[[caption-width-right:350:Ball, the first of the Game and Watches.]]

When ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Melee'' came out, there was a strange character that nobody except the most hardcore of Creator/{{Nintendo}} fans recognized. [[CompletelyMissingThePoint His name was]] [[VideoGame/FireEmblemAkaneia Marth]].


[[BaitAndSwitch No, he's not the guy we're talking about today]], we're talking about the guy that NOBODY recognized, or at least remembered. He was Mr. Game & Watch, the ''Smash'' [[CompositeCharacter representative]] of one of the first popular hand held game series: [[CharacterTitle Game & Watch.]]

Back when Nintendo was in its early days ([[LongRunner early for videogames]], at least), Creator/GunpeiYokoi saw a business man playing with his LCD calculator on his way home. This inspired him to make a watch that doubled as a game to kill time with. Thus the Game & Watch, a watch and a game that looks slightly like a calculator, was born.

Think it's boring? Think again. It was so entertaining, the success of this game helped popularize handheld videogames, started Nintendo's monopoly on handhelds, and catapulted Yokoi to a high position in Nintendo. From that position, Yokoi would create the UsefulNotes/GameBoy, ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'', ''VideoGame/KidIcarus'', ''VideoGame/DrMario'', and ''Franchise/FireEmblem'', before the... [[ObviousBeta unfortunate mistake that the executives made with the]] UsefulNotes/VirtualBoy. In fact, the Game & Watch was Nintendo's first major success in the world of gaming (there was one long-forgotten home console and a few arcade games, but with [[VideoGame/DonkeyKong one exception]], nothing came out of them). Also, one of the templates for the Game & Watch was used in UsefulNotes/NintendoDS. So, if you ever owned a handheld, you know who to thank now.

The games consisted of you controlling some guy doing some simple task, whether it was rescuing people jumping out of a burning building with a trampoline in ''Fire!'' (you had to bounce them three times before they'd get to the ambulance), or moving a single manhole cover to make sure people don't fall down as they walk across holes. Points were awarded each time you prevented disaster (such as when someone successfully walked across the gap in ''Manhole''), and should you fail, you were marked with a miss. Three misses and you were done. The game would [[DifficultyByAcceleration speed up and get more difficult as you went on]], but there were methods to clear your misses, usually [[EveryTenThousandPoints after two, five, and seven hundred points]] or similar. The Game and Watch Gallery series would usually throw you a heart you'd have to catch once you broke the point marker.

Oddly enough, they were a major hit in Japan but relatively unsuccessful in the US, to the point where they never became as popular or widespread as overseas. Part of this was due to bad marketing (Nintendo of America used their own employees in commercials) and part of it was due to Nintendo not understanding how the toy industry worked, since they had marketed the Game & Watch machines as toys rather then consumer electronics. This was a mistake they made only once -- their next attempt at American video games was with the UsefulNotes/NintendoEntertainmentSystem, and we all know how well that went. On the other hand these games became a smash hit in the [[UsefulNotes/SovietRussiaUkraineAndSoOn Soviet Union]], where the localized versions was license-produced as UsefulNotes/ElektronikaIM. [[labelnote:Very interesting fact:]]While Nintendo bought rights from Elektronika to make ''VideoGame/{{Tetris}}'', Elektronika grabbed the Game & Watch concept, so it's not exactly known if it was done with Nintendo's permission or not.[[/labelnote]]

The games were rereleased on a series of Game Boy games, in sets of four with both the old unaltered version and a new better looking, with a couple of bonus features, version, and tracked scores on each version separately. This was actually one of the first remakes for a console game (albeit handheld), long before the days of the [[UsefulNotes/SuperNintendoEntertainmentSystem SNES]] and UsefulNotes/GameBoyAdvance. Several ''Game & Watch'' games (in their original forms) were later released as part of UsefulNotes/DSiWare, with much more faithful graphics than the Game Boy editions thanks to the DS's increased capabilities.

The mascot himself is a bit of an enigma. Still, we have some information due to his role in the ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' games. [[FlatCharacter As far as we know, he has no personality]]. Because of this, he's Nintendo's first [[TheEveryman everyman]], as Mario's a year younger than him. By WordOfGod, he's TrueNeutral, as he has no understanding of good or evil. He may be a DiscoDan, as he still speaks [[TheUnintelligible in calculator beeps]] (with the exception of the "present" section in Game and Watch Gallery 4), he uses LimitedAnimation and he and his tools remain two-dimensional (except for a manhole cover). This probably isn't his fault; no game designer wants to be the one who updates him and [[TheArtifact gets attacked by his fans]]. His fighting style is, more or less, a mix of ConfusionFu and {{Hammerspace}}. And that's all we know about the monochrome enigma. But if you'd like to apply some tropes to him, head on over to his ''Super Smash Bros. Melee'' character page [[Characters/SuperSmashBrosMelee here]] and add them there.

