The Game & Watch universe (ゲーム&ウオッチ, Game & Watch) refers to the Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties concerning and modelled off of Nintendo's old Game & Watch series of dedicated handheld gaming devices, released from 1980 to 1991. The series popularized handheld electronic entertainment and set up for Nintendo's later Game Boy line of portable consoles. For predating even 1981's Donkey Kong, the Game & Watch series is sometimes labeled a critical forerunner in Nintendo's modern video game business. The Smash Bros. series debuted an original character representing the series as a unique and distinctive "mascot", Mr. Game & Watch, and included him as a playable character in Melee, Brawl, and SSBWU/3DS.
Prior to his work in Nintendo in video games, where he would eventually create the first games in the Metroid and Kid Icarus series, Gunpei Yokoi was traveling on a Shinkansen Bullet Train, when he saw a businessman pressing buttons on a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) calculator in an attempt to kill time. It occurred to Yokoi that there could be an audience for a handheld machine meant specifically for game-based entertainment, so as head for Nintendo's R&D1, he created the first games in what would be a long-running line of Game & Watch handheld dedicated consoles (dedicated in that each individual unit had one game built into it). The games in the franchise were released as "subseries" based on the consistent design of each Game & Watch. The first set of G&W games released in 1980 was called the "Silver" series. The Game & Watch made handhelds vastly popular, and prompted other companies, such as Tiger Electronics, to produce similar devices of their own.
After the first Game & Watch games helped carve more of the path towards gaming as a mainstream commodity, a path formerly started by such products as Pong and Pac-Man and would later be continued by Nintendo in releases such as Donkey Kong and then Super Mario Bros. for the NES, new subseries of Game & Watch games were developed and released in the years afterward, and they would eventually be superseded by the Nintendo Game Boy, which was the first handheld to be able to play more than one game. The sequel subseries to Silver, Gold, was made in 1981, and further new subseries of Game & Watch products that were released in the years afterward were the Widescreen (1981-1982), Multiscreen (1982-1989), Tabletop (1983), Panorama (1983-1984), New Widescreen (1982-1991), Super Color (1984), Micro Vs. System (1984), Crystal Screen (1986), and much later in 1998, the Mini Classics series. Throughout the Game & Watch's entire history, approximately 59 distinctive titles were released. The name of each subseries generally denotes the physical build and layout of the game devices in that subseries, such as games in the Multiscreen subseries being "clamshell"-designed, handheld devices, with two separate screens displayed simultaneously, one above the other. The Yokoi-designed, multi-screen layout of Game & Watch gaming devices is extremely similar to the design of the modern-day, handheld gaming device, the Nintendo DS.
The games themselves were generally simple in design, especially so for the earliest of the games, such as Manhole, which comes packaged with the e-Reