A black-and-white handheld game console operated via hand crank doesn’t sound like technology that belongs in 2019. But as the first piece of gaming hardware released by Portland-based Panic (panic.com), it’s very much on brand.
Before entering the gaming space, the 20-year-old tech company made its name making “super-nice software,” starting with the file transfer app Transmit and the media player Audion.
Then in 2016, the company published Campo Santo’s first game, Firewatch, one of the most popular and well-received titles of that year. Players guide a fire lookout named Henry through a strange summer keeping vigil over the Shoshone National Forest.
Three years later, Panic announced Playdate, their new gaming system. The small, portable system recalls Nintendo’s Game Boy, but comes with a hand crank players can use to control parts of the game. The screen is black-and-white, and the few sneak peeks of gameplay the company has released show 2D platform games in which the world scrolls across the screen as you move your player. Panic says it will roll out “secret” games and release them to the system each week.
Speaking of which, the company is also about to publish its second video game, Untitled Goose Game, created by House House. Players control a boisterous goose that causes trouble for everyone else. The game’s tagline? “It’s a lovely morning in the village, and you are a horrible goose.”
“Our dream is simple,” the company wrote on Twitter when it announced the launch of Playdate. “That you wake up on new game day excited to see what you can play next.”