Everything you need to know about the upcoming Playdate

There's a lot of promise in this little wonder

Indie developer Panic held a stream today announcing its plans for the new boutique handheld device, The Playdate.

The Playdate is a handheld with a stripped-down interface, a high resolution, high contrast black and white screen and a novel crank on the side. Panic partnered with musical hardware company Teenage Engineering to build the device.

The update is available to watch below:

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Pre-orders are set for July, with a week’s advance notice and a price of $179. No UK price has been confirmed as of yet.

Games for Playdate will be released in Seasons, with the first expected to feature 24 titles. Two games will launch a week across its first 12 weeks, which will all be included in the price of the console.

The stream also included a list of most of the games that will arrive in the first set, though little information was revealed. Among these, there was Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure by Katamari Damacy developer Uluva, Snak by developer Zach Gage and Zipper by Bennett Foddy.

Crankin's Time Travel Adventure on Playdate
Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure on Playdate. Credit: Uvula, Panic.

The rest of the games mentioned were as follows: Battleship Godios, Boogie Loops, Casual Birder, Demonquest 85, Ehcoic Memory, Executive Golf DX, Flipper Lifter, Forrest Byrnes: Up In Smoke, Hyper Meteor, Lost Your Marbles, Omaze, Pick Pack Pup, Questy Chess, Ratcheteer, Sasquatchers, Spellcorked, Saturday Edition, and finally Whitewater Wipeout, which will be released on the console’s launch date.

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Panic further mentioned its future team up with Sweet Baby Inc, which will be mentoring up-and-coming developers from marginalised communities. First up was Xalavier Nelson Jr.’s Recommendation Dog and second, was Sweet Baby’s with Reel Steal.

Lucas Pope, creator of puzzle game Papers, Please and one-bit graphic mystery Return Of The Obra Dinn announced he was working on a game too.

“This thing is a lot of fun to work with!” Pope said. “The perfect place I thought to make something that my kids might like. Less death, more laughs basically.”

Playdate: Mars after Midnight
Playdate: Mars After Midnight. Credit: Panic, Lucas Pope

Pope shared a short glimpse of his game Mars After Midnight but didn’t hint at a release date, stating that a timeline hasn’t been established and development is still “pretty early”.

Panic followed up with a developer preview, showcasing titles that are being worked on in the future, such as: Widget Satchell II: Return Of Sprocket. Oxy Con Brio, Daily Driver, Date of Life, Faraway Fairway, Getting There, Robot Fishing, Direct Drive, and Playmaker.

Little information was shared about these games because part of the philosophy behind Playdate is the weekly release of surprising games. It will be interesting to see if players get behind this thinking.

The final surprise was an announcement of Pulp, a free web-browser based game development tool that will allow people to create games for the Playdate.

On top of all of this, Panic announced that it was releasing the first peripheral for the Playdate, the Playdate Stereo Dock.

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