Long before the Nintendo Gameboy, Nintendo had Game & Watch systems. First released in 1980, these neat little devices included a game and could be used as a watch to tell time. Now, years later, to help celebrate the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros, Nintendo is bringing Game & Watch back with Nintendo Game & Watch Super Mario Bros.
History of Game & Watch
The Nintendo Game & Watch systems were pretty popular back in the 1980s and early 1990s. In all, 60 Game & Watch systems were released from 1980 until 1991. Each system had one game to play and included a clock function. Some of the most popular Game & Watch games included Donkey Kong Jr, Zelda, Mickey Mouse and Ball.
Games were very limited and often featured basic elements. For example, Donkey Kong Jr only featured 4 stages that were variations of each other. Fast forward to 2020 and Game & Watch Super Mario Bros is the first Game & Watch system to include 2 full length games.
In addition to playing the classic games Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, Game & Watch includes a special version of Ball with a Mario makeover. Furthermore, Game & Watch functions as a clock and includes some guest appearances from Mario’s friends and foes.
What comes in the box?
The Game & Watch Super Mario Bros box comes with a plastic case that fits around it that acts as an overlay. As you can see from the pictures below, the overlay features the first screen from Super Mario Bros World 1-1 and the title screen in the Game & Watch screen. On the back of the box, the overlay has the screen from your first encounter with Bowser in Super Mario Bros.
The box also shows what games are included: Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros The Lost Levels, Ball and Time. Upon removing the plastic covering from the box, where the Super Mario Bros start screen was is now Ball with a special Mario makeover.
Inside the box you get the Game & Watch Super Bros system along with a charging cable (USB Type C to USB Type A) and a user guide. The system itself measures 11.2 cm long by 6.7 cm tall by 1.2 cm deep and weighs roughly 68 grams. The Game & Watch’s screen is 2.5 inches, which is tiny by today’s standards.
Nintendo Game & Watch system
Out of the box, the Game & Watch has about a 75% charge. This is great, considering that a full charge will last you somewhere in the neighbourhood of 8 hours. This means that you have plenty of time to play before having to charge it. The system comes with a lithium Ion internal battery that takes about 3.5 hours to fully charge from dead.
The Game & Watch’s d-pad along with the A and B buttons are identical to those that you would find on a NES controller. There are also Game, Time and Pause/Set buttons on the system that allow you to choose between games, look at the time as well as pause your game and set brightness, sound level and the time.
Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros The Lost Levels and Ball
After setting the time, adjusting the brightness and sound, it was time to play. Although I’ve played both Super Mario Bros and Super Mario Bros The Lost Levels thousands of times before across a variety of Nintendo systems, for me, the games never get old. The LCD is crisp and clear for its size. The Game & Watch has a tiny mono speaker, which sounds surprisingly good.
Both games are carbon copies of their NES counterparts. By that I mean, they look, sound and play identical to the NES. You could even argue that the Super Mario Bros games look better on the smaller screen. However, there are times that the small screen makes it a bit difficult to see what’s going on in busy scenes.
Ball is a Mario themed version of the first Game & Watch game. In a nutshell, it is a juggling game where you move Mario’s arms around to catch the balls to earn points. It’s simplistic, yet addictive at the same time.
Game & Watch Super Mario Bros is a great way for fans and game collectors to relive their fondest Mario moments
In short, Nintendo Game & Watch Super Mario Bros is geared towards those with fond memories of the original Super Mario Bros games and makes a great collection piece. The 2.5 inch LCD screen looks sharp and is colourful. Both Super Mario Bros games look fantastic on the small screen. However, the screen size itself can make it difficult at times to see everything that is going on. The Game & Watch’s tiny speaker sounds surprisingly good.
If you are a collector of all things Mario, you’ll definitely want to pick this up. If you are mildly interested in Mario and these games, you might want to reconsider. There isn’t any new content added to these games.
+ Screen looks sharp and the Colours are vivid and clear
+ Compact size makes it easy to carry and play
+ Great item for collectors and to give as a gift
+ 8 hour battery life
– Some might find the screen size too small
– Charging cable could be longer
– No new content added to games