Mr. Game & Watch (SSBM)
Mr. Game & Watch (Mr. ゲーム＆ウォッチ, Mr. Game & Watch) is a character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. He was designed as a composite representation of various generic characters featured in the Game & Watch series, created by Gunpei Yokoi in 1980. He is the last character to be unlocked in the game.
Mr. Game & Watch is currently ranked 19th in Melee's tier list, at the top of the F tier and is his lowest placement in the series. Mr. Game & Watch's positive attributes include extremely powerful KO moves that have a long duration as well as a slew of moderately effective special moves, two of which (Judgement and Oil Panic) can OHKO. However, Mr. Game & Watch's flaws are due to how he was translated to Melee; he has a bad approach due to his slow overall speed, and outside of his throws, he is rather predictable. His high hitstun and light weight also make him an easy target for combos. Mr. Game & Watch also has the dubious distinction of being the only character in the game who cannot L-cancel all of his aerial attacks, and is considered to have one of the worst shields in the game, as it fails to completely cover his entire body after even slight damage. All of this gives him very poor matchups against a majority of the cast, including three nearly unwinnable matchups, although there are five matchups in his favor.
How to unlock
For players to unlock Mr. Game & Watch, the Classic Mode, Adventure Mode or Target Test has to be cleared with all other characters.
Alternately, players can play 1,000 versus matches to fight Mr. Game & Watch.
Mr. Game and Watch must then be fought and defeated on Flat Zone.
Mr. Game & Watch generally acts as a speedy, weak character; however, he does have some incredibly powerful KO moves, most of which are slow (with the exception of his down tilt). Mr. Game & Watch's attributes tend to be scattered; he has an average falling speed, an above average air speed, an average traction, and the second lightest weight in the game (second to Pichu, and tied with Jigglypuff). As a result of these attributes, Mr. Game & Watch has a wavedash that grants decent distance and speed.
Mr. Game & Watch is notable for having unusual properties in most of his attacks; his forward tilt and smash, for instance, have Sex kick properties, harming others even after the primary hitbox dissipates. Additionally, his up smash and neutral air have long hitboxes that do not run out of power, making them good KO options. Additionally, Mr. Game & Watch has many disjointed hitboxes in his attacks (particularly his down smash), giving him a surprisingly and sometimes deceptively good range.
Mr. Game & Watch's aerial game is his strongest asset, as his aerials have large disjointed hitboxes (especially his neutral aerial). His neutral aerial is the most powerful neutral aerial in the game, often KO'ing under 125%, while having a very large hitbox that covers him. His forward aerial is his best approaching tool as it can be L-canceled and has fast startup (but has heavy landing lag when not L-canceled). His back aerial is multi-hitting and has a disjointed hitbox, making it somewhat unpredictable to counter. His up aerial is a two-hit attack, with the second hit having high KO power. It can also be used to juggle fast fallers and heavy characters. Lastly, his meteor smashing down aerial is effective at countering foes from below and KO'ing (the sourspot is slightly weaker than the sweetspot and sends foes on a diagonal trajectory). The down aerial's landing hitboxes add 5%-6% more damage (for a total of 19%-20% if the primary hitbox strikes first).
Mr. Game & Watch's specials also allow for significant power; Oil Panic can absorb projectiles and result in a powerful resulting projectile, and his Judgement has near OHKO potential, as well as many other options. Adding in with his specials, Mr. Game & Watch also has a rather good recovery from Fire; despite a lack of options and general predictability, it sends him a significant distance upwards. The low hitstun and knockback, as well as an unpredictable trajectory gives Chef potential edgeguard capability.
Mr. Game & Watch's grab game is also decent, despite his below-average grab range. The resulting trajectories of his throws gives him solid chaingrab and combo potential, and as all his throws look identical, he can perform mindgames on opponents by challenging the player's perception of where they will end up.
Mr. Game & Watch's main flaw, however, is his awful approach. A slow, jerky dash and an average wavedash, as well as slow, weak tilts on the ground (except for his down tilt) give Mr. Game & Watch a very poor approach on the ground; his poor dash also makes him reliant on dashdancing and foxtrotting to traverse stages. His aerial approach is just as poor; despite an above average falling speed and an average short hop, Mr. Game & Watch has among the worst SHFFLs in the game, primarily due to the fact that his aerials have significant ending lag, and that his neutral, back, and up aerials have the dubious distinction of not having the ability to be L-cancelled due to a programming error that lists them as special moves.
