Nintendo Releases Game and Watch LCD Handheld – Do you remember?

Nintendo releases 59 LCD based handheld electronic games. Created by game designer Gunpei Yokoi, these LCD screened games include a clock and an alarm.
Ancestor to:  Nintendo 3DS

In 1980 Nintendo released a handheld electronic game including a clock and alarm hence the name Game and Watch.  Between 1980 and 1991 Nintendo released 59 different retail  titles. Some models had a hinged double  screen design  where the action either went on simultaneously on both screens  or where gameplay extended from one screen to the other. Interestingly enough this clamshell design continued on with the Nintendo DS and Gameboy Advanced SP model and is still a feature of the current Nintendo 3DS.  The units used LR4x/SR4x button style batteries for power.

Each Game and Watch  was only able to play one game, due to the use of a segmented LCD display being pre-printed with an overlay. The speed and responsiveness of the games was also limited by the time it took the LCD to change state.

Movement was accomplished via either up to 4 buttons ( many games only had two buttons, left and right )  or a cross joystick and generally there was only one action button ( if one at all ) .  Each game came with 2 difficulty settings Game A or Game B, Game B normally being the faster and more difficult version.  While Nintendo characters such as Mario and Donkey Kong were the mainstay of the games , Nintendo also licensed a number of other popular franchises including Mickey Mouse, Popeye and Snoopy. The maximum high score that could be displayed was 999 even if the game was clocked.

Do you remember ? : Somewhere in a box at home I still have my original Game and Watchs. There’s Donkey Kong, Green House, Manhole , Mario Cement Factory and Oil Panic. As a social experiment I should get these out and give it to my kids ( 13, 16 and 17 ) and see how long the “static” game play can hold their attention.

I do remember that because the screen was LCD based you needed to have light to view the screen properly, so sneaking a quick game to try and clock it just that one more time when you were supposed to be sleeping involved trying to hide the light from the flashlight as well.

It’s strange how things come around. I’m always at my kids to turn off their DS or Ipod and try to engage them in normal conversation however my mother still reminds me to this day ( in fact she reminded me again less than a week ago ( sheesh get over it mum, it was  31 years ago :)  )) of a trip we took away where all  my sister and I  did was play our Game and Watches.  Do as I say, not as I do !  :)

Memories folks, that’s what this series will be about. Please share yours  :)

 This is the first ( and hopefully not the last ) entry in the Do you remember? series, a chance to “show off ” to the younger Gadgeteers the “cutting edge” technology that some of us ….ummm more experienced Gadgeteers had in our day, to show the progression and ancestory of the technology we use today and just a chance to reminisce……. I remember when I were a lad……… :)

Posted in: Gaming Gear, Kid Gadgets, News

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Jackie Cheng August 24, 2011, 1:24 pm

    A trip down memory lane. I still got a few Game and Watch sitting in a box somewhere. Oil Panic and Zelda being my favorites.

  • Ronald August 25, 2011, 5:08 am

    Yeah, I remember playing Donkey Kong on such a thing way back in time.
    Though it was hard to see what was happening on the screen, the game was addictive!

  • Craig Webster August 26, 2011, 8:38 am

    Yep had Ball and Oil Panic. Clocked Ball a few times. When the DS cameos out I thought – that’s not new – that’s really old! Looking forward to more posts on this topic.

  • MaDonna September 29, 2011, 2:15 pm

    I remember playing these at the dentist when I was little! I loved them, but hated the dentist…

  • Ian Lim September 29, 2011, 7:20 pm

    For a bit of nostalgia check out http://www.pica-pic.com :)

  • mrgameandwatch09 August 22, 2012, 2:00 pm

    i have the doublescreen mario bros one

Leave a Comment