The Game and Watch: Super Mario Bros. is a cute collectible that's really designed for for enthusiasts. It doesn't do all that much but focuses on recreating a classic gameplay experience with some modernisations that really improve the overall experience. It's cute, well-built and it comes with one of the best games of all time. Admittedly, the asking price is pretty high but given that it's a limited edition collectible, it does make sense.
Take a trip back in time with me, back to that ancient unknowable era of 1980. Nintendo hadn’t yet released the original Nintendo Entertainment System. As a company, it was still trying to figure out what the toy market was looking for. Enter, the Game and Watch. A tiny handheld game console that played a very simple ball juggling game and displayed the time in the corner of its LCD screen. That’s… all it did. It was the 80’s and people didn’t really know where videogames would go from there but being able to take one around in their pocket? Now that was the future.
A lot has changed for Nintendo since that original Game and Watch. They’re one of the biggest and most trusted video game publishers out there. Thanks in no small part to the most iconic game character of all time: Mario. That jumping plumber is turning 35 this year so in order to celebrate, Nintendo has really gone back to its roots and released an updated version of the Game and Watch. One that’s so much more enjoyable than the original but still captures that “singular use case” so well.
Game and Watch it all
Okay, so let’s get this out of the way early. The Game and Watch: Super Mario Bros edition is really an accessory. A collectable, if you want to be serious about your love for the plumber brothers. It’s a fantastic looking device, with the gold aesthetic and red trim really working together to give the device a feeling of a classic toy brought back to relevancy. It’s a real stunner and it’s sure to impress whoever you want to show it off to.
When you’re done having someone admire the outside, you’ll be able to make them even more jealous when you show them what’s in the actual device. Considering the whole point of the new Game and Watch is to celebrate Mario’s birthday, you’ll be stoked to see that both the original Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels (otherwise known as Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan) are both on the system. Oh, and it also includes the original Ball game which is a neat addition but let’s be honest, it’s no Mario. The best part of it all is that this Game and Watch actually comes with a colour LCD screen, so all the games look as crisp as ever.
Playing the original Super Mario is still a fantastic experience. Beyond just a historical appreciation point, that original game still rocks. Everything from the tight platforming, the music and that colour scheme is still so much fun today. Having said that, they’re obviously games that are 35 years old so compared to modern standards, they’ve aged. They do make for great distractions; games that can be picked up and played when you need to kill some time. Which is why cramming them on a compact device like this makes them infinitely more playable.
Who needs a watch?
But playing games isn’t all this thing can do; that’s only roughly 50% of its name of course! It can also display the time! That’s… yeah, that’s about it!
Jokes aside, it’s still a neat little Super Mario device. As mentioned above, the colour LCD screen is already a nice touch while the USB charging port goes a long way to ensuring that the handheld console is always ready for a long trip. You’ll be able to stretch about eight hours of uptime on it, which isn’t surprising given that it doesn’t exactly need a lot of power.
The controls also feel great. The D-pad is more responsive than expected and the “A” and “B” buttons are both solid and squishy to the touch. The softer face buttons were a solid addition as playing something so small with the harder buttons of an NES controller would have become very hard on the hands.
The Game and Watch: Super Mario Bros. is a cute collectable that’s really designed for enthusiasts. It doesn’t do all that much but focuses on recreating a classic gameplay experience with some modernisations that really improve the overall experience. It’s compact, well-built and it comes with one of the best games of all time. Admittedly, the asking price is pretty high but given that it’s a limited edition collectable, it does make sense.