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Playdate, a new handheld console backed by indie royalty, unveiled in new issue of Edge magazine

An image of the Playdate handheld console made by Panic on the Edge Magazine cover

You didn’t see this coming – but you may have seen it before. Playdate, a new indie handheld unveiled in the new issue of Edge magazine, is the work of Portland, Oregon company Panic, a software developer turned publisher and, now, platform holder. Panic published Firewatch, the wonderful narrative adventure developed by Campo Santo and released in 2016. Tucked away on a table, in a tent, around three-quarters of the way through the game, is a model of an early Playdate prototype.

Edge 333, which goes on sale Thursday 23rd May in print and digital form, lifts the lid on the craziest bit of videogame hardware we’ve seen in years. And, indeed, played – we've gone hands-on with Playdate and its charming array of games and software.

Conceived by Panic, and brought to life by renowned Swedish industrial design firm Teenage Engineering, it’s a small, svelte and immensely tactile thing, its beautiful black-and-white screen at once futuristic and retro. Games are controlled with the traditional D-pad and buttons, and a rotational analogue crank that pops out of the side of the unit. New titles will be delivered once per week over WiFi, with purchase of the console giving you access to the first ‘season’ of 12 games. Among the developers signed up for the first wave of Playdate software are Keita Takahashi, maker of Katamari Damacy; Zach Gage, the brain behind Spelltower and Flip Flop Solitaire; and Bennett Foddy, designer of QWOP and Getting Over It.

It’s quite the thing – and Edge has the exclusive. We received unrivalled access to the people behind this console and its five-year journey, including interviews with the project leaders and engineers at Panic who dreamed it up, as well as the aforementioned developers who've made games for it.

Edge magazine issue 333 goes on sale Thursday May 23, available in all major UK newsagents and via digital edition worldwide, and looks like this:

Subscribers, meanwhile, get this exclusive, stripped-back take on the newsstand cover:

Here’s a taste of what else awaits inside:

An Audience With… Amy Hennig

As the co-creator and writer of the Uncharted series, Amy Hennig knows a thing or two about how to tell stories in the biggest-budget games around. With the Star Wars project EA hired her to direct now cancelled – and the studio that was making it, Visceral, closed down – she’s planning the next chapter of a long, storied career.

New Wave

Berlin’s A Maze festival was set up by two German former game journalists who grew bored of an industry that, they felt, was too set in its ways. The result is a freewheeling weekend-long celebration of experimentalism, cultural diversity and the new era of avant-garde play. We were on the ground, and didn’t get much sleep.

The Making Of… Tetris Effect

Releasing barely two years after Rez Infinite, you might think Enhance Games’ sublime reimagining of Tetris was knocked out quickly. Yet it took over a decade to come to fruition, and in The Making Of… we tell the story of how Tetsuya Mizuguchi and crew – with a little help from Sunday drives, deep baths and raves out in the desert – crafted one of the generation’s greats.

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The future of interactive entertainment. See our latest edition here: http://bit.ly/1E65Jru