Playdate, Panics adorable handheld with a crank, has started shipping

Playdate pre-orders have begun shipping out, Panic has announced.

In a new video update, Portland-based indie publisher turned handheld maker Panic announced that group one pre-orders will begin shipping out “gradually,” starting today and continuing through the coming weeks. If you’re in group one and waiting for your Playdate to ship, keep an eye on the email you registered when you pre-ordered the device, as Panic says it’ll contact customers as units are shipping.

“We’ll ramp up our shipping volume every day to make sure all of our systems are working smoothly,” Panic added on Twitter (opens in new tab). “We think we can get Group One out the door during the next month.”

In case the tiny yellow handheld has so far eluded you, it’s an adorable little gadget with a crank that pulls out from the side. A full season of 24 exclusive games is included with the $179 purchase, and a new season will be airdropped in 12 weeks free of charge. Some Playdate games are developed by veteran indie devs including Katamari Damacy director Keita Takahashi and Chuck Jordan of Sam & Max fame, while others are debut titles. That’s mostly thanks to Playdate’s incredibly user-friendly software development kit (SDK), which allows for open sideloading.

GamesRadar’s 4.5/5-star Playdate review heaped praise on the device’s solid but lightweight hand feel, creative slate of games, and most importantly, its glorious crank, which is utilized brilliantly in most of Playdate’s first season of games.

“It’s a joyful alternative to wasting time on social media, an enchantingly charming innovation in the handheld gaming space, and a portal into an ever-expanding world of unique games you can’t play anywhere else,” reads a bit from the review.

If Playdate has you nostalgic for simpler times, check out our extensive guide to the best retro consoles in 2022.

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