Panic's Playdate handheld is on sale this July for $179 with 24 games

And now it's got a little dock with stereo speakers and... a penholder?

Today, during Panic’s “Playdate Update” presentation, the company unveiled a variety of titles, accessories, and the pre-order timeline for the much-anticipated console. Designed by Teenage Engineering, the Playdate’s premise is a quirky black-and-white handheld that uses a hand crank as part of its control scheme and comes with a “season” of “free” weekly games from a variety of developers. “Free,” as we now know, meaning $179.

Boom — Alongside the Playdate, Panic and Teenage Engineering announced that they’ve designed a charging dock for the console with built-in Bluetooth stereo speakers, Poolsuite FM (a radio app), and, weirdly enough, two pen holders and a matching Playdate-themed pen to go with it. Panic seems to imagine many of us leaving our Playdates at our desks or on our nightstands — and it probably isn’t wrong about that — but we can’t imagine the Playdate will be a better speaker than your phone... or that you’ve got a pressing need for such an expensive pen. Just more peculiar choices to add to the Playdate’s unorthodox premise!

Double the fun — The company also stated that it would be releasing an additional dozen free titles in addition to the original twelve, meaning gamers can expect 24 games to hit the system in its first 12 weeks.

Among the games discussed was Mars After Midnight, a new game by Lucas Pope (Return Of The Obra Dinn). Also, third-party developer Sweet Baby Inc. (Recommendation Dog and Reel Steal) took time out to address the concerns about Panic working with a diverse group of developers, rather than just big-name, establishment hitmakers — who tend to be cishet white dudes, naturally.

Probably to compete with the enormous back catalog of Game Boy, Neo Geo Pocket, Game Gear, Lynx, and TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine games that will be playable on Analogue’s upcoming competitor handheld, the Pocket, Panic also announced Playdate Pulp. Pulp is a free, easy-to-use development engine for the console that’s even accessible to those of us who can’t code. But, as with seemingly everything about the Playdate, wait! There’s more! Pulp can be used entirely in your web browser, making it that much easier and more usable. Can GB Studio say that?

Spoilers — Some of the games coming to Playdate’s “Season 1” include:

  • Crankin' Presents Time Travel Adventure
  • Boogie Loops
  • Casual Birder
  • DemonQuest 85
  • Echoic Memory
  • Executive Golf DX
  • Flipper Lifter
  • Forrest Byrnes: Up in Smoke
  • Hyper Meteor
  • Lost Your Marbles
  • Omaze
  • Pick Pack Pup
  • Questy Chest
  • Ratcheteer
  • Sasquatchers
  • Snak
  • Spellcorked
  • Zipper
  • Saturday Edition
  • Whitewater Wipeout
  • Recommendation Dog
  • Reel Steal
  • Date of Life
  • Direct Drive
  • Mars After Midnight
  • Widget Satchel II: Return of Sprocket
  • Oxy Con Brio
  • Daily Driver
  • Date of Life
  • Faraway Fairway
  • Getting There
  • Robot Fishing
  • Playmaker

We’re not quite sure how you’ll get all these games onto the device (will there be a store?), let alone when the handheld will actually ship. Analogue’s Pocket has already been delayed thanks to ongoing component shortages due to COVID-19 — and, frankly, the Playdate was announced before the Pocket and we’re still going to need to wait until July to place our pre-orders. We’re not terribly optimistic about its release timeline, but here’s hoping we get a Playdate before the end of Shot Girl Summer.