Playdate (console)

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Playdate Logo.svg

Playdate handheld video game console with crank.
Playdate handheld video game console.

Playdate with the crank in an open position (above)
and with the crank tucked away into the side slot (below)
Also known asAsheville (code name)
DeveloperPanic Inc.
TypeHandheld game console
Release date2020
Introductory price
System-on-chip usedEspressif Systems ESP32
CPUSTMicroelectronics STM32 F746 180 MHz
Memory16 MB
Storage2 GB flash storage
  • 2.7-inch, 400 × 240 (173 ppi)
  • Sharp Memory LCD
Mass86 grams

Playdate is an upcoming handheld video game console developed by Panic. It was first introduced on May 22, 2019 on the cover of Edge magazine.[1] It was designed in collaboration with Teenage Engineering, a Swedish consumer electronics company.

The device features a black-and-white 1-bit screen, directional pad, two game buttons, and a mechanical crank on the side.[2]

Technical specifications[edit]

The device will be an open system and allow sideloading of games that are not part of a season, without the need for jailbreaking.[3] Games are created using an SDK that includes a simulator and debugger and which is compatible with both the C and Lua programming languages.[4]

The screen technology used is Sharp's Memory LCD, which possesses some properties of e-paper displays.[5] Each pixel can remember its state (black/white) without needing to be refreshed, resulting in faster refreshing and lower power usage, whilst also being “viewable in any light, from edge-of-vision darkness to brightest sunlight” and having a wide 170° viewing angle.[6]


Games for the handheld will be released in 12-game "seasons." Each game's contents will be kept secret until the week it's released, and will be automatically downloaded. The first season of games are included in the price of the console.[7] Video games are produced by Panic as well as notable indie game developers such as Keita Takahashi, Zach Gage, Bennett Foddy, Shaun Inman, and Chuck Jordan.[1][8] Future game titles include Crankin's Time Travel Adventure, b360, Zipper, Executive Golf DX, Snak, and Sasquatchers.[8][9]

List of Playdate games
Season Title Developer(s) Publisher Release date Ref.
1 b360 Panic Inc. Panic Inc. 2020 [10]
1 Crankin's Time Travel Adventure Keita Takahashi, Shaun Inman Panic Inc. 2020 [8][10]
1 Executive Golf DX Dave Makes Panic Inc. 2020 [10][11]
1 Sasquatchers Chuck Jordan Panic Inc. 2020 [8]
1 Snak Zach Gage Panic Inc. 2020 [8]
1 Zipper Bennett Foddy Panic Inc. 2020 [8][10]


Panic came under criticism on May 27, 2019 after details of an email it had sent to an indie game event also called Playdate came to light. Nathalie Lawhead, an event organizer, stated that Panic requested the event change its name before the event in 2018 and again in 2019.[12] Panic's original email was made public[13] which showed that it was poorly worded and had resulted in a misunderstanding by the event organizers that legal action was being threatened, which was not the case.[14]


  1. ^ a b News, Edge Staff 2019-05-22T22:00:00Z. "Playdate, a new handheld console backed by indie royalty, unveiled in new issue of Edge magazine". gamesradar. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  2. ^ Fahey, Mike. "The People Who Published Firewatch Are Now Making A Game Console With, Uh, A Crank". Kotaku. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  3. ^ Playdate (May 26, 2019). "It WILL be open. You will always be able to side load games onto it, no jail breaking required". @playdate. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  4. ^ "Playdate, a tiny game console with a big pedigree". Boing Boing. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  5. ^ Mrgan, Neven (May 25, 2019). "Believe it or not, the Sharp Memory LCD is quite expensive—much more so than a typical display today. But we like its unique look, and making something different is our motivation!". @mrgan. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  6. ^ "Sharp Memory in Pixel Displays - Sharp". Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  7. ^ Webster, Andrew (May 22, 2019). "Playdate is an adorable handheld with games from the creators of Qwop, Katamari, and more". The Verge. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Simpkins, Jen (May 23, 2019). "Small Wonder". Edge. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  9. ^ "12週にわたって毎週ゲームが届くユニークな携帯ゲーム機"Playdate"が発表。『塊魂』高橋慶太氏や、あのツボ男ゲーのベネット・フォディ氏らが新作を提供予定". ファミ通.com (in Japanese). Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d Playdate (May 22, 2019). "But here's the trick: every game is a secret. They're all included with system, and they will be delivered to you each week, for a few months. Our dream is simple: that you wake up on new game day excited to see what you can play". @playdate. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  11. ^ "This New Gaming Handheld Has a Crank (!!) And Looks Cool as Hell". Waypoint - Forum. May 26, 2019. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  12. ^ Klepek, Patrick (May 28, 2019). "That Gaming Handheld With a Crank Asked a Queer Games Showcase to Change Its Name". Waypoint. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  13. ^ Cabel (May 28, 2019). "My intention was always to find a way for our Playdates to co-exist joyfully. I was worried we would overshadow yours. That sounded entitled — I'm sorry. I thought your idea to add "pop up" was great, but we remain fine with you using the name Playdate. Please, keep using". @cabel. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  14. ^ Gach, Ethan. "Crank Gaming Handheld's Creators Trying To Make Amends For Poorly Worded Email". Kotaku. Retrieved May 30, 2019.