Make a Playdate with Teenage Engineering and Panic’s new gaming device

A floppy disk-sized games console with musical DNA.

Teenage Engineering has garnered quite a reputation for its unique approach to music-making with products like the DIY Pocket Operator Modular series and OP-Z synth/sequencer. But the Swedish brand’s latest project, Playdate, could be its most popular to date.

Playdate is a handheld gaming device jointly developed by Teenage Engineering and software developer Panic, the creators of beloved Indie game Firewatch. While the yellow device may draw comparisons to a certain handheld Japanese console, it strikes out on its own with an unusual rotating hand crank used as an analogue controller. This component is designed to “put a whole new spin on games”, as Panic puts it.

The manner of game-loading on Playdate is unique as well. Games are packaged as seasons – the first of which has 12 games – and are sequentially rolled out on a weekly basis. Game designers, according to Panic, include the likes of Keita Takahashi, Zach Gage, Shaun Inman and Bennett Foddy, the creator of Ape Out.

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While it remains to be seen if the device features a synth element, we wouldn’t put it past Teenage Engineering to fuse Playdate’s heart with a musical side. There are loads of ways that a crank could be used for music-making if the console ever goes in that direction. Watch this space as we bring you new developments on Playdate.

Available from early 2020 at $149. More info at play.date.

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