Game & Watch (universe)
- "Game & Watch" redirects here. For the character from the Game & Watch series, see Mr. Game & Watch.
|Game & Watch (universe)|
|Console/platform of origin||Game & Watch|
|First installment||Ball (1980)|
|Latest installment||Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda (2021)|
The Game & Watch universe (ゲーム&ウオッチ, Game & Watch) refers to the Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties concerning and modeled off of Nintendo's old Game & Watch series of dedicated handheld gaming devices, released from 1980 to 1991, with re-releases and new installments released on rare occasions afterward. The series popularized handheld electronic entertainment and set the stage for Nintendo's various portable consoles, primarily the Game Boy line. For predating even 1981's Donkey Kong, the Game & Watch series is sometimes labeled a critical forerunner in Nintendo's modern video game business. The Smash Bros. series debuted an original character representing the series as a unique and distinctive "mascot", Mr. Game & Watch, and included him as a playable character in Melee onward.
Even before Nintendo's future as a leading competitor in the video game market was shaped by the breakout video arcade hit that was the original Donkey Kong in 1981, the company had been finding some small success in the video arcade game industry throughout the 1970's. During this timeframe, one of Nintendo's first game designers, Gunpei Yokoi, is said to have realized the appeal of a portable device that doubled both as a watch and as a miniature game machine when he watched another passenger riding a Shinkansen bullet train using an LCD calculator as a means of passing the time. As head of Nintendo's "Nintendo Research & Development 1" team, Yokoi developed and released the first entry in what became a long-running line of dedicated handhelds under the Game & Watch name, Ball, known as Toss-Up in the US, near the end of April 1980. As per the definition of a dedicated console, each Game & Watch device was a handheld with a single built-in game, almost all with a harder "Game B" mode, and what became a long-running series of Game & Watch portables initially displayed very basic monochrome graphics on Liquid-Crystal Display screens. Also, as per the title of the product line, each game doubled as an electronic timepiece. A total of 59 Game & Watch games were developed and released between 1980 and 1991, including some games released after Yokoi's more famous handheld creation, the Game Boy.
The first Game & Watch game became the earliest Nintendo electronic product to garner major success, even before the industry-defining success of Donkey Kong just a year later, and the entire series sold over 43 million copies. The series is credited with making handhelds vastly popular and setting up for Nintendo's future handheld console business with the Game Boy line, as well as inspiring various other toy companies, most notably Tiger Electronics, McDonald's, and the Soviet Union's Elektronika, to create their own dedicated handhelds. The series of dedicated handhelds gradually became more technologically advanced over the years and went through several different models that were designed to deliver some more creative twists to each individual game, including a clam-shell design with two separate screens displaying graphics simultaneously, and a panorama screen that used projections into a mirror to display color graphics. As many modern retrospectives note, this particular "Multi-Screen" design was a forerunner to Nintendo's 21st century dual-screened handheld platforms, the DS and the 3DS, and bore a very close resemblance to them.
The Game & Watch products themselves initially depicted cartoon-shaped characters resembling black silhouettes on white backgrounds, but as the series went on, several games within it based on external IPs unrelated to Nintendo, namely the Mickey Mouse, Popeye and Peanuts cartoons, were released. Starting from 1982, Game & Watch titles also began depicting Mario and Donkey Kong characters as Nintendo's business in video games took hold, and near the end of the series' release history, Balloon Fight and The Legend of Zelda also made incidental releases in handheld Game & Watch form, alongside uniquely-themed titles utilizing mechanics and gameplay concepts from NES games such as Ice Climber (Climber) and Devil World (Squish). After the line was retired in 1991, bookended with a remake of Ball called Mario the Juggler, Nintendo began to make occasional references to, and ports of, the Game & Watch brand; in between 1995 and 2002, five installments of a series called Game & Watch Gallery were released on the Game Boy family of consoles, each compiling several of the original games and offering them both in their original monochrome appearances and with remade "Modern" versions featuring Mario characters and settings alongside up-to-date gaming design elements like health collectibles, extra levels, and faux-3D movement, as well as non-playable "Museum" animations based on extra games - additionally, a variety of Game & Watch titles, particularly those featuring Mario characters, would be rereleased by MGA Entertainment in the 2000s as keychains known as Nintendo Mini Classics, alongside new licensed titles based on IPs such as Star Trek, The Smurfs, and Harry Potter, and prior to this in the early 1990s, around the time when the Game & Watch brand was winding down, Nintendo licensed out their characters for an unrelated but similarly-named brand of LCD games, the Game Watch by Nelsonic. Game & Watch games have also been included as minigames in Nintendo titles such as Wario Land II, the Game Boy Camera, Personal Trainer: Cooking, and the Nintendo DS Digital TV Tuner. More famously, a collective representation of the various black-silhouetted characters seen throughout the earlier games, Mr. Game & Watch, debuted as a surprise playable character in 2001's Super Smash Bros. Melee. After the success of Melee, Nintendo put cameos of this character in several other games, such as the WarioWare series, Super Mario Odyssey, Rhythm Heaven Fever, and Donkey Kong Country Returns, and while the Gallery series has never returned, two Game & Watch compilations were released on the DS for Club Nintendo subscribers, and a variety of games were released as downloadable software for the DSi. Mr. Game & Watch also reprised his role in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, with an important plot relevance in the game's story mode, and has appeared in all Smash Bros. games since then as well.
