it was meant to launch in 2020. But following a post on the development team’s blog, we know that COVID-19 and the work-from-home transition ate into the development schedule and has unfortunately pushed the device’s release back into 2021.

Playdate? In this global environment?

On the bright side, the hardware of the Playdate has finally be completed and signed off meaning that the device is finally going into production. A first “season” of games has already been confirmed and Panic has already commissioned a whole bunch more for the following month so it sounds like everything is coming together nicely!

If you’re reading this and think getting into this quirky little idea is worth your time, you can head on over to the Playdate website and order one for $150. There’ll be 20,000 units made which Panic estimates will cover demand with more being produced past the original launch date. Maybe one of the coolest parts of the Playdate is that the device itself can act as a development kit, meaning that if you get one you’ll be given the software to build and test your own games on the device.

Playdate wants to establish a community around developing games for its handheld console so anyone that designed a game for it can distribute it to others with the console, which is a fantastic idea for people who like creativity in their games and folks wanting to learn how to design their own games from scratch.

(Source: The Verge)

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I completed a Masters Degree just so someone might take my opinions seriously one day. Also writes about video games over at Critical Hit.

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