Recently, the brand name has had talk of being revived in yet more crossovers, one known as ''VideoGame/NintendoLand'' and another called ''VideoGame/GameAndWario'', both for the UsefulNotes/WiiU. Also, a new, fully-playable MiniGame in the style of the originals is present as one of the visualizations available in the UsefulNotes/Nintendo3DS's "Nintendo 3DS Sound" app, which involves a Mr. Game & Watch darting around to bounce a soccer ball off of its head.

!!!!Some of the popular Game & Watch games:
* Ball (1980): The very first game in the series. The player has to keep a number of balls in the air. Re-released in ''Game & Watch Gallery 2'', ''Game Boy Camera'', and is also available on UsefulNotes/DSiWare, and has been recently re-released through Club Nintendo.
* Flagman (1980): The player mimics a sailor, who holds numbered flags. Appears in Gallery 3 and as [=DSi=] ware.
* Fire (1980): Perhaps the most popular game in the series, and the basis for Mr. Game & Watch's "Melee" design. Two firemen must bounce people from a burning building to an ambulance. Appears in Gallery 1, 3, and 4.
* Octopus (1981): Three divers go under the sea to salvage treasure. A large octopus guards it. Appears in Gallery 1 and 4, and part of Club Nintendo's Game & Watch collection.
* Egg (1981) (Later re-released as Franchise/MickeyMouse): Playing as a [[VillainProtagonist hungry fox]], the player collects eggs from hens. Appears in Gallery 3. The original game saw a rare re-release with MickeyMouse in place of the fox, as a tie-in game. This game was later ported in the Soviet union as a tie-in to the popular Soviet cartoon series ''Animation/NuPogodi''.
* Helmet (1981): A simple Point A to Point B game, where the player must dodge falling tools. Playable in Gallery 2 and as [=DSi=] ware.
* Lion (1981) Two men must keep wild lions inside a cage. Appears in Gallery 3.
* Manhole (1981): The player must fill in the holes in a bridge to keep travelers safe. Appears in Gallery 1 and 4, also as [=DSi=] ware.
* Chef (1981): As a busy chef, the player must avoid dropping various foods. Playable in Gallery 2 and 4, where [[SuperMarioBros Princess Peach]] is the chef. Downloadable through [=DSi=] ware.
* ComicStrip/{{Popeye}} (1981), catch objects thrown to his boat from Olive Oil while avoiding strikes from Bluto.
* Donkey Kong (1982): Practically the same as the arcade game. Playable in Gallery 2 and 4. The D-Pad was created especially for this game, and would be used in virtually every game system, Game and Watch and otherwise, afterward.
* Donkey Kong Jr. (1982): Appears in Game & Watch Gallery 3 and 4.
* Greenhouse (1982): Playing as a gardener, the player guards precious flowers from insects. Playable in Gallery 3.
* Oil Panic (1982): A boss and employee of a gas station must keep an oil leak under control. Appears in Gallery 1.
* Turtle Bridge (1982) The player must deliver a package from one side to the other, across a bridge of hungry turtles. Appears in Gallery 3.
* Mario Bros. (1983): Very different from the [[Videogame/MarioBros arcade game of the same name]]. Mario and Luigi are in charge of a cake factory, and must get the cakes through the factory belts safely. Playable in Gallery 3 and 4.
* Boxing (1984) (Later renamed to VideoGame/PunchOut): Similar to Urban Champion. Also available in Game & Watch Gallery 4.
* [[VideoGame/SuperMarioBros Super Mario Bros.]] (1986): A condensed version of the NES game. Introduced the AutoScrollingLevel to Mario, which would be embraced by future games in the main series.
* [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZelda Zelda]] (1989): Another condensed version of the console game, the only Game & Watch game featuring Link. Appears as the final game in Gallery 4.
* Mario the Juggler (1991): The very last game in the series. Ball with a Mario twist.

