Playdate is a new black & white handheld console with a crank controller

A new portable console will be released next year with a launch title by the creator of Katamari Damacy – and it’s just as odd as it sounds.

With the 3DS now in its death throes it had seemed like the last days of the dedicated portable console were upon us, but indie publisher Panic begs to differ.

The little-known company, who previously made non-gaming apps for Apple products but recently began publishing indie titles such as Firewatch, features a 2.7-inch black and white screen and… a crank on the side.

The crank isn’t to power the device but instead an optional controller, which launch game Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure makes full use of.

There’s also a D-pad and two buttons, plus other mod cons such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a USB-C slot, and a headphone jack.

The whole thing is only 74x76x9mm in size and is called Playdate. But it’s not just the hardware that’s unusual, as the idea is that rather than just buying random games from a store you sign up for a season of titles that deliver a new one every week for 12 weeks.

To that end, Panic has signed up a number of prominent indie developers, including Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy), Zach Gage (Ridiculous Fishing), Bennett Foddy (QWOP), and Shaun Inman (The Last Rocket).

Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure by Keita Takahashi is the only game that’s been unveiled so far and takes the console’s name literally, as it involves helping Crankin’ make it to his date with Crankette.

The crank is the only controller needed and is used to turn time backwards and forwards in order to avoid obstacles. Although given it’s by Takahashi we imagine it’s even odder than that sounds.

The Playdate is due to launch early next year for $149, which comes out at £118. Additional season will be offered if the initial one proves successful.

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