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 The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo is bringing Game & Watch back with Nintendo Game & Watch The Legend of Zelda.
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. Last year, in 2020, Nintendo released Game & Watch Super Mario Bros to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. It was the first Game & Watch system to include 2 full length games.
Game & Watch The Legend of Zelda includes three classic games in the Legend of Zelda series – The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening – as well as a special version of Game & Watch classic Vermin starring Link as a playable character. A playable digital clock based on The Legend of Zelda and a playable timer themed after Zelda II: The Adventure of Link are also included.
What comes in the box?
The Game & Watch The Legend of Zelda 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 title screen from The Legend of Zelda.
When you take the plastic cover off the box, you see the special version of Vermin featuring Link. The back of the box shows the title screen from each of the Zelda games included as well as Vermin, playtime clock and playtime timer.
Inside the box you get the Game & Watch The Legend of Zelda system along with a charging cable (USB Type C to USB Type A) and a user guide. The system itself measures 8.5 cm wide by 15.5 cm high by 1.9 cm deep and weighs roughly 0.11 kg. The Game & Watch’s screen is 6.3 cm, which is tiny by today’s standards.
Nintendo Game & Watch The Legend of Zelda 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.
The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Vermin (Link version), Playtime Clock and Playtime Timer
After setting the time, adjusting the brightness and sound, it was time to play. Although I’ve all of the Zelda games included many times before across a variety of Nintendo systems, for me, these Zelda games are timeless classics. The LCD is crisp and clear for its size. The Game & Watch has a tiny mono speaker, which sounds surprisingly good.
Both The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link are carbon copies of their NES counterparts. Additionally, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening looks better than it did when it first launched on the Gameboy in 1993. By this I mean, these games look, sound and play identical to their NES and Gameboy counterparts. In fact, 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.
Vermin is essentially whack-a-mole and you have to move back and forth on the screen whacking the vermin with your hammer. It’s simplistic, yet addictive at the same time. And Playtime Clock and Timer are exactly as they sound.
Game & Watch The Legend of Zelda is packed with your favourite Legend of Zelda classics
In short, Nintendo Game & Watch The Legend of Zelda is geared towards those with fond memories of some of classic Legend of Zelda games and makes a great collection piece. The 2.5 inch LCD screen looks sharp and is colourful. All three Zelda 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 fan and collector of The Legend of Zelda, you’ll definitely want to pick this up. If you are mildly interested in Zelda 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