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GameWatchDonkeyKong

Donkey Kong JR. (New Wide Screen), 1982

The Game & Watch (G&W) series was a handheld electronic games made by Nintendo and created by its game designer Gunpei Yokoi from 1980 to 1991. Most featured a single game that could be played on an LCD screen, in addition to a clock and an alarm. Most titles had a 'GAME A' and a 'GAME B' button. Game B is usually a faster, more difficult version of game A. The game Squish is a notable exception; here game B is very different from game A. Climber is an example of a game that does not have a 'GAME B' option.

Some of the titles available in Game & Watch format were games varying from Mickey Mouse to Balloon Fight as well as several Nintendo staples such as Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda and Mario Bros.. For a more complete list, see the list of Game & Watch games.

Different models were manufactured, with some consoles having two screens (the Multiscreen Series) and a clam-shell design. The Nintendo DS later reused this design.

OriginEdit

Gunpei Yokoi, travelling on a Bullet Train, saw a bored businessman playing with an LCD calculator by pressing the buttons. Yokoi then thought of the idea for a mini gaming machine that doubles as a watch for watching and killing time

SeriesEdit

  • Silver (1980)
  • Gold (1981)
  • Widescreen (1981-1982)
  • Multiscreen (1982-1989)
  • Tabletop (1983)
  • Panorama (1983-1984)
  • New Widescreen (1982-1991)
  • Super Color (1984)
  • Micro Vs. System (1984)
  • Crystal Screen (1986)
  • Mini Classics (1998)

Sometimes considered the 60th Game & Watch, a yellow-cased version of Super Mario Brothers exists that plays identically to the New Wide Screen series version. Sources differ on how many units were produced. One webpage said 11790, one said 10000. In comparison with the millions of units produced of other G&W titles, this game is considered rare and thus highly valuable. It was not intended to retail but was given as a prize to winners of Nintendo's F-1 Grand Prix tournament. The plastic box this game was packaged could be folded open and was modeled after the Disk-kun character that Nintendo used to advertise their Famicom Disk System. [1]

LegacyEdit

The Game & Watch made handhelds vastly popular. Many toy companies followed in the footsteps of Game & Watch, such as Tiger Electronics and their Star Wars themed games. Nintendo's Game & Watch units were eventually superseded by the original Game Boy. Each Game & Watch was only able to play one game, due to the use of a segmented LCD display being pre-printed with an overlay. The succeeding generation removed these restrictions.

Nintendo Game & Watch was issued under different trademarks in different countries, resulting in different packaging. These have become rare and are also collectable.

Interestingly, before the Game & Watch Gallery series, the Mario Bros. Game & Watch game was the only Game & Watch game ported onto a different system. In this case, it had been unofficially ported over to the Commodore 64 system. Since the arcade game Mario Bros. had also been ported over to the same system, the similarly-titled Game & Watch version had to be rebranded as a sequel, entitled Mario Bros. II.

Mario the Juggler, released in 1991, was the last game created for the Game & Watch system.