The Nintendo Game & Watch was the quintessential mobile gaming device when I was growing up. It was a simpler time, and we didn’t have levels upon levels of gameplay, pieced together by a storyline written by award-winning writers etc. All we had were a much of electrodes that turned on and off accordingly to the game logic and the user’s input. And just like that, we had hours of fun, with nothing more than glorified calculators.
Nintendo certainly has no shortage of gaming paraphernalia to draw upon when designing its next retro throwback. But they also knew that a like-for-like recreation might not be well-received, so they did the next best thing, which is to feature another iconic game from the era. I think the Game & Watch loses its charm as a result, but it’s an understandable compromise. I’m pretty sure they will launch other versions further down the road.
No surprises here then, that they opted for Super Mario Bros to front the handheld. They’ve also included the little-known sequel – The Lost Levels – which will be a treat for those who have never heard about it before. Last but not least, the kit also features the Game & Watch game called Ball (also known as Toss Up in the US), but with Mario replacing the iconic Mr Game & Watch.
The new Game & Watch retains the classic shape and more or less the same form factor and matching colour schemes. Modern amenities come in the form of a colour LCD screen and a rechargeable battery that charges via a USB-C port. While the reissue has some rather adorable clock faces (yes, this thing doubled up as a digital clock in the 80s, don’t judge), there’s no built-in stand like the original. So you will need to get one on your own, which is somewhat puzzling because fans will gladly pay to have everything included in the package.
Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros is available on amazon.sg for S$179 if you want a cool-looking display kit that you can play some classics on too. As usual, some adventurous souls have already managed to install their own ROM into the device, though something more user friendly will be a while away.