The Playdate handheld console comes with a hand crank
July 29, 2021 - A cute new handheld games console is set to shake up the established order with its unique control input – a hand crank attached to the side.
Games developer, Panic, with no previous history of ever making hardware, is taking preorders for its highly unusual Playdate handheld games machine.
At first glance, you would be forgiven for thinking the Playdate is just another Game Boy knock-off, but if you give it more than a cursory glance, you will see a silver bar on the right-hand side of the console’s bright yellow casing.
On closer inspection, you'll find that this is, in fact, a crank that can be wound by the user to control aspects of gameplay.
As absurd as it sounds, the crank is, according to early reviewers, great fun to use. Although not needed for every game in its upcoming library (when it can be neatly folded away), many do use it for controlling things like the movement of time (Crankin's Time Travel Adventure) or the actions of a surfer cresting a wave (Whitewater Wipeout).
Unusual controller input is not the only original feature of the Playdate – method of delivery for its games is another. When you take possession of your new console, included in the price is a 12-week games subscription, whereby two new games will automatically be installed every week, giving a total of 24 games. You may not like them all, but it's going to be interesting to see what comes out each week.
With its cheerful yellow shell, crisp black and white widescreen display, crank handle and eight-hour battery life, Playdate’s emphasis is most certainly on fun, fun, fun.
Pre-orders opened on July 29, with 2021 delivery units selling out in 20 minutes. Orders are still open but further shipments may not arrive until 2022, or possibly beyond.