This New Handheld Gaming Device Is So Cute We Kinda Want To Smash It

Big Little Gamers, amirite?

In case you haven't heard, there's a new portable game console in town, and it's extremely tiny and incredibly cute.

Playdate / Via Twitter: @playdate

It's called Playdate (aww), and it's a new device from Panic that's about to change the mobile gaming world for good.


I know what you're thinking: more mobile games? And you're right. The market is pretty saturated these days. But it can still be tough to find something truly fun and innovative to play, especially with the seemingly endless stream of crappy mobile games that try to pinch every penny out of your pocket. Nintendo has been the standard-bearer for dedicated portable game consoles for decades, but with the slowly dying 3DS being the last remaining one on the market, it seemed like dedicated mobile gaming was headed for the graveyard.

(One might argue that the Switch is the future of mobile gaming, but there’s no denying that Switch games are best played on a television with a pro controller. It’s technically a portable console that you can play on your TV, but really it’s a home console that you can take on-the-go. Don't @ me.)


This bright yellow pocket-sized device has a crystal-clear un-backlit black-and-white screen. But the biggest (er...smallest?) development is the analog crank, which they say will be used for most of the game play and functions.


It also has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB-C, and a headphone jack. But did we mention the little crank?

The pricing model for this gadget is also a little different: the $149 tag includes the hardware and also the first "season" of 12 new games that will get delivered wirelessly to the console over the course of 12 weeks.


One of the first original and exclusive games announced for the device is called "Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure," from Keita Takahashi, the creator of Namco’s Katamari Damacy. It uses the crank as the sole controller, which moves the flow of time backwards and forwards.


Within a few hours of the announcement, there was a flurry of interest from prospective buyers and as well as developers, many of whom jumped at the opportunity to sign up to potentially design exclusive games for the device.

Panic is courting developers to make games for the console, and it appears as though the initial reaction is very positive, because over 8,000 people have actively stated their interest. They’re also doing something other game companies should emulate: purposefully reaching out to underrepresented groups of developers. So Playdate is not only poised to have a diverse array of games, but also a diverse developer community. While the SDK is in private beta for now, they have plans to release it publicly in the future.

According to their Twitter, there are over 100,000 people already on the wait list for this little thing, which is slated to ship a limited release in early 2020.

Holiday gift idea, anyone?

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Until you can get your hands on one yourself, check out an early demo on YouTube to see how the graphics and crank look in action!

And you can also learn a heck of a lot more about Playdate by listening to Panic’s founders’ interview with Daring Fireball writer John Gruber on his podcast, The Talk Show.

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