The Playdate gaming handheld is a Recreation Boy-Mannequin T mashup by Firewatch writer Panic

Indie app developer Panic could also be greatest recognized for its enjoyable and helpful Mac and iOS software program, however its newest enterprise is decidedly outdoors the field. Constructing on the success of the cross-platform recreation Firewatch, which it revealed, the group is constructing a handheld online game system known as Playdate that’s simply as enjoyable and quirky as Panic’s iconic app icons: It’s yellow, has retro Recreation Boy attraction, and incorporates a Mannequin T Ford-style crank.

Panic says the machine “matches completely in a pocket” and is constructed “solely from scratch,” proper all the way down to its Playdate OS, a full-featured SDK supporting C and Lua improvement, and a Mac-based simulator and debugger. As a substitute of a colour display, Playdate sports activities “a black-and-white display with excessive reflectivity, a crystal-clear picture, and no backlight.” It additionally has a headphone jack. And did we point out its crank?

Panic says the crank shall be instrumental in gameplay. For instance, its first title is actually known as Crankin’s Time Journey Journey, and can use the crank “to manage the circulate of time, backwards and forwards.”

Additionally progressive is the best way recreation shall be delivered. Slightly than shopping for video games by way of a digital storefront, Playdate will ship video games over the air routinely “as soon as every week for 12 weeks, they usually’ll be a shock: when the brand new recreation mild flashes, you’ll by no means know what you’re about to play.” Panic doesn’t say whether or not previous titles shall be changed or not, however video games will run the gamut from well-known to under-the-radar builders.

There’s plenty of different stuff we don’t find out about Playdate too, together with specs and sound, whether or not there shall be in-app purchases, if titles shall be unique to the platform, or whether or not the crank shall be a requisite for gameplay. Nor do we all know how lengthy the battery lasts (although we do understand it makes use of USB-C to cost). However from what we see to this point, Playdate is actually an intriguing machine from a developer with a implausible observe document—although {hardware} and software program are two solely completely different beasts.

Playdate will price $149 and is because of launch in early 2020, with pre-orders starting later this yr.

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