The Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. is a charming take on a timeless piece of Nintendo’s history, and it does a great job celebrating Mario’s legacy.
Nintendo knows how to celebrate big anniversaries, and Super Mario Bros.‘ 35th is no exception. On top of re-releasing three of Mario’s greatest hits for the Nintendo Switch, announcing various cross-promotion with other Nintendo IPs, and a flurry of collectible merch; Nintendo released the Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. This timeless piece of history puts a modern spin on Nintendo’s oldest handheld system making it a wonderful addition to any gamer’s collection.
The original Game & Watch system was released in 1980, and introduced the now-famous Mr. Game & Watch playing his first-ever title, Ball. Various models were released featuring different Game & Watch titles played on a lackluster LCD screen. As time went on, more and more Game & Watch systems were produced, each one upgrading or changing parts of the system. However, the Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. feels almost like a different console altogether if it were not for the wholesome nods it gives its predecessors.
The Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. is a simple yet elegant system that pays homage to the legacy of Super Mario Bros. and Game & Watch. It’s simple in the fact that there isn’t much to the total package. The Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. shares a similar design to the original Game & Watch comprised of a small screen, three function buttons, a D-pad, and two action buttons. The outdated LCD screen is replaced with a bright full-color display. Instead of a single title, the system comes with both Super Mario Bros. (1983) and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (1986). It also comes with the original Game & Watch title Ball, but replaces the head of the character with Mario’s face.
Of course, this system could not be deemed a Game & Watch if it did not tell time. The Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros.’ watch function is one of its most charming aspects. The numbers of the watch are blocks from Super Mario Bros., and as time passes, Mario runs across the screen stomping on an assortment of Bowser’s minions. As time passes, the scenery will change, and Mario will face different enemies and obstacles. There are 35 unique animations that happen throughout the day which makes checking the time one of the most entertaining features of the system. If a player is lucky, they may catch Mario interacting with one of his friends or foes.
Outside of its classic titles, the most fascinating part of the Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. is its secrets. Playing with this Game & Watch is like going on an Easter Egg hunt. Holding down buttons on certain menus unlocks new game modes or characters. Beating certain titles will add new content to the game. And watching time pass has never been a more enjoyable experience. The Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. may not have the biggest library of titles, but it’s definitely in the running for the system with the most charm.
The Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. looks, feels, and sounds great. Its gold faceplate with red trim makes the system eye-catching and stylish. While Game & Watch systems are known for their LCD screens, the full-color display makes it easy to see and play the retro Mario titles. The button layout feels natural, and each button press is satisfying and responsive. It is a smaller system which may be uncomfortable for users with larger hands, but its overall form factor is fantastic.
The Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. is also super fast. It’s easy to pick up and play with the touch of a couple of buttons. Switching between games is seamless as the system saves right where the player left off. It has an extensive battery life which can be recharged using a USB-C cable. Mobile gaming on a phone can be tedious for those looking for a title that worthwhile. But the Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. allows gamers to take some of the greatest retro titles of all time with them wherever they go.
Some may see it as a collector’s piece never to be taken out of its box, while others log some series playtime on the Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. Whatever it is used for, the Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. is a must-have for fans of Nintendo. For 35 years, Super Mario has taken players on amazing adventures, and now gamers can take Mario with them on adventures of their own. Whether it’s used to tell time or have a good one, the Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. is a charming piece of video game history.
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The Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. is available to purchase via Amazon. A unit was provided for review.
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