This unique handheld could be the Playdate of pinball

There has to be a twist...

FlipOnGo pinball handheld concept
(Image credit: Giacomo Carlini / Yanko Design)
Quick Summary

This gaming handheld concept particularly stands out as it is dedicated to digital pinball. There's even a small pinball plunger to replicate firing the balls into play.

Hopefully a manufacturer will see the design and make the FlipOnGo reality, as it's something we could see work after the success of the Playdate.

We've seen a fair few gaming handhelds launched in recent times, from cheap and cheerful retro devices designed to run classic games through emulation, up to the powerful PCs, like the Steam Deck.

Then. of course, there's the all-conquering Switch, which is likely to lead to a follow-up – currently known as the Nintendo Switch 2.

However, one of the most interesting handhelds on the market today is an independent device that bucks the trend. The Playdate from Panic has a mono display and a little crank handle that developers can use to provide unique experiences.

It's small, fun and friendly, and we'd love to see more mini gaming devices come with the same level of intuitive innovation.

One that definitely also fits in that category is the FlipOnGo. Although just a concept for now, the handheld designed by Giacomo Carlini (via Yanko Design) has a similar analogue addition – this time in the form of an "action lever" which is used as a pinball plunger.

That's because it has been imagined as a device dedicated to pinball. You get a full colour screen that (on this concept) shows the table, while side buttons left and right activate the flippers.

The action lever can be pulled (we assume) to fire the balls, which are represented by actual ball bearings under a glass panel. A second display gives you your ball count and score, plus other information such as battery life.

There's a volume dial and start button on the top, with speakers on the sides and a USB-C port for charging on the bottom. That's it.

It's the simplicity that attracts us most. Carlini suggests that the games could be simple and licensed, being made especially for the machine. However, we could definitely see it also being used to play some of the excellent pinball games out there, such as Pinball FX and Pinball Arcade.

We'd certainly love to play Pinball Dreams on it too – boy, did we love that on the Amiga back in the day.

Of course, as a mere concept design, there's no company attached to the project at present, so this could all be just a pipe dream. But hopefully, considering the success of the Playdate, one manufacturer will see its potential and consider turning it into a real product.

We'll certainly be first in queue if so.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.