2 min read
Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. is a game that you can play and watch.

The Game Boy was around long before the Nintendo Switch. And there were Game & Watch games long before Game Boy. Nintendo has repeatedly invented portable gaming, and the first major hit was the Game & Watch series. Nintendo has launched Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. to celebrate both the company's legacy of mobile games and Super Mario Bros.'s 35th anniversary. It's a $49.99 computer based on the original Game & Watch games, but fitted with a color LCD screen and Super Mario Bros. playability. It's a limited, but fun, little device that should satisfy longtime fans of Nintendo.

Playing Pocket Strength With
The Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. is a bright red and gold plastic Famicom card measuring 2.6 by 4.9 by 0.4 inches (HWD). It has a 2.5-inch color LCD panel, with a black plus-shaped direction pad in the NES style on the left and red A and B buttons on the right. Compared to the NES Classic's controller, the controls are thin, but still functional. The buttons for game, time, and pause/set sit in the top-right corner of the card.

The Game & Watch: The right edge of Super Mario Bros. holds a USB-C charging port (a cable included), along with a power button. Nintendo does not specify how long the battery lasts between charges, but when not in use, the monitor automatically switches off after a few minutes (they can turn it back on with a tap of the power button). A tiny slot hole holds the left edge of the card for the speaker to beep through.

Watch & Game: Super Mario Bros. Ball Ball
The screen is bright and vibrant, two aspects that were not the initial displays of the Game & Watch. Monochrome, un-backlit liquid crystal displays with preset graphics that would flash on and off as you play used in the original 1980 Game & Watches. The Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. practically has a tiny screen on the tablet. When you look at it straight-on, the colors are rich, but they wash out quickly from off-angles. It's also an enormous improvement compared to previous Game & Watches.

In the Amazon,

Classic Nintendo NES Version
In the Amazon,

MINI Sega Genesis
$79.38, $79.38
In the Amazon,

Play & Watch: Color for Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 2 is the Japanese iteration of the game that North America has got, not to be confused with the re-skinned version of a totally different game, Doki Doki Panic. In graphics and mechanics, it is almost similar to Super Mario Bros., just as much harder. Its inclusion is a wonderful bonus, but it's a shame not to have the Super Mario Bros. 2 or Super Mario Bros. 3 American edition on the computer, both of which are far superior to the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2. 

These sequels are also much more important to the Mario series producing characters and themes that exist to this day in Mario games. There's a reason they finally published the American version of SMB2 in Japan as Super Mario USA, and it's the same reason that in Mario games, Shy Guys and Bob-ombs still used.

The third game is the first Game & Watch game, the Mario variant of Ball. It's a really easy juggling game where you move Mario's (in the original game, Mr. Game & Watch) arms left and right to catch balls as they pass over his head, winning a point for each catch. Simple, but entertaining, it is. It's also a nice callback to a portion of the legacy of Game & Watch that in the public imagination hasn't survived even as much as Mario.

Nintendo Fans For Hardcore

Game & Watch: Besides short gaming sessions and telling the time, Super Mario Bros. not intended to be a comprehensive compilation or even a useful gadget for anything. This is simply a fun, compact device that calls back to the portable video game roots of Nintendo and celebrates the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros.' You don't get it for a deep feature set; you get it because it's a Famicom coloured Game & Watch, and it's filled with Super Mario Bros. imagery. That is just okay.

For Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros., Nintendo fans can keep an eye out for Like the SNES Classic, it's not a must-have piece of video game nostalgia, but it's an enjoyable trinket celebrating Nintendo's history.

Game & Watch by Nintendo - buy it on Amazon.com