Crank-Powered Playdate Monochrome Handheld Preorders to Open

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Following the enforced delay of 2020, the Playdate handheld retro console that boasts new titles in “seasons” is set to be available for preorder in July!

You may have seen – and forgotten about – this unique little device. Designed to fit in your hand, play original but retro-style titles, and boasting a crank (yes, a crank), the Playdate was expected last year but had to sit it out due to the usual issues.

But from July that is all set to change. As announced on the Playdate website the device will be available to preorder and is set to feature a first season of 24 games – double the original announcement!

Now, we could tell you what the games are, but that would spoil things. One of the key elements of Playdate is its ability to surprise. The idea is that every so often you wake up to find a brand new game delivered to the console overnight, by fairies over Wi-Fi. With that curated attitude in mind (not too dissimilar to Evercade) you’re guaranteed a memorable experience.

As if that wasn’t awesome enough, the Playdate also has a browser-based game maker, Pulp, and homemade games can be sideloaded to the console. There is a whole set of dev tools ready to release.

Also set to be available with the Playdate is a stereo dock that makes the whole thing look like a portable 1980s TV, and a magnetic cover to protect the buttons and screen.

It is, of course, potentially the barmiest games console ever devised. Having said that, the specs are impressive enough. Inside the 76 x 74 x 9 mm device is a 180MHz Cortex M7 CPU, 16MB of RAM, a 32KB L1 Cache, and 4GB of Flash. There is a USB-C port, 802.11bgn 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a 400×240 monochrome display. A built-in mono speaker is accompanied by a TRRS headphone jack/mic-in port, and the package is rounded off with a D-Pad, A and B buttons, and that famous 3-axis accelerometer crank.

And if you ever put it down, it has a 14 day standby battery with 8 hours of active play.

You’ll be able to preorder Playdate from an unspecified date in July for $179. Accessories will cost extra.