Game & Watch

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This article is about the Game & Watch system. For the character of the Game & Watch games with a similar name, and named "Game & Watch" in Japan, see Mr. Game & Watch.
Not to be confused with Nelsonic Game Watch or Gamewatch Boy.
Game & Watch
Game & Watch logo.
Release date 1980
Discontinued 1991 (initial line)
Successor Game Boy

The Game & Watch series is a series of handheld games developed by Nintendo from 1980 to 1991. Each Game & Watch had its own game built in, in addition to a clock and an alarm. The units are based on a 4-bit CPU from the Sharp SM5xx family, and they include a small ROM and RAM area and an LCD screen driver circuit.[1] Some of the titles available in Game & Watch format were games as random as Ball, a simple juggling game, to well-known games such as Donkey Kong Jr. The Game & Watch was Nintendo's earliest product to be very successful,[2] with the series selling a combined 43.4 million units worldwide.[3] Commemorative editions of Egg and Green House were given to Nintendo employees for reaching the 10 million and 20 million milestones, respectively.[4] Nintendo also let the Game & Watch games be used as promotional items for businesses that put their own logos on them.[5]

Most Game & Watch titles have two modes: Game A and Game B. Game B is usually a faster, more difficult version of Game A, but in some titles, such as Flagman and Bomb Sweeper, Game B is slightly different from Game A. In a few others, such as Judge and Boxing, Game B features a two-player mode. The titles Climber, Balloon Fight, and Super Mario Bros. do not have a Game B.

The Game & Watch games normally become harder as the player progresses, but the gameplay usually slows down every 100 points the player receives. The games usually end when the player receives three misses (generally meaning "lives that are lost"). In most games, misses can be removed if the player reaches a certain number of points; in some games, doing so with no misses will increase the score either temporarily or until a miss is made (a period called "Chance Time"). The maximum score the player can get in most games is 999 points. Getting a higher score resets the score tally to zero points.

On September 3, 2020, 29 years after the original Game & Watch series' discontinuation and as part of the celebration of the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros., Nintendo announced Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros., a full-color screen Game & Watch system featuring ports of Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels as well as a Mario-themed version of Ball, set for a limited release on November 13, 2020.


Mario Game & Watch games[edit]

*Rereleased in the Mini Classics series.

Game & Watch Gallery series[edit]

Main article: Game & Watch Gallery (series)

These games are Game Boy-era ports of the classic Game & Watch titles, most of which are also given "Modern" versions featuring Mario characters. The "Classic" versions remove the timekeeping functions from the original games, in order to allow the player to accomplish the compilations' goal of getting the highest score possible. There were plans for a Game & Watch Gallery series of e-Reader cards called Game & Watch-e, but these did not surface due to the abrupt cancellation of the e-Reader overseas due to low sales.

Games with a Mario-themed "Modern" version[edit]

In addition to all of the games listed below, the Mario Game & Watch games also reappear, with their "Modern" versions featuring updated graphics and gameplay.

Game & Watch Collection[edit]

Main article: Game & Watch Collection

Game & Watch Collection is a Nintendo DS game that was released exclusively on Club Nintendo. It is a compilation of three Game & Watch games, one of which is Donkey Kong. A follow-up titled Game & Watch Collection 2 was also released, though it does not feature any Mario titles.

Alarm function[edit]

Starting from the Gold version of Manhole, the Game & Watch titles started to have an alarm function, which was accessible only by gently pressing the ALARM switch with a sharp-pointed instrument. Alarm time can be set by pressing the left buttons (hour set) and the right buttons (minute set). Games with two buttons in the same side use only the top button for time setting. Here is a complete list of Game & Watch alarm indicators:

