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New Handheld Console Playdate Has a Crank and 12 Games

Portland-based Panic has a shiny new game console, called Playdate, and a slew of new games to go with it, the developer announced Wednesday via Twitter.

Playdate is a bright yellow, handheld console with a black and white screen and a crank— no not for power, this little crank has functionality in some games for the new console.

The crank is a gameplay element for the first confirmed game for the new console, called “Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure,” which is from Keita Takahashi (creator behind the imaginative “Katamari Damacy”). In this game, the little crank will be used to control time itself, moving time backwards and forwards as necessary. Other games won’t use the crank, according to Panic. You can see the crank in action in a tweet GIF the company shared below.

The console will have 11 more new games, but they won’t be revealed ahead of time. Each week after the console’s 2020 release, a new game will be available in what Panic is calling a “full season” of games.

“The games will be delivered over-the-air, once a week for 12 weeks, and they’ll be a surprise: when the new game light flashes, you’ll never know what you’re about to play,” according to the official website for the console. “Panic recruited some of the world’s best game designers — some well known; others under the radar — to make games exclusively for our system.”

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Panic is the publisher behind “Untitled Goose Game” (developed by House House) and “Firwatch” (developed by Campo Santo). Playdate will be its first hardware.

As for the specs behind the console, it will be wi-fi and bluetooth enabled, and it also has a USB-c port and headphone jack. In terms of CPU and RAM, Panic is leaving it at “beefy” for now and stated that it will reveal more on specs at launch.

The screen is shiny and not touch-enabled, a choice Panic made with design partners Teenage Engineering. The partners told Panic that “we want to break people of their touch psychosis,” according to a FAQ on the website.

Pre-orders for Playdate will begin later this year, and the console will cost $149. It’s not clear just yet where the console will be launching, according to the FAQ on the console’s website Panic is still figuring out which countries the console will ship to.

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