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. (and to an extent the 40th anniversary of the Game & Watch console series), 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. It has a limited release starting November 13, 2020 and lasted until March 31, 2021. In similar fashion, Nintendo announced the Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda during E3 2021 as part of the celebration of the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, featuring The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and the non-colorized Game Boy version of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening along with a Zelda-themed version of Vermin. It was released on November 12, 2021.
Game & Watch is a franchise first introduced in the Smash series in Melee, featuring one character and one stage.
- Mr. Game & Watch (Unlockable): A small, flat, black, and voiceless personality who made several appearances among several of the games in the Game & Watch series, Mr. Game & Watch was given his identity for his appearance as a Melee fighter. A character like no other in the Smash series, Mr. "G&W" is almost totally flat, and nearly every movement he makes is distinctively frame-by-frame and is accompanied by a "beep-and-boop" sound. As a Melee fighter, he is also unique in that his side special move, Judgment, can create a random powerful effect, but it can actually hurt him at times, and the bucket from his Oil Panic move collects projectiles thrown at him; when three projectiles are gathered, their accumulated damage and knockback is dealt the next time he whips out his bucket and there is an opponent in his way.
Melee features one stage-based, quite literally, on the Game & Watch platform.
- Flat Zone (Unlockable): This stage takes place in the screen of a giant old-style Game & Watch platform, where the characters appear 3D but can seem to reside in a flat space. Visual elements of its layout are combined from elements of the Game & Watch entries named Manhole, Helmet, and Oil Panic. It has several platforms and one small house rooftop to the right, and various hazards such as spilled oil on the ground and falling tools from the sky complicate the action. It could very well be the smallest and most cramped stage in the game, with the left, right, and upper KO boundaries all rather close to the edges of the visible screen. This makes for a stage not often allowed in tournaments. However, it is always fought as the last stage in All-Star Mode (where the opponents are 25 Mr. Game & Watches), and it is the stage where Mr. Game & Watch's Target Test challenge takes place as well.
- Flat Zone: An original composition composed of atmospheric techno-sounds mixed with the bleep noises of the oldest Game & Watch games. It appears in Flat Zone. It is Song 26 in the Sound Test.
- Mr. Game & Watch's Victory: The victory theme of Mr. Game & Watch is an original composition with the same influence as track 26, "Flat Zone". It is Song 49 in the Sound Test.
Mr. Game & Watch was confirmed to return in Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the DOJO!! after Brawl was released in North America.
- Mr. Game & Watch (Unlockable): Mr. Game & Watch has been significantly buffed from Melee, as he benefits from Brawl's new physics, along with other various buffs. The introduction of hitstun canceling and momentum canceling helps Mr. Game & Watch more than most characters, as it not only makes him harder to combo but it also significantly improves his endurance - mainly due to Bucket Braking. Other new Brawl mechanics such as B-reversing also help him out, and the removal of certain Melee mechanics such as L-canceling affect him less than other characters. His shield game has been improved significantly. His shield is much larger and his sidestep is no longer one of the worst in the game. He is an unlockable character. His Final Smash allows him to transform into the giant octopus from Octopus and extend his tentacles.
On the final character select screen (after all characters are unlocked), Mr. Game & Watch occupies the ninth column (miscellaneous characters) along with Snake, Sonic, and the random option.
- Flat Zone 2 (Unlockable): Like its predecessor Flat Zone from Melee, this stage is set in a giant widescreen Game & Watch called "Super Smash Bros". Unlike Flat Zone, its layout alternates between the games Fire, Oil Panic, Chef, and Lion.
- Flat Zone 2: Much like the Flat Zone music from Melee, this track is constructed out of various sound effects from the Game & Watch games, but has a decidedly different ambiance than the previous one, with the track being mainly composed of by Game & Watch sound effects, rather than having them dully in the background. It is used on the Flat Zone 2 stage. This song also plays during Mr. Game & Watch's Classic Mode credits.
- Flat Zone (Melee): Taken directly from Melee. It is used on the Flat Zone 2 stage.
- Victory! Mr. Game & Watch: An original victory theme made of various Game & Watch sound effects. It is completely different from his Melee victory theme.
The Game & Watch series gets a slightly larger boost in representation in Smash 4 with Mr. Game & Watch returning as a secret fighter.