!!Tropes that apply to the original handhelds:
* AirborneMook: ''Climber'' has bat bird things called eyeroms.
* AllThereInTheManual: The plot to later games such as ''Zelda'' and ''Climber'' are hidden in their manuals.
* AmusingInjuries: A miss in a game that involves people usually results in this.
* AntiFrustrationFeatures: In ''Mario Bros.'', if you fill the truck or drop a case the game pauses for a quick animation (of the brothers on break until the truck returns, or the foreman reprimanding the brother that dropped the case, respectively). When the game resumes. any cases that were close to falling off the conveyor belt mysteriously disappear, giving you slightly more time to get back into your rhythm.
* ArtShift: The designs varied from game to game, from ultra-stylized ("Helmet", "Fire") to comparatively detailed ("Fishbowl", "Snoopy Tennis"), and from monochrome with a white background to a black background and simple color in the tabletop and panorama series.
* AttractMode: Time Mode, when the game's ''just'' being a watch, plays animations from the game. This is absent in the ''Gallery'' series, but present in the [=DSiWare=] releases. The Game & Watch Soccer visualization in ''Nintendo 3DS Sound'' works the same way, the game playing itself until controls are initialized.
* BookEnds: The first game in the original line was ''Ball''. The last was its UpdatedRerelease, ''Mario the Juggler''.
* CanonDiscontinuity: Unsurprisingly, the Game & Watch variant of ''Zelda'' is not a part of the timeline.
* CatsAreMean: The one in ''Chef'' who shows up only to shove a fork in one of the falling food items and mess up your timing.
* CigarFuseLighting: A hazard in ''Mario's Bombs Away''. [[SarcasmMode That guy lounging in the corner is a real help]].
* CleverCrows: One appears in Game B of ''Rain Shower'' [[{{Jerkass}} just to tug on your clothesline]].
* CowardlyLion: The player character of ''Climber'' is clearly scared out of his wits, but is fully capable of making it through his circumstances.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: ''Climber''[='=]s manual calls the Condor "the mysterious bird Hentori". "Hentori" is Japanese for "strange bird".
* DifficultyByAcceleration: As you progress. Then it slows back down to the first level when you get your score high enough, likely throwing off your tempo.
* DifficultyLevels: This is typically the difference between Game A and Game B. The [=DSi=] remakes even have a Score Select feature to play at any [[DifficultyByAcceleration speed]].
* DolledUpInstallment: ''Egg'' and ''Donkey Kong Circus'' have Disney-fied versions starring Mickey Mouse, both simply having his name as the title.
* DoWellButNotPerfect: Keeping the cats subdued is easier but you can only get points in ''Lion'' by stopping them right on the verge of escape.
* DropTheHammer:
** ''Vermin'' has you dropping two hammers.
** ''Judge'' awards points for either hitting the other player with your hammer or dodging theirs, depending on whether or not they drew a higher number.
** Bluto has a hammer when appearing from the left side in ''Popeye''.
** Hammers are literally dropped in ''Helmet'' and you must dodge them alongside other discarded tools
** A hammer is used to bash attackers and knock away their projectiles in ''Fire Attack''
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Nintendo did a lot of things here that they would probably never get away with now [[GrandfatherClause with the exception of rereleases]].
** ''Fire Attack'' was about fighting back TheSavageIndian horde who was trying to burn down your settler's fort. Oddly enough, this one got a full remake in ''Gallery 4''.
** ''Mario's Bombs Away'' has Mario (yes, ''that'' Mario) fighting in UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar, [[NoSmoking with someone visibly smoking]]. This is available as an unlockable minigame in ''Gallery 4''.
* EndlessGame:
** The extreme simplicity of a Game & Watch game meant that there's no story or a victory condition. Only an aim for the highest possible score until you failed three times.
** Averted with ''Zelda'', the one Game & Watch title that can actually be finished.
* {{Engrish}}: The majority of the instructions; this [[http://www.gameandwatch.com/screen/widescreen/fireattack/images/screen.gif scan]] provides a good enough example. Averted with games launched after the NES, as their marketing became more global, the translations improved.
* EpicFail: In ''Safebusters'', you're a bank robber trying to blast open a vault door. If you dump too many bombs on the left instead of the right, however, or if you miss one, then you blow up everything '''except''' the vault door.
* EurekaMoment: Meta example; Gunpei Yokoi watching a bored businessman play around with a calculator.
* EverythingsSquishierWithCephalopods: The antagonist of ''Octopus'' is terrifyingly huge, or should be [[{{Greed}} but]] your divers keep going back in the water with it and refuse to return to the boat if they are not holding treasure.
* ExplosiveStupidity: Not only can the smoking troop [[CigarFuseLighting blow up the bomb in your hands]] in ''Mario's Bombs Away'', but Mario also has to dodge the oil spill he keeps setting ablaze.
* FiremansSafetyNet: You have to move one around in ''Fire''.
* FloatingLimbs: Due to system limitations, limbs on characters are not always fully attached in the earlier games, most obviously with ''Ball''.
* ForeignRemake: Some of the UsefulNotes/ElektronikaIM titles, most famously ''Nu Pogodi'', of ''Egg'', as detailed above.
* GameOver: The game shuts off after you lose your third life in most of them.
