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Game & Watch

Game & Watch was a series of handheld video game systems designed and manufactured by Nintendo from 1980 to 1991. Conceived and created by Gunpei Yokoi, each Game & Watch handheld featured a single dedicated built in game. The series of handhelds were Nintendo’s first entry into the handheld video game market and was Nintendo’s first home consumer product to gain mainstream success.

During his daily commute Yokoi noticed a bored businessman on the train playing with an LCD calculator to pass time. From observing the man, Yokoi conceived the idea of a device that would act as both a watch and a miniature video game which could be used to pass time. Gunpei Yokoi’s concept would come to fruition with the creation of the Game & Watch line of handheld electronic games.

Game & Watch - Oil PanicReleased in 1980, Game & Watch: Ball was the first release in the Game & Watch Silver series, named after its metallic faceplate. Yokoi continued to evolve and refine the Game & Watch series over the release of 60 different hardware releases between 1980 and 1991. In early 1981 they debuted the Gold series, in mid-1981 a wide screen series and in 1982 introduced the Multi Screen series which would later be reintroduced when the Nintendo DS was released in 2004.

Game & Watch - Ball
ManufacturerNintendo
DeveloperNintendo R&D1
PlatformGame & Watch
Lifespan1980-1991
Release DateApril 28, 1980
DiscontinuedOctober 14, 1991
Hardware TypeHandheld
GenerationSecond Generation
PredecessorNone
SuccessorGame Boy
Sales43.4 Million

Game & Watch - Donkey KongWhile developing a Donkey Kong port for the Game & Watch the development team were investigating ways to simulate the control of Mario as they were unable to use a joystick like in the original arcade game as it would reduce the system’s portability, Yokoi came up with the idea of the direction pad (D-pad). Early Game & Watch systems had a button for each action such as moving left and right or jumping. However, for the new system the team introduced the “cross” directional pad, a flat, four-way directional control with one button on each point. The D-pad became one of the most important controller innovations and has been incorporated in various forms in every major video game console since in conception in 1982.

Most titles featured a “Game A” and a “Game B” button, with Game B usually being a faster, more difficult version of Game A. Although the majority of the games sported a harder difficulty mode, there were a handful of exceptions. In the game Squish Game B is radically different as the player must touch aliens to eliminate them as opposed to avoiding moving walls. In the games Judge, Boxing, Donkey Kong 3 and Donkey Kong Hockey, Game B is a two-player mode, while the games Climber, Balloon Fight and Super Mario Bros. do not have a Game B option at all.

The Game & Watch series of devices were a massive success for Nintendo going on to sell a combined total of 43.4 million units worldwide over its lifecycle. Nintendo reintroduced the series by releasing the Game & Watch Gallery series, five compilation games released for the Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance between 1995 and 2002. The games featured the original ports, as well as a new modernized version starring the Super Mario characters. Ball was rereleased exclusively through Club Nintendo to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Game & Watch and on November 13, 2020 Nintendo released a limited addition Super Mario Bros. Game & watch to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Super Mario Bros. The Game & Watch made handheld video game consoles vastly popular, paving the way for other electronic handheld games.

Different Game & Watch Series:

Game & Watch Commercials

Game & Watch Commercial
Nintendo Game & Watch Commercial
  • Compatible Games
  • Media & Promotional Material

