Playdate Crop© Panic

Panic is a company that has earned a reputation for creativity and, it seems, knowing a big-selling Indie game when it sees one. It has published two games by third-parties to date - Firewatch and Untitled Goose Game; yep, those were two good picks.

Panic is also well known for the Playdate, an innovative little handheld revealed back in May 2019. As we live in an era when Nintendo no longer has a dedicated handheld department, it's a little creation of such weirdness and charm that quite a few of the Nintendo Life team are smitten. It's tiny, has a black and white screen and a crank; it will also distribute new games every week.

Since that reveal updates have been rather limited, at least in public, and the circumstances of 2020 - and the ongoing manufacturing issues affecting technology this year - won't have helped Panic when trying to launch its first piece of hardware. The wait is finally coming to an end, though, with the company releasing an update video (below) that confirms all sorts of details.

The price will now be $179USD (we'll see how things transpire in terms of shipping globally), which is a bump from $149; that said, the number of games you'll get included in the price as part of the weekly 'Season One' downloads is doubling, from 12 to 24.

The video also showcases a few teaser projects, and reveals the quirky Playdate Stereo Dock, an accessory that serves as a charging dock, speaker system and pen holder; the latter matters a great deal, of course. Also unveiled was Playdate Pulp, an easy-to-use browser-based tool that will allow anyone to develop games and transfer them to their system.

Finally, the company confirmed that pre-orders will open in July, and it won't 'sell out', however orders will be gradually fulfilled over time depending on manufacturing; the company has promised there'll be one week's notice before pre-orders go live. The first shipment of around 20,000 units is expected late this year, with orders beyond that initial batch arriving in 2022.

Plenty of detail to absorb there - let us know what you think and if you're tempted to try and pick one up!