Image Name Game Action at alarm time Location
Gold Series' Manholes alarm lady Alarm lady Manhole (Gold series) Swing bell Upper left corner
Helmets alarm man Alarm construction worker Helmet Swing bell Upper right corner
Lions alarm bear Alarm bear Lion Swing bell Upper left corner
Parachutes alarm monkey Alarm monkey Parachute Swing bell Left palm
Octopuss alarm baby octopus Alarm baby octopus Octopus Whistle trumpet Upper right corner
Chefs alarm kettle Alarm kettle Chef Whistle smoke Left stove
Egg's alarm bell Alarm bell Egg Be swung by the hen Beside the hen
The Alarm Fireman from The Wide Screen version of Fire Alarm fireman Fire (Wide Screen) Swing bell Between ambulance and miss counter
Turtle Bridges alarm crab Alarm crab Turtle Bridge Swing bell Between difficulty indicators
Fire Attacks alarm cowboy Alarm cowboy Fire Attack Sound bugle Below miss counter
Oil Panics alarm policeman Alarm policeman Oil Panic Swing bell Below lower screen's miss counter
Mini Donkey Kong Mini Donkey Kong Donkey Kong Jump and swing bell Below the difficulty indicators
Greenhouses alarm cat Alarm cat Green House Be stung by a bee Beside the ladder
Donkey Kong IIs alarm bell Alarm bell Donkey Kong II Be stricken by Mario Beside leftmost lock
Mario Bros.s alarm bell Alarm bell Mario Bros. Ring Under time/score
Rain Showers alarm dog Alarm dog Rain Shower Nod head Beside lower right clothesline
Alarm man from Life Boat Alarm man Life Boat Pour water from bucket Under time/score
Alarm chicken from Bomb Sweeper Alarm chicken Bomb Sweeper Nod head Beside difficulty indicators
Alarm bell from Safe Buster Alarm bell Safe Buster Flash Above difficulty indicators
Donkey Kong Jr.s alarm musical notes Musical notes Donkey Kong Jr. (Panorama Screen & Table Top series) Be whistled by Mario Below miss counter
The alarm indicator of Mario's Cement Factorys Tabletop Version Alarm driver Mario's Cement Factory (Table Top) Ring bell Beside upward lift section
Mario's Bombs Aways Alarm Monkey (from the game manual) Alarm Monkey Mario's Bombs Away Swing bell Below time score
Donkey Kong Circuss alarm bell Alarm bell Donkey Kong Circus Swing Below time/score
Donkey Kong Jr.s alarm bell Alarm bell Donkey Kong Jr. (New Wide Sceen) Be stricken by Mario Under Donkey Kong
The alarm indicator of Mario's Cement Factorys New Wide Screen Version Alarm bell Mario's Cement Factory (New Wide Screen) Swing Beside upward lift section
New Wide Screen's Manholes alarm woman Alarm woman Manhole (New Wide Screen) Swing bell Upper left corner
Alarm cat from Tropical Fish Alarm cat Tropical Fish Swing bell Between miss counter and time/score
Alarm Koopa's appearance in the game manual of Super Mario Bros. Alarm Koopa Super Mario Bros. Nod head and spew fire Upper left corner
Alarm bug from Climber Alarm bug Climber Swing bell Below time/score
Alarm Koopa Troopa from Mario the Juggler Alarm Koopa Troopa Mario the Juggler Swing bell Beside the pipe
Alarm bell from Spitball Sparky Alarm bell Spitball Sparky Flash Upper left corner
Boxings alarm bell Alarm bell Boxing Flash Upper right corner
Donkey Kong 3s alarm bell Alarm bell Donkey Kong 3 Flash Beside Player 1's miss and spray value counters
Donkey Kong Hockeys alarm man Alarm referee Donkey Kong Hockey Ring bell Beside Player 1's score

Appearances in the Mario franchise[edit]

This section is under construction. Therefore, please excuse its informal appearance while it is being worked on. We hope to have it completed as soon as possible.

Wario franchise[edit]

9-Volt holding a Game & Watch in WarioWare: Smooth Moves

WarioWare: Smooth Moves[edit]

In WarioWare: Smooth Moves, a Donkey Kong double-screen Game & Watch is a key part of 9-Volt & 18-Volt's story. 9-Volt shows it to 18-Volt, causing them to tug-of-war it until it breaks, breaking their friendship as well. 18-Volt then tries to buy a replacement, bumping into 9-Volt, who had the same intention, giving them the chance to reconcile.

Wario: Master of Disguise[edit]

In Wario: Master of Disguise, there is a treasure based on the Game & Watch called the Game & Watch 9000.