Mr. Game & Watch's defensive game also suffers; despite a relatively small size and a very low crouch, he is very easy to shield stab due to having the smallest max shield in Melee due to a coding error, and his remaining defensive capabilities are poor, with short, slow rolling dodges and an equally short sidestep dodge. Mr. Game & Watch, due to his slow tilts and smashes and mostly situational specials, has poor out of shield options. His recovery also suffers; despite granting significant vertical distance and average horizontal distance, Fire is very predictable and easy to read, inviting edgeguarders.
Mr. Game & Watch also suffers due to his ability to be easily combo'd; his light weight and high periods of hitstun makes him a viable target for combos and juggles, and his light weight also makes him very easy to KO, only making him all the more vulnerable.
For a gallery of Mr. Game & Watch's hitboxes, see here.
According to the matchup chart, Mr. Game & Watch has poor matchups overall. He is hard countered by three characters, countered by five characters, and soft countered by nine characters. On the other hand, he has two even matchups, soft counters three characters, and counters two characters. He generally does well against characters who lack counterplay against his disjointed and powerful attacks, and who do not have the proper tools to take advantage of his flaws. Fox, Falco, and Sheik are among his worst matchups, as they have the mobility, KO power, and range to out-prioritize nearly all of Mr. Game & Watch's kit and score early KOs. Additionally, his tiny shield and inability to L-cancel aerials makes his defensive game poor overall, making him prone to being overwhelmed by the aforementioned Fox and Falco, as well as Peach.
Mr. Game & Watch has held few notable metagame breakthroughs since the matchup chart was implemented. His terrible matchups against top and high tiers remain more or less the same, as they can overwhelm him with speed (Fox, Falco, Sheik), outrange him (Marth), or chaingrab him to death (Ice Climbers). In addition, Yoshi's metagame developments have seen him improve significantly as a character, particularly in his punish game and shield pressure abilities, which have given him strong options to exploit Mr. Game & Watch's poor defensive game.
According to Qerb, the best Mr. Game & Watch player in the world, some of his top-tier matchups are now considered manageable, albeit marginally. Mr. Game & Watch performs adequately against Jigglypuff due to his raw power and range, and can somewhat limit Jigglypuff's aerial mobility with Chef; however, Jigglypuff's superior aerial mobility coupled with its long-ranged back aerial make it hard for him to create any real progress in the neutral game. Mr. Game & Watch's large hitboxes also prevent Captain Falcon from being able to approach safely, and he has a clear advantage off-stage, although he struggles to approach Captain Falcon himself and easily falls victim to Falcon's combos and KO setups. Even with these developments, however, Mr. Game & Watch is still considered to lose these matchups.
Tier placement and history
Mr. Game & Watch has always been considered a poor character in competitive play, with negative traits ranging from light weight, susceptibility to chaingrabs and various KO setups, inconsistent approaching options, lag in his many of his attacks, and the inability to L-cancel some of his aerials. While a small group of smashers discovered that Mr. Game & Watch had some potential, such as his raw power and glass-cannon playstyle that allowed for flashy combos, his flaws and bad matchups prevented any of it from showing at the highest levels of play. As a result of his flaws, he has consistently remained in the lower ends of tiers, failing to make significant rises, and is currently ranked 19th.
In recent years, Qerb has been noticeably successful with him, placing well in many major tournament series such as Super Smash Con as the sole representative of his character. Qerb achieved an honorable mention in the 2019 MPGR, indicating that he was considered close to Top 100 level even with a low-tiered character. Since many of the characters around Mr. Game & Watch on the tier list, such as Link and Donkey Kong, do not have any representatives with Qerb's level of results, some argue that he deserves to be placed slightly higher than his current rank. Other players such as Mew2King disagree, believing that his theoretical potential and matchup spread are still much worse than those characters. As it stands, however, he is agreed to still be a low-tiered character, who is fringe viable in certain matchups at best.
In single-player modes
In Classic Mode
Mr. Game & Watch can appear as an ally in the team battle and the giant battle. However, he only appears as an opponent in the multi-character battle, where he is fought on Flat Zone.
Adventure Mode makes no concessions to Mr. Game & Watch when he is unlocked.
In All-Star Mode, Mr. Game & Watch appears as the final character the player fights against; his battle is the only one guaranteed to occur at the end, and he does not ally with any other character. The player must fight against a team of twenty-five Mr. Game & Watches, five at a time, on Flat Zone. Defeating all of them allows the player to complete the mode.
Mr. Game & Watch appears in the following event matches:
In addition to the normal trophy about Mr. Game & Watch as a character, there are two trophies about him as a fighter that are unlocked by completing the Adventure and All-Star modes on any difficulty with Mr. Game & Watch.