Pre-orders for Playdate – the hand-cranked gaming console – start in July

Playdate – who said portable consoles are dead? (photo: panic)

The low-tech alternative to the PS5 and Xbox Series X will feature exclusive games from the makers of Papers, Please, and Katamari Damacy.

There is something nice about the fact that one of E3’s first official announcements is for a new console and yet the words teraflops, 4K and 60fps weren’t mentioned once.

Instead, the Playdate handheld console is black and white, and you control it by turning a crank (though there’s a D-pad and buttons as well). It’s so strange that he has managed to attract an impressive list of top indie developers to support him.

The Playdate was first announced in 2019, but will soon be available for pre-order for $ 179. There’s no UK pricing yet, but that works out to £ 126, if you want to try your luck on the official site when pre-orders open next month.

A total of 24 games will be available as part of the “Season One” line of titles, of which 21 have now been announced.

The idea is that the console will launch later this year and then you will get two games per week for 12 weeks.


Playdate Season 1 game lineup

  • Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure
  • Battleship Godios
  • Boogie curls
  • Ornithologist
  • DemonQuest 85
  • Echo memory
  • Executive Golf DX
  • Fin elevator
  • Forrest Byrnes: up in smoke
  • Hyper meteor
  • Lost your marbles
  • Omaze
  • Pick Pack Pup
  • Quest failures
  • Ratcheteer
  • Sasquatchers
  • Snack
  • To spell !
  • Zipper
  • Saturday edition
  • White water erasure

Games include Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure from Keita Takahashi, creator of Katamari Damacy, Zipper from QWOP designer Bennett Foddy, and Whitewater Wipeout from Chuhai Labs – who did the recent Carve Snowboarding.

The creator of Papers, Please and Return Of The Obra Dinn, Lucas Pope, will also be making a game called Mars After Midnight, but not, it seems, for the first season.

The Playdate Stereo Dock was announced at the same time, which can charge your console and has a Bluetooth stereo speaker, while still managing to make the Playdate look like an old-fashioned portable TV. He also has a pen. We’d ask why, but we’re still not sure how to crank it.

No pricing has been announced for the dock, but there will also be a radio app called Poolsuit FM and a game editor called Playdate Pulp, which certainly looks like a better launch window than most other consoles.

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