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There’s a Playdate games showcase on February 28

Lucas Pope’s new creation, Mars After Midnight, will take center stage.

Panic
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The little console that could, Playdate, is getting a developer’s showcase on February 28 at 12PM ET. Manufacturer Panic promises a 14-minute presentation chock full of new games that may or may not make use of the console’s weird little crank.

We only know one game that’ll be featured at the event, but it’s a doozy. Lucas Pope, the creator behind Papers, Please and Return of the Obra Dinn, has been busy prepping a Playdate title called Mars After Midnight. We’ll likely get a new trailer for the game, which was first revealed back in 2021. Panic also says the event will include a “release update” on the title. So, the long wait is nearly over.

Mars After Midnight has been called a “spiritual sequel” to Papers, Please, though one set on an alien world and not in a fictional cold-war era country. You play as a door guard of an alien colony tasked with letting people in. That certainly sounds a whole lot like Papers, Please to me. As you can see, the graphics look absolutely gorgeous and the game certainly makes use of that crank.

Panic hasn’t teased any other games that will take center stage during the showcase, so its anyone’s guess. This is a quirky console that practically requires unique gameplay elements, so we could be in for some nifty surprises. The company has said the event will not feature any updates on hardware, for those looking for a Playdate 2.

To that end, the console is nearly two years old but only recently became readily available for purchase. Before last week, customers would have to wait months upon ordering the console before shipment. Now, you’ll get one within two to three days.

For the uninitiated, Panic has whipped up a really distinctive and magical portable gaming console. The bright yellow Playdate boasts a traditional D-pad, two buttons and, most importantly, a crank-based control mechanism. The console costs $200 and each purchase gets you 24 free games, with two unlocking each week for 12 weeks. This is the first developer’s showcase for Playdate since November of last year.