Playdate by Panic: Release Date, Trailer, Pricing, and More

Several years ago, Panic revealed a tiny handheld gaming device, known as the Playdate, that captivated audiences with its adorable bit-sized crank.

After two years, Playdate is finally ready to release.

Fast forward to today and it seems like Playdate is ready to release.

If you'd like to learn more about the Playdate by Panic, we've rounded up everything there is to know about this upcoming little gadget.

What is the Playdate?

Panic's Playdate console isn't out here to compete against the juggernauts of the industry. It just wants gamers to have fun.

Playdate is a "handheld gaming system" that plays games on a miniature black and white screen. What makes it different is that the Playdate is not trying to compete with the other consoles we have today.

It's a simpler device that's not trying to let you play Fortnite or Apex Legends on the go. Rather, Playdate is a console that's designed around letting players keep themselves entertained with a weekly influx of engaging but simple titles.

According to Panic, every game on the Playdate will come shipped with it. The only difference is that you won't be able to play all of them at launch.

The developers thought that it would be cute to surprise players with a fun new game every week.

Here are some of the confirmed specifications for the Playdate:

  • Display: 400 x 240 1-bit
  • Size: 76 x 74 x 9 mm
  • Battery: 8 hours
  • Wireless 802.11bgn 2.54GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Price: $149

What Kind of Games Can You Play on a Playdate?

The Playdate looks a lot like the original Game Boy console by Nintendo and the games that you can play on it can vary depending on the season.

For Season One, Panic has enlisted multiple designers to work on making 24 games for the Playdate at launch. This will all be part of Season One and will be available for free to owners.

Here is a complete list of all the Playdate games for Season One:

  • b360
  • Battleship Godios
  • Boogie Loops
  • Casual Birder
  • Crankin's Time Travel Adventure
  • Crayons
  • DemonQuest 85
  • Echoic Memory
  • Executive Golf DX
  • Flipper Lifter
  • Forrest Byrnes: Up in Smoke
  • Hyper Meteor
  • Inventory Hero
  • Lost Your Marbles
  • Omaze
  • Pick Pack Pup
  • Questy Chess
  • Ratcheteer
  • Sasquatchers
  • Saturday Edition
  • Snak
  • Spellcorked!
  • Star Sled
  • Whitewater Wipeout
  • Zipper

What is the Crank on the Playdate For?

Yes, that is an actual crank that you'll use for the Playdate as a pseudo-controller.

If there's one thing that stands out about the Playdate, it's the crank. Believe it or not, this crank is what lets you play with the Playdate.

All you have to do is to flip the crank from the side and rotate it to move on the characters on-screen. The on-screen characters will respond depending on how much faster you rotate the crank and the direction that you choose to rotate it. According to Panic, not all games will use the crank.

Can You Make Games for the Playdate?

Playdate will ship with a browser-based development toolkit known as the Pulp that will let anyone create their own gaming experience without any coding knowledge. Panic claims that it is based on Bitsy, another similar creative tool that lets users create stories and narratives.

Naturally, experienced coders can take better advantage of Pulp. However, Panic has made Pulp accessible so that anyone can try their hand at making their games.

Who is the Company Behind the Playdate?

You'd be surprised to know who is behind Playdate. It's not Nintendo or Sony or any other company that is known for making computer hardware. Instead, Playdate is being made by Panic, a software developer that has occasionally dabbled with publishing video games like 2016's Firewatch and 2019's Untitled Goose Game, which we included in our round-up of the best co-op games right now.

When and Where Can You Buy a Playdate?

If you're excited to get your hands on a Playdate, we've got a bit of bad news for you. Playdate isn't available for purchase yet. It was originally intended to be available by early 2020 for $149. However, Panic has since pushed back the launch of Playdate while also changing the pricing.

The minuscule and brightly colored console now sells for $179 with pre-orders available starting in July.

You can sign-up to receive alerts when pre-orders go up on the official Playdate website.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.
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