Hardware Review: Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. – A beautiful...

© Nintendo Life

If you look back on Nintendo’s history as a video game maker, it is clear that the Game & Watch line was a significant step forward. Not only did this allow Nintendo’s core developers to hone their skills with snappy, engaging titles, it also gave them the opportunity to develop their hardware talents and innovate such as the famous “cross” D-pad and dual-screen gaming to develop. Innovations that would affect the entire industry, as well as future internal projects such as DS and 3DS.

Another equally important moment in Nintendo history was the arrival of Super Mario Bros. 1985 the game that – alongside Esel Kong – is probably responsible for establishing the Japanese company as one of the main players in the world of interactive entertainment. Given that 2020 is the 40th anniversary of Game & Watch and the 35th anniversary of the game that made old Mario super, it makes sense that Nintendo decided to not just re-release the famous NES to celebrate title (is it possible to have too many Super Mario Bros. ports in your house?) But one that also pays homage to the earlier success of the pioneering Game & Watch line.

It makes sense that Nintendo is celebrating Super Mario Bros. not only with a re-release of the title, but also a tribute to the earlier success of the groundbreaking Game & Watch line

If you are over 40, you will immediately appreciate the packaging Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. comes in, which is based on the Game & Watch line’s box designs from the early 80s. The device itself is roughly the same size as the first wave of Game & Watch titles with a screen, and feels just as rugged and study-rich. Nintendo, however, wisely doesn’t rely solely on nostalgia to sell this thing. those who weren’t even born when the definitive Game & Watch model, Mario the JugglerHaving arrived in October 1991, you’ll still want to get your hands on this device as it is highly collectable and looks great on a shelf (it will likely appreciate in value over time too, as Nintendo stated it was a limited edition Version).

The device has the same color scheme as the Japanese Famicom and consists of a plastic shell with a gold metal faceplate – another recognizable hallmark of the original Game & Watch line. The legendary cross-D-pad, which came to life from 1982 on the dual-screen model Donkey Kong Game & Watch, is present alongside two rubber action buttons and is correct (again a callback to the controls of the original machines). There are also three option buttons on the front. In one you can choose between the three games (Super Mario Bros., Japanese) Super Mario Bros. 2 and a version of Ball, the very first Game & Watch title from 1980) while another puts you on an animated watch. The third option allows you to pause the game and toggle items like screen brightness and volume, as well as reset the current game.

Unlike many of the original Game & Watch devices, there is no stand on the back – a disappointing oversight considering the device can be used as a watch. Aside from the serial number and the usual compliance notices, the back is relatively plain – there is no battery compartment, as was seen on the originals, as the device is powered by an internal battery that is charged via USB-C. Cable included (the The charging port is located on the right side of the device next to the power switch). The battery life is estimated at around 8 hours. However, once you’ve set the screen to full brightness and maximum volume, expect less. The only other noteworthy element is the mono speaker that sits on the left edge of the device.

The device’s color LCD screen is bright and colorful, but because it is not displayed I agree The native resolution of the NES gives the graphics a somewhat soft quality

Since the layout of the device is very close to the NES controller, playing these games is a breeze. If we had criticism, the D-Pad would be a bit positioned to near the bottom edge of the device, but this is a minor point of contention. The pad itself is very responsive and pleasant to use. The rubber buttons may feel strange to those used to hard plastic, but they have a nice, grippy texture that will keep your sweaty thumbs from slipping off them during intense play.

The device’s color LCD screen is bright and colorful, but because it doesn’t appear I agree The native resolution of the NES gives the graphics a somewhat soft quality. The viewing angles are also mostly decent; Only when you tilt the image down towards you does the image begin to reverse its colors slightly. However, if it is tilted in a different direction, the screen remains perfectly legible. The single speaker is pretty loud too, considering it’s side-mounted and pretty dinky.

Given that these are games that are now over 35 years old, it shouldn’t come as a shock to learn that the software emulation is absolutely solid, right down to the way that bits of background music fall out, to make room for sound effects in certain places due to the limited number of sound channels the NES has. Another nice touch is the fact that your progress in the game will be preserved even if you turn off the device or switch to another title. So later, when you find the mushroom kingdom getting boring and you feel like a quick ball, you can pick up where you left off.

Nintendo has made much of the fact that the unit’s animated clock – showing Mario tumbling out of the game through a hostile scene, with the time displayed in blocks – contains 35 hidden secrets (one of which is the song, “Mario Drawing “) Has already been ruined because it has a speech impediment) and it’s definitely fun to discover new hidden elements. Some of these secrets are relatively simple (for example, pressing the A and B keys at the same time will make the blocks light up while Mario is taking a Michael Jackson-style moon walk in another secret), others are more dramatic and actually change the scene in which Mario is located in total. We also love the way the device has several dedicated sleep screens that appear right before it powers off after it has been left unattended for a short period of time.

Why should you limit the game library to these three titles when we’re sure it can contain a whole bunch of NES ROMs?

From a hardware standpoint, Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. is a neat little device that would run three games very well – but that leads us to the biggest problem we have with such a product. Why should you limit the game library to these three titles when we’re sure it can contain a whole bunch of NES ROMs? Super Mario Bros. is an ice cold classic, that’s for sure, but it would have been nice if a few more Mario excursions had been included, like the North American sequel and even the third legendary NES episode, which is considered one of the top 8 -Bit games ever. Super Mario Bros. 2 – also known as The Lost Levels – might be a bit curious to Western gamers, but it’s basically a harder expansion of the original game and arguably not as interesting as the Western sequel (which like any Nintendo Bore will tell you that this is not a real Mario game at all, but a redesigned version of the Famicom title Yume Koujou Doki Doki Panik). And why not add a few more Game & Watch titles? Ball is a great way to reference the history of this handheld franchise, but it would have been nice to see other games – like the 1986 Game & Watch version of Super Mario Bros.

It’s very likely that Nintendo plans to create more of these Game & Watch memorial units when the anniversaries begin – and given both The legend of Zelda and Metroid When we turn 35 next year, we can rightly say that we are on the verge of entering a phase where Nintendo can comfortably bring out at least one of these every 12 months. Never a company that turns down the opportunity to make cold, hard money by squeezing its fan base, it may be naive to expect anyone to bring Nintendo out a device like this and bust it with games, but still if you do When you’re paying £ 50 for a trio of ROMs already available elsewhere, it seems pretty tight, even for Nintendo’s often Scrooge-like ratios.

However, will our complaints matter? Probably not. The device apparently sold out quickly, and we dare to say it will find its way into many Christmas stockings in late December. At least on paper, it’s the ideal gift for old and young players as it connects the generations. If you are old and remember the Game & Watch handhelds you will love the nostalgia factor, and if you are young it will surely be of interest to see Mario’s early adventures in their 2D glory. We can only hope so with the next Game & Watch release – which one certainly must be related to Zelda – Nintendo decides to include a bit more content. If not, then of course there is always the enviable hack.

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