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(Pocket-lint) - Panic, the company behind Firewatch and Untitled Goose Game has announced its very own handheld console that's set to include a crank handle.

This colourful new video game system has been in the works for four years and began life as a beautiful idea before becoming a 3D printed "janky-but functional prototype":

PanicPlaydate Handheld Video Game System image 2

Playdate in its final form is certainly striking and has come a long way since the original inception.

A bold yellow finish, a nostalgia-inducing 2.7-inch black-and-white screen and the weird and wonderful crank handle round off a cool looking device. 

It might bring back memories of playing on the Game Boy with its retro screen and main control buttons, but this is a much more modern device. For a start, that small screen boasts a 400 x 200 pixel resolution - about four times that of the Game Boy. It's not backlit and doesn't need to be either. 

This is a compact handheld games system that's said to be small enough to fit in your pocket, but also packs plenty of tech within its yellow housing. It's Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capable and supports both USB-C and a headphone jack. Of course, it's probably the crank handle that stands out the most. 

That handle is not for charging though (as much fun as that might be) but instead is a rotating analogue controller that can be used in new fun ways in various games.

Playdate is more than just hardware too. Players who purchase this new handheld will also get access to games. These games are being lovingly crafted by awesome indie developers, including the likes of Keita Takahashi, Bennett Foddy, Shaun Inman, Zach Gage, and more.

Free games will be sent to the device over-the-air each week, every week for 12 weeks. The company is promising a new gaming surprise each week and plenty to keep players entertained. 

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One of the games has been teased in the form of Crankin's Time Travel Adventure. This will be the first game to make exclusive use of the crank handle and shows the possibilities of the new system. In this game, the crank will control the movement of time - fast-forwarding and rewinding depending which way you tease the handle. 

It is hoped that if there's enough interesting in the device there's a possibility of more seasons of games in future too. 

Playdate is set to start shipping in early 2020. Pre-orders are expected to be available late 2019 for $149. Find out more about the device here.

Writing by Adrian Willings. Originally published on 23 May 2019.