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Thursday, March 16, 2017

On Game & Watch and why we need to preserve Nintendo's oldest games


Retro reflections by Matt S.

Before even the Game Boy, Nintendo had the Game & Watch games. These little handheld gaming machines were a serious addiction to me, and to this day they are such utter curiosities that if you haven’t played one, in its original form, then you’re doing yourself a great disservice.

Of course, by modern expectations these games couldn’t even rightfully be called “games,” - a minigame in a Mario Party title, or one of those silly “verby noun” games like Flappy Bird or Crossy Road, have more depth to them than what the Game & Watch games had. Basically, each Game & Watch title was a small LCD screen, with “shapes” cut into it. Those shapes could be “lit” up with the liquid in the machine to display an image. By lighting the shapes in sequence, it was possible to create a very primitive kind of animation, where a specific “character” was perceived by the player to be moving across the screen (when in reality the shapes were just being lit up in sequence).

On Game & Watch and why we need to preserve Nintendo's oldest games
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