Just like the name suggests, the Game & Watch console is also literally a watch. By tapping on the Time button, it will display a clock, alongside Mario jumping around.
While Game & Watch wasn’t Nintendo’s first attempt at video games, it was the first success, leading into the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985 and the Game Boy in 1989.
The Game & Watch isn’t as celebrated as some of Nintendo’s other game systems, but it was the first system to feature the + shaped directional pad, first found on the 1982 “Donkey Kong” Game & Watch. Its success also gave some legitimacy to handheld gaming, which was a niche that video game manufacturers were unsure of in the 1970s.
Nintendo has dipped into the Game & Watch nostalgia bucket before by releasing a version last decade and putting Mr. Game & Watch, the anonymous character who appears in many of the early Game & Watch games, into its “Super Smash Bros.” games.
The company has been on a re-release tear lately. In recent years, it sold classic versions of the NES and Super Nintendo, complete with a couple dozen games and the original controllers. Now, Nintendo is in full celebration mode: It’s the 35th anniversary of Mario. The company announced a ton of Mario products, including a new battle royale game and the re-release of “Super Mario 64,” “Super Mario Galaxy” and” Super Mario Sunshine.”