The Game Boy would fall in love

With all of today’s technology wave that’s rapidly crawling into virtually every area we can think of - from cars to smartphones, smartwatches, gaming consoles, and even running shoes - it’s easy to forget that today’s hardcore gamers started out with the good old 8-bit Game Boy. Somehow, there’s a new player in town and it promises to bring that old thing back.

Panic’s Playdate is very similar to a deftly-executed restomod

Meet Panic (best known for the Firewatch game) and their brand-new Playdate. No, this is not a sort of match-making app for single people, but something way, way, way cooler: a miniature, Game Boy-like gaming system with an eccentric twist. Deliveries start in early 2020, with pre-orders expected to kick off later this year, at $149.

Now, Panic says the gizmo is yellow (well, duh!) and most importantly, it fits in your pocket.

In addition, you get all sorts of games from various developers that you can play on the 2.7-inch black&white screen that sports a resolution of 400x240.

We’re also told that the PlayDate has "around four times the number of pixels of the Game Boy’s screen" and you’ll be able to enjoy it under direct sunlight thanks to its display technology that’s similar to what a Kindle uses. It can ever play sounds thanks to a discrete built-in speaker.

That aside, the absolute novelty of this dinky is that side crank we’re sure you’ve noticed. So, what’s up with that? Well, it comes to complement the traditional d-pad and A+B buttons. You can flip it out from the side and spin it to influence the gameplay.

Panic’s Playdate is not just about the device itself

Sure, hardware is important, but a gaming system is made for, well, games. And this is where the concept behind Playdate reveals its true beauty.

Panic is giving some insight into one of the games that will run on PlayDate, called Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure. It involves two robots - Crankin’ and Crankette, and your goal is to take Crankin’ to his date with Crankette as fast as possible using just the rotating arm we mentioned previously. But you’re not getting away with that - the road is filled with obstacles that get harder to avoid the more you advance in the game.


Once activated, PlayDate will be able to receive new games through an over-the-air system that needs access to a WiFi connection.

The games are grouped in seasons, and you'll be getting a new one once a week, for 12 weeks, without knowing what sort of game you'll play next.

The developers say that new seasons and games will come depending on customer interest and sales.

PlayDate essential specs

Playdate by the numbers
Dimensions 74mm x 76mm x 9mm
Screen LCD, sourced from Sharp
Screen size 2.7 inches (68mm)
Resolution 400x240
Operating system Custom Panic OS
Price $149
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