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, 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. In the Micro VS. System series of games, such as Donkey Kong 3 and Donkey Kong Hockey, Game B is the two-player mode. A few games such as 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 starts a period called Chance Time, in which the score increases either temporarily or until a miss is made. 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 Super Mario-themed version of Ball, set for a limited release on November 13, 2020.


Super Mario Game & Watch games[edit]

*Rereleased in the Mini Classics series.          †Rereleased as DSiWare and through the Nintendo 3DS eShop.

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 Super 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 Super Mario-themed "Modern" version[edit]

In addition to all of the games listed below, the Super 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 Super 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. These are Game & Watch alarm indicators in the Super Mario Game & Watch games:

Image Name Game Action at alarm time Location
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
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
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 Koopa Troopa from Mario the Juggler Alarm Koopa Troopa Mario the Juggler Swing bell Beside the pipe
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 Super 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.

Scene from the prologue of 9-Volt & 18-Volt: 9-Volt shows 18-Volt his Game & Watch
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]

Flopside Pit of 100 Trials
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.

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.


Names in other languages[edit]

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


  1. ^ MAME emulator source code, retrieved 3/21/2019
  2. ^ Iwata Asks: Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary, retrieved April 30, 2023.
  3. ^ Iwata Asks: Game & Watch, retrieved April 30, 2023.
  4. ^ Nintendo Archive Project, retrieved October 31, 2021
  5. ^ Promotional (Advertising) Game&Watch Games, retrieved 3/10/2021