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Game & Watch


Before anyone ever considered making a handheld console, LCD games was the hottest thing around. The main part of these were cheap and poorly made clones, while one series stood out: Nintendo's Game & Watch. The idea was conceived by Gunpei Yokoi, one of Nintendo's most important designers, and the first game Ball was released in the spring of 1980 in Japan. After this, a handful of titles were released every year, up until the final number 59 was released in 1991. A few years before, Nintendo had released a real handheld console, the Game Boy, and had taken over the market (the Game Boy was in fact also created by Gunpei Yokoi). But the LCD market was still such a power factor, that Nintendo presumably chose not to release a Tetris Game & Watch, even though they had the rights to do this. They were simply afraid that it would harm the Game Boy sales too much, as the Game Boy had Tetris as one of its main titles.

As the name reveals, the Game & Watch has both a built in game and a watch (which however never showed the right time, as the precious batteries were saved for gaming only) Another trademark is the style of the graphics, where the user would typically control a small silhuet character. A part of the games were also based on Nintendo and Disney characters. For most of the games, the game play consisted in placing the character in the right place on the screen, based on timed rotations of obsticles.

Game & Watch is split into several different series, where the Wide Screen and New Wide Screen are the most common. They are built around an LCD screen with at few buttons on the side. Parachute and Fire Attack are among the most popular. The Gold, Silver and Panorama series are a bit different in size, but are otherwise very similar. These series included games such as Fire and Manhole

The best known series is probably the Multi Screen, which consists of two LCD screens, being able to fold together. These games often resembles console games, as the control is based around a control cross and action buttons. Titles for the Multi Screen includes among others Greenhouse, Mario Bros. and Zelda. This series also houses the most know Game & Watch game of all: Donkey Kong. Other incarnations includes Tabletops (mini arcade machines) and Micro Vs., where two players play against each other with two miniature controllers.
Abbrevation G&W
Company Nintendo
Debut 1980
Covers 59
Games 60 physical
Accessories 0
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Game & Watch
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