* {{Golem}}: ''Climber'' has brick monsters called blockmen who fill in gaps in the path you can jump or fall through, namely by deposing of themselves to become new brick path.
* HitPoints: In ''Boxing''.
* InNameOnly: ''Mario Bros.'', which took place a factory with conveyor belts rather than a sewer that could be run through.
* LimitedAnimation: The handhelds used the same architecture as a calculator, so animation in any real sense was not supported at all, only fixed frames which "filled in" at different times.
* LockedDoor: Most of the difficulty of ''Helmet'' comes from not being able to manually open the door and it not staying open very long.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: High-speed acrobatics just to keep your clothes dry in a rain storm? Taking care of garden pests with a giant mallet? Yes, please.
* NewJobAsThePlotDemands: Mario has been a packager, cement factory worker, soldier in Vietnam, [[UpToEleven a lot more things than he even normally is]]. That's not even taking the ''Gallery'' series into consideration.
* NoEnding: As simple as the games are, did you really expect one? Though there is an exception, in ''Zelda''.
* NoNose: The sailor giving you instructions in ''Flagman'', the exterminator the player controls in ''Vermin''.
* NoOSHACompliance: Where do we start...?
** ''Helmet''[='=]s entire premise is that careless construction workers are just casually dropping their tools. You're a fellow worker who can hardly get from one office building to another without getting his head smashed in because of it.
** ''Manhole'' has massive gaping holes in busy bridges that anyone can [[TooDumbToLive and does]] just fall through to the water system below. You and the manhole cover you carry are the only reason why everyone there isn't soaking wet.
** ''Oil Panic'' has a gas station that has a big enough structural fault to where gasoline is constantly leaking from the ceiling. Oh yeah, and it immediately catches fire if it hits the ground. And the disposal crew is just above the customers.
** The titular cement factory in ''Mario's Cement Factory'' functions thanks to its open elevator shafts that barely stay in one place long enough for the worker to get on. They're lethal if you misstep.
* NobleBirdOfPrey: The Condor of ''Climber'' that carries you to new areas should you reach it. Sometimes you have to catch a sword to chase away a dragon first.
* NotTheFallThatKillsYou: Fail to catch a civilian in ''Fire'', and they just storm off in a huff.
* OlderThanTheNES: By five years.
* OneHitPointWonder: Mr. Game & Watch and his few fellow playable characters, with few exceptions.
* PaletteSwap: Sort of. ''Mickey Mouse'' and ''Egg'' are the exact same game bar the unit's colours and the character you control, and they were even released on the same day. ''Egg'' is supposedly more challenging earlier into the game however.
* ParachuteInATree: A definite possibility in ''Parachute'''s Game B.
* PlayerVersusPlayer: Whenever it didn't adjust DifficultyLevels, Game B started a multiplayer game, such as in ''Judge'', ''Donkey Kong 3'' and ''Boxing''.
* TheSavageIndian: With torches, trying to burn down your fort in ''Fire Attack''.
* ScavengersAreScum: The mouse waiting to steal your food in ''Chef''
* ScoringPoints: Almost all of them have this as their primary goal.
* SideView: Almost all of them, with few exceptions. [[PaperPeople Mr. Game & Watch HAS no front side, after all]].
* SpikesOfDoom: Thorny/brambly vines/roots hang down in climber
* SpiritualSequel: ''Climber'' is basically a more simple sequel of ''Videogame/IceClimber''.
* SwordOfPlotAdvancement: The magic sword in ''Climber''. It's an endless game like the rest, so you'll end up getting it several times.
* TemporaryPlatform: The ''Turtle Bridge'' turtles dive if a fish swims under them, resulting in you falling in the water if you remain standing on or jump where they once were.
* TentacleRope: This is how you lose divers in ''Octopus''.
* TheDragonslayer: The player character in ''Climber''.
* ThreateningShark: In ''Parachute'', grinning sharks represent your misses.
* TooDumbToLive: The civilians in ''Manhole'' will walk right into an open pit. That's why it's your job to make sure that they don't.
* UpdatedRerelease: ''Mario the Juggler'' to the original ''Ball''.
** The earlier ''Wide Screen'' series were mostly just variants of the ''Silver'' and ''Gold'' line up with some nicer visual touches and a [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin bigger screen]]. These include ''Fire'' and ''Manhole''.
** The ''New Wide Screen'' and ''Crystal'' models, launched later in the Game & Watch's lifespan, are rereleases of some of their more popular and in-depth games, such as ''Super Mario Bros.'', ''Manhole'' and ''Climber''. They typically incorporated newer technology for the screen as well as making it bigger.
** The Mini Classics line-up, again taking the most popular games and putting them in a scaled-down Game Boy style casing with a key-chain. They were first released back in 1998, although Nintendo ''still'' allows companies to produce them to this very day.
* UrExample: Of the handheld video game console, of the D-pad (''Donkey Kong'')...
* UseYourHead: Your player character uses his head in the lower left corner of ''Manhole'' to keep pedestrians from falling.
* WhackAMonster: ''Vermin'' is a variation of the ever popular whack a mole.
* WormSign: If you fail to stop a single mole in ''Vermin'' you lose. Thankfully you can see them coming.
* WrapAround: You can and often have to do so in ''Climber''. Bluto uses this against you in ''Popeye''.