Super Paper Mario[edit]

Mario and some Dark Boomboxers in the Flopside Pit of 100 Trials

In Super Paper Mario, the player can access two post-game level areas, the Flipside Pit of 100 Trials and the Flopside Pit of 100 Trials. Both dungeons are modeled after the Game & Watch's screen, with black walls, floors, and doors, and faded silhouettes of said objects in places they currently are not occupying. Additionally, in the Flopside Pit of 100 Trials specifically, stronger variants of the game's enemies appear with no visual distinctions from their normal counterparts, except they are pitch black, similar to characters that appear on Game & Watch screens.

Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

The icon representing elements of the Game & Watch series, as seen in the Super Smash Bros. series

Starting with Super Smash Bros. Melee of the Super Smash Bros. series, Mr. Game & Watch has made an appearance as a playable character, representing various games as his attack moves. The stages Flat Zone, Flat Zone 2, and Flat Zone X are inspired by the handhelds.

Trophy information from Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

Name Image Game / Moves Description
Game & Watch Game & Watch Game & Watch
This stage of Super Smash Bros. Melee takes its motif from the Game & Watch series. It incorporates settings from Oil Panic, Helmet, and Manhole, and it's sure to send a wave of nostalgia crashing over old-school gamers. If you want to truly reproduce the Game & Watch experience, try playing this unique level in Fixed-Camera Mode.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U[edit]

Trophies (both versions)[edit]

Name Image Appears In
(Wii U version only)
G&W Fire (7/1980) Many fans of modern handheld games will fondly remember the classic Game & Watch games they played years ago. Save people from a burning building using a trampoline, bouncing them to the waiting ambulance and safety.
G&W Lion (4/1981) Back in the day, there were a lot of kids into the Game & Watch series. Quite a few adults as well, honestly. This game was a popular pick, with players controlling two zookeepers as they tried to keep the lions from escaping. The built-in clock was great for keeping track of your time spent playing!
G&W Chef (9/1981) Back in the days of the Game & Watch and the early NES years, there were a lot of games with short and simple titles - and at just four letters and one syllable, Chef is a prime example. It's all about flipping food on a frying pan without dropping any on the floor. Whether any of that food ever actually gets served to customers is a mystery...
Oil Panic
G&W Oil Panic (5/1982) The Game & Watch Multi Screen series is the big, big brother of the Nintendo DS. One classic title was Oil Panic, which puts you in charge of a petrol station that's sprung a leak. As oil drips down on the upper screen, you've got to catch it in buckets on the lower screen or risk an angry customer with a face full of oil!

Trophies (Wii U version)[edit]

Name Image Appears In Description
Helmet The Helmet trophy, from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. G&W Helmet (2/1981) Better than a regular ol' watch is Game & Watch. One of the classic titles is Helmet. Move from left to right, avoiding the falling tools. If you get hit, you'll fall down and lose your helmet. What kind of helmet falls off after only one hit?! Good thing this game is so fun you'll overlook that.
Manhole The Manhole trophy, from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. G&W Manhole (1/1981) No scrolling, only one stage, only a few sounds, and the age of 3D was nothing more than a twinkle in someone's eye. Nevertheless, this game was a blast at the time. In the Game & Watch title Manhole, you move a manhole cover back and forth so that the pedestrians can safely cross the road. What a simple yet fun game!




Wide Screen[edit]

Multi Screen[edit]

Table Top[edit]

Panorama Screen[edit]

New Wide Screen[edit]

Super Color[edit]

Micro VS. System[edit]

Crystal Screen[edit]

Special edition[edit]

Color Screen[edit]


Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ゲーム&ウオッチ
Gēmu Ando Uotchi
Game & Watch

External links[edit]


  1. ^ MAME emulator source code, retrieved 3/21/2019
  2. ^ Iwata Asks: Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary, retrieved 3/10/2019
  3. ^ Iwata Asks: Game & Watch, retrieved 3/11/2019
  4. ^ Nintendo Archive Project, retrieved October 31, 2021
  5. ^ Promotional (Advertising) Game&Watch Games, retrieved 3/10/2021