- Mr. Game & Watch (Unlockable): Mr. Game & Watch was overall nerfed in his transition to SSB4, with the buffs he received failing to compensate for the more drastic nerfs to his important abilities. Many of his moves have increased lag, such as his neutral aerial having a shorter duration, more ending lag, more landing lag, and no longer auto-canceling with short hops, which weakens his options to approach or punish opponents. His other aerials (except forward aerial) have increased landing lag as well, especially his down aerial. Mr. Game & Watch's overall range, damage output and KO potential have been reduced, making it harder for him to rack up damage and land KOs. The changes to hitstun canceling can be considered a double-edged sword for Mr. Game & Watch: they indirectly removed Bucket Braking and momentum canceling, which greatly hinders his endurance (especially horizontally) and making him more susceptible to combos; yet it improves his combo game due to his altered down throw, which is now a very strong combo starter. He also suffers from the removal of edge momentum shifting, as he could previously making solid use of it using Judge. The inclusion of rage also does not benefit Mr. Game & Watch as much as some other characters, as while it improves his KO potential, his very poor endurance prevents him from making great use of it. Appearance wise, his nose is smaller and his hands are circular. His animations are also slightly more choppy to simulate the frame movements found in the Game & Watch games.
- Flat Zone 2 (Unlockable): A stage returning from Brawl that is unchanged, appearing in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.
- Flat Zone X (Unlockable): Flat Zone X appears exclusively in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. It is a composite of Flat Zone and Flat Zone 2.
- Flat Zone: Taken directly from Melee. It is the alternate music on the returning Flat Zone 2 stage in the 3DS version and Flat Zone X in the Wii U version.
- Flat Zone 2: Taken directly from Brawl. It is used on the returning Flat Zone 2 stage in the 3DS version and Flat Zone X in the Wii U version.
- Victory! Game & Watch: Taken from Brawl, it is an original victory theme made of various Game & Watch sound effects.
The Game and Watch series returns relatively unchanged in Ultimate.
- 26. Mr. Game & Watch (Unlockable): Returning as an unlockable fighter, Mr. Game & Watch has received a significant graphical update, with many of his moves seeing him take on the appearance of the Game & Watch characters from which those moves originate. Additionally, in a similar fashion to characters such as Zelda and Link, he has received an overhaul to his entire move set that goes beyond changes to his appearance. The majority of his moves have been altered in range, damage, knockback, lag, or have been completely reworked altogether, leading to a considerable amount of buffs, along with a few major nerfs. Overall, while Mr. Game & Watch generally retains much of his bait-and-punish playstyle from SSB4, the adjustments he received to several of his attacks have led him to become more of a jack-of-all-trades type of character, with the tools to take on multiple situations.
This is the first title to have a Game & Watch stage available from the start.
No new Game & Watch arrangements appear in Ultimate.
- Flat Zone: An original composition with Game & Watch beeps mixed in, originally composed for Flat Zone. Returns from Melee.
- Flat Zone 2: Another original composition with Game & Watch beeps mixed in, with the same bassline as the first Flat Zone track, originally composed for Flat Zone 2. Returns from Brawl.
- Victory! Game & Watch Series: An original composition that sounds similar to the Flat Zone 2 theme. Unchanged from Brawl and Smash 4.
Media with elements appearing in the Super Smash Bros. series
The Game & Watch universe has media represented throughout the Super Smash Bros. series with a total of 32 games and media. The latest game represented in this universe is Game & Watch Gallery 4, released on October 25, 2002.
- The Game & Watch universe has the fewest trophies in both Melee and Brawl.
- The Game & Watch universe has the least amount of music tracks for a universe with a dedicated music category in Ultimate, with two tracks.
- Prior to version 10.0.0, it shared this distinction with the Final Fantasy universe.
- Game & Watch is the only universe with a playable character to have its first game released on a handheld that is not the Game Boy.
- Brawl is the only game in the series where Mr. Game & Watch's stage is unlocked alongside him. Melee and Smash 4 require completing a challenge after unlocking him, while Ultimate has the stages unlocked at the start.
- The Game & Watch universe is the oldest universe represented with a playable character, debuting one month before the Pac-Man universe.
- Egg is the only Game & Watch game represented in Smash to not be the basis for one of Mr. Game & Watch's moves, instead only being represented via a sticker in Brawl.
|Game & Watch universe|
|Fighter||Mr. Game & Watch (SSBM · SSBB · SSB4 · SSBU)|
|Stages||Flat Zone · Flat Zone 2 · Flat Zone X|
|Trophies, Stickers and Spirits||Trophies (SSBM · SSBB · SSB4) · Stickers · Spirits|
|Music||Flat Zone · Flat Zone 2|
|Home consoles||Color TV-Game 15 · Nintendo Entertainment System · Super Nintendo Entertainment System · Virtual Boy · Nintendo 64 · Nintendo GameCube · Wii · Wii U|
|Handheld consoles||Game & Watch · Game Boy · Game Boy Color · Game Boy Advance · Nintendo DS · Nintendo 3DS|
|Hybrid consoles||Nintendo Switch|