!!Tropes that apply to the ''Game & Watch Gallery'' series:

* AnachronismStew: [[spoiler: The Cast Credits in 4 feature the Modern and Classic characters interacting with each other]].
* AntiFrustrationFeatures:
** The ability to suspend play by pausing and turning off the power. Earning 1,000 points can take roughy a half an hour if successful on the first try, so this was a welcome feature.
** In the original ''Mario's Cement Factory'', the moving platforms were lethal if you weren't immediately on their level when trying to board them, falling right through any other platforms that might be on the screen at the time, which could get ridiculous if the platform was about to rise and you just pressed the button a tiny bit too early. In the Modern version, jumping down onto a platform ''below'' you is possible and you won't take damage.
* ArtifactTitle:
** The games no longer have watch or alarm functions. [[CaptainObvious But you probably already knew that]].
** Some modern versions of the games in ''Gallery'' also qualify compared to their classic counterparts:
*** In ''Vermin'', you control Yoshi who must defend his eggs against Fly Guys, Paratroopas and Boos instead of vermin. Oddly enough, a Monty Mole will allow Yoshi to clear a miss by giving him a heart.
*** In ''Ball'', the character you play will juggle many items not resembling balls.
*** Subverted in ''Egg''. Instead of catching eggs laid by hens, Yoshi must catch cookies on a conveyor belt. If he eats enough of a type of cookie at the right temperature, he will lay an egg.
*** In ''Turtle Bridge'', you control Toad who must cross a makeshift bridge of Goonies across an open sky instead of turtles across a pond.
*** In the original ''Rain Shower'', a man is trying to keep his hanging clothes dry from a passing shower. In the remake, Mario must protect his friends from paint balloons thrown by Bowser.
*** The remake of ''Mario's Cement Factory'' takes place in a cookie factory.
* CanonImmigrant: ''4'', released in 2002, officially adopts the Mr. Game & Watch design used in ''Melee''.
* CompilationRerelease: Good thing, too, because by the time the ColbertBump arrived, the original line had been out of production for ten years.
* EasterEgg: In Modern Helmet, if you get a game over with less than 100 points and choose to retry, you'll play as Wario.
* GaidenGame: The first official game in the series is ''Game Boy Gallery'' which was only launched into [[NoExportForYou UK and Australian markets]] in 1994. It includes Ball, Manhole, Vermin, Flagman and Mario's Cement Factory (renamed to just Cement Factory). The games are simply the classic variants with updated visuals, there are no Mario characters or references whatsoever and it noticeably lacks features that made the rest of the series more enjoyable (suspend play, unlockables, score saving etc.). The only reason it can be considered part of the series at all is that Australia used ''Game Boy Gallery'' as its MarketBasedTitle for all future ''Game & Watch Galley'' releases.
** For those interested into game coding, ''Wario Land II'' uses the ''Game Boy Gallery'' version of ''Flagman'' as the basis for one of the minigames, including the Super Game Boy border.
* OneHundredPercentCompletion: Unlocks the Cast Credits. [[NintendoHard Good luck with that]].
* {{Retraux}}: The Game Boy is clearly capable of more than calculator graphics, but that would defeat the purpose, wouldn't it?
* SuddenlyVoiced: ''4'' is the only time that Mr. Game & Watch has ever talked.
* UpdatedRerelease: The Modern versions, and to further that, ''4'' contained further-remastered versions of several of the games in the previous three in the series.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: In-universe. ''3''[='s=] version of ''Fire'' was an early factory beta that was less detailed and reversed right-to-left, included and playable as a historical curiosity.
* WolverinePublicity: [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Mario]] and friends were the main attraction, as Mr. Game & Watch wouldn't be recognizable or appealing to contemporary audiences until 2001.