YearBoxTitlePlatformType
1980Game & Watch - BallBallGame & WatchSilver
1980Game & Watch - FlagmanFlagmanGame & WatchSilver
1980Game & Watch - VerminVerminGame & WatchSilver
1980Game & Watch - FireFireGame & WatchSilver
1980Game & Watch - JudgeJudgeGame & WatchSilver
1981Game & Watch - ManholeManholeGame & WatchGold
1981Game & Watch - HelmetHelmetGame & WatchGold
1981Game & Watch - LionLionGame & WatchGold
1981Game & Watch - ParachuteParachuteGame & WatchWide Screen
1981Game & Watch - OctopusOctopusGame & WatchWide Screen
1981Game & Watch - PopeyePopeyeGame & WatchWide Screen
1981Game & Watch - ChefChefGame & WatchWide Screen
1981Game & Watch - Mickey MouseMickey MouseGame & WatchWide Screen
1981Game & Watch - EggEggGame & WatchWide Screen
1981Game & Watch - Fire (Wide Screen)FireGame & WatchWide Screen
1982Game & Watch - Turtle BridgeTurtle BridgeGame & WatchWide Screen
1982Game & Watch - Fire AttackFire AttackGame & WatchWide Screen
1982Game & Watch - Snoopy TennisSnoopy TennisGame & WatchWide Screen
1982Game & Watch - Oil PanicOil PanicGame & WatchMulti Screen
1982Game & Watch - Donkey KongDonkey KongGame & WatchMulti Screen
1982Game & Watch - Donkey Kong JrDonkey Kong Jr.Game & WatchNew Wide Screen
1982Game & Watch - Mickey & DonaldMickey & DonaldGame & WatchMulti Screen
1982Game & Watch - Green HouseGreen HouseGame & WatchMulti Screen
1983Game & Watch - Donkey Kong IIDonkey Kong IIGame & WatchMulti Screen
1983Game & Watch - Mario BrosMario Bros.Game & WatchMulti Screen
1983Game & Watch - Donkey Kong Jr (Table Top)Donkey Kong Jr.Game & WatchTable Top
1983Game & Watch - Mario's Cement Factory (Table Top)Mario's Cement FactoryGame & WatchTable Top
1983Game & Watch - Mario's Cement FactoryMario's Cement FactoryGame & WatchNew Wide Screen
1983Game & Watch - Snoopy (Table Top)SnoopyGame & WatchTable Top
1983Game & Watch - Rain ShowerRain ShowerGame & WatchMulti Screen
1983Game & Watch - Popeye (Table Top)PopeyeGame & WatchTable Top
1983Game & Watch - Manhole (Wide Screen)ManholeGame & WatchNew Wide Screen
1983Game & Watch - Popeye (Panorama)PopeyeGame & WatchPanorama
1983Game & Watch - Snoopy (Panorama)SnoopyGame & WatchPanorama
1983Game & Watch - Donkey Kong Jr (Panorama)Donkey Kong Jr.Game & WatchPanorama
1983Game & Watch - LifeboatLifeboatGame & WatchMulti Screen
1983Game & Watch - Mario's Bombs AwayMario's Bombs AwayGame & WatchPanorama
1983PinballGame & WatchMulti Screen
1984Game & Watch - Spitball SparkySpitball SparkyGame & WatchSuper Color
1984Game & Watch - Crab GrabCrab GrabGame & WatchSuper Color
1984Game & Watch - Mickey Mouse (Panorama)Mickey MouseGame & WatchPanorama
1984Game & Watch - BoxingBoxingGame & WatchMicro Vs. System
1984Game & Watch - Donkey Kong 3Donkey Kong 3Game & WatchMicro Vs. System
1984Game & Watch - Donkey Kong CircusDonkey Kong CircusGame & WatchPanorama
1984Game & Watch - Donkey Kong HockeyDonkey Kong HockeyGame & WatchMicro Vs. System
1985Game & Watch - Black JackBlack JackGame & WatchMulti Screen
1985Game & Watch - Tropical FishTropical FishGame & WatchNew Wide Screen
1986Game & Watch - SquishSquishGame & WatchMulti Screen
1986Game & Watch - Super Mario Bros (Crystal Screen)Super Mario Bros.Game & WatchCrystal Screen
1986Game & Watch - Climber (Crystal Screen)ClimberGame & WatchCrystal Screen
1986Game & Watch - Balloon Fight (Crystal Screen)Balloon FightGame & WatchCrystal Screen
1987Game & Watch - Bomb SweeperBomb SweeperGame & WatchMulti Screen
1987Game & Watch - Super Mario Bros (Special Edition)Super Mario Bros.Game & WatchSpecial Edition
1988Game & Watch - SafebusterSafebusterGame & WatchMulti Screen
1988Game & Watch - Gold CliffGold CliffGame & WatchMulti Screen
1988Game & Watch - Super Mario BrosSuper Mario Bros.Game & WatchNew Wide Screen
1988Game & Watch - ClimberClimberGame & WatchNew Wide Screen
1988Game & Watch - Balloon FightBalloon FightGame & WatchNew Wide Screen
1989Game & Watch - ZeldaZeldaGame & WatchMulti Screen
1991Game & Watch - Mario the JugglerMario the JugglerGame & WatchNew Wide Screen
2010Game & Watch - BallBallGame & WatchSpecial Edition
2020Super Mario Bros.Game & WatchSpecial Edition
35th Anniversary of Super Mario Bros.

Media & Promotional Material

Game & Watch Multi Screen Commercial
The Unofficial Game & Watch Collector's Guide Review - Gaming Historian