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Monday, October 1, 2012

Game & Watch Nintendo History # 3

This is the story of Nintendo's first handheld electronic games. Most people think of the Nintendo Game Boy when they think of this but before even Donkey Kong hit arcades in 1981, there was the Game & Watch in 1980. Each Game & Watch came with a game that played on the LCD screen. The name comes from the fact that other then playing games, it had a clock and alarm.

Gunpei Yokoi got the idea after seeing someone bored pressing the buttons on a calculator. The D-pad which is used even in modern controllers was created by Yokoi for the Donkey Kong Game & Watch in 1982. These games were very basic and each system only had one game on each due to the design of the systems. There were 60 different Game & Watch systems created with only 59 being for sale and the last being  only given away as contest prizes. Over 43 million systems were sold with the last being released in 1991. To get an idea for that period of time, the Game Boy was already released worldwide and even the Super Nintendo was getting its start. The clam shell design that came with the multi-screen series looks almost like a Nintendo DS and in fact this design was what inspired those future handheld designs.

The series has lived on in every Nintendo handheld as there has always been either a re-release or compilation available for each one thus far. Also the character, Mr. Game & Watch, was created as a sort of mascot for this series. The character was first seen in the Game & Watch game Ball but it was Super Smash Brothers Melee that made this character into this mascot position he now holds. Since then, Mr. Game & Watch has shown up multiple times in recent years as a background character in addition to being a character in the Smash Brothers series.

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