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A New Portable Game Console… With a Crank?

Image Credit: Engadget

So I guess a fishing game’s a given at some point, then?

I’ve seen my fair share of unusual game-control methods. Touch screens, waggle, voice control, and use as a taco cell phone (no, Nokia, I haven’t forgotten about the N-Gage). But out of all the possible control peripherals I would have imagined for brand new hardware, I think a crank would rank pretty low on that list. That’ll show me, I guess.

Game publisher (and apparently hardware developer as well) Panic announced their very own handheld console today, the Playdate. It’s a compact yellow square featuring a monochromatic screen and a similar button layout to the original Game Boy, but with one notable addition: a retractable crank. According to Panic, not all games for the Playdate will use the crank, but some of them will utilize it exclusively, such as one of the first games announced, Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure.

Speaking of the games, the Playdate has 12 games in development, but they won’t all be available at launch. Rather, through a wi-fi connection, it will download a new game through a dedicated service every week for twelve weeks, and presumably beyond. No word on whether the service will cost anything, but at the very least, the first “season” of twelve games will have no extra charge. Panic has brought some prolific designers on board for this project, including Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy), Zach Gage (Ridiculous Fishing), Bennett Foddy (Ape Out), and Shaun Inman (The Last Rocket).

The Playdate is planned to ship some time in early 2020, and will cost a fairly reasonable $149 USD. Check out the website here for more info and a newsletter sign-up.