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While the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X chart gaming’s future, Playdate aims to explore different territory. Created by Oregon-based startup Panic, the bright yellow handheld device ($179) sports a black-and-white 2.7-in. screen, with a three-button control scheme reminiscent of Nintendo’s iconic Game Boy. What’s more, in a world in which games increasingly resemble multimillion-dollar blockbuster movies, Playdate plans to release “seasons” of modest, independently developed games to all owners. As with the Xboxes and PlayStations of the world, the Playdate is in high demand: Panic reportedly sold 20,000 devices in 17 minutes ahead of its fall launch. New orders won’t be available until sometime in 2022, the company now says. —Peter Allen Clark

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