New retro-style Playdate console sells out in just 20 minutes

New games for the Playdate will be launched in seasons, like television shows.
New games for the Playdate will be launched in seasons, like television shows. Photo credit: Playdate

A new retro-style gaming console featuring a black and white screen and a hand crank sold out of its 20,000 units in just 20 minutes today.

The Playdate from Panic has been causing buzz on the internet thanks to its experimental and unique look. 

The 400x240 pixel black and white screen isn't backlit and the hand crank doesn't charge the battery as you may expect - it's an analogue controller that flips from the side to be used in some games.

Panic is the developer of popular video games like Untitled Goose Game and Firewatch, and are working with Teenage Engineering on the new console, its first venture into hardware.

Unfortunately Kiwis weren't able to get their hands on one of the US$179 devices in the first wave as New Zealand wasn't on the list of countries it could be shipped to - although our Aussie neighbours were.

But making the Playdate available in Aotearoa is "high on our list" according to Panic.

"We're settling up all duties and taxes for these shipments in advance, which means a lot of regulatory tax work," the company said in a tweet.

"We just need to figure out how to remit GST to New Zealand, which we hope to do in the future!"

One of the other unique features of the Playdate is that games will be launched in seasons, like television shows. Included in the purchase price is season one, consisting of 24 different games, delivered two per week for 12 weeks.

"Extra surprise games" will also be delivered along the way to add to the already announced Casual Birder, Lost Your Marbles, Sasquatchers and Boogie Loops and more, Panic says.

Unlike other games consoles, users will also be able to make their own games via a web browser as well as side-loading games from others directly onto the Playdate.

The console has eight hours of battery life while playing, with 14 days on standby - during which a clock is shown on screen.

It comes with just 16MB of RAM, but has 4GB of flash storage for games.

The recently revealed Nintendo Switch OLED, due for launch in Aotearoa later this year, has 64GB of storage on top of 4GB of RAM.