The Nintendo Game and Watch refers to a series of handheld electronic games which were released between 1980 and 1991. Each miniature system held a singular game and either a clock or an alarm (on some models, both). Over 11 years the Game and Watch sold around 43.4 million units across the world, and inspired products such as the Game Boy, and even the NES controller! The games are often prided as Nintendo’s first hugely significant success in consoles, and is also known for making handheld game systems popular.
There have been 59 games made for the G+W series for public release, with an addition game that was only won through a competition, making it 60 in total. These titles range from Zelda, Donkey Kong and Mickey Mouse over 10 series of the handhelds. The 10 series were as titled:
- Silver (1980)
- Gold (1981)
- Wide Screen (1981 – 1982)
- Multiscreen (1982 – 1989)
- New Wide Screen (1982 – 1991)
- Table-top (1983)
- Panorama (1983 – 1984)
- Super Colour (1984)
- Micro Vs System (1984)
- Crystal Screen (1986)
Within these series, a Game A and Game B were optional buttons on the game. Game B is usually the faster, more difficult version of Game A. However, this is not always the case, as in certain games and models Game B could be an entirely different game or even a two-player of the original game.
The last official game released under the Game and Watch series was Mario the Juggler in 1991. However, Nintendo did not stop there. Between 1995 and 2002 the Game and Watch gallery series was released, celebrating the most popular titles within the collection. With this, five Game and Watch collections were released for the Game Boy, Game Boy colour and Game Boy Advance systems.
Moreover, in July 2006 and March 2010, Game and Watch re-emerged amongst the Nintendo universe. Two limited edition G+W cartridges were produced for the Nintendo DS, however this was only exclusive to Club Nintendo members of the time. The first in the collection compiled three games from the multiscreen series, which were Oil Panic, Donkey Kong and Green House. Whereas, the second included the titles Parachute, Octopus and the third was an amalgamation of the two games. With Parachute appearing on the top screen and Octopus appearing on the bottom.
The G+W series does not stop there. In fact, a special edition of the classic ‘Ball’ was released in 2010 as Nintendo were celebrating the games 30 year anniversary. This collector’s edition also featured a mute switch on the system which was the only differing feature of the game. This product was shipped to Platinum members in Japan and was given to American Club Nintendo members for 1,200 coins and for European members for 7500 stars.
A big star to come out of the G+W series was Mr Game and Watch himself. The character is a generic combination of all the characters in the G+W series. The character made his debut appearance in Super Smash Bros Melee, and was created as a homage to the pivotal series. Within the Smash Bros game, the character’s skill-set is varied across a variety of games. Examples of these being Chef and Octopus. This was not the last of Mr Game and Watch, however. He has appeared in many Super Smash Bros games as well as Game and Watch Gallery 4, in which he appeared alongside Mario as manager of classic games. In the Smash Bros series of games, Mr Game and Watch is also known to not use any real speech, only beeping sounds which replicate the sounds made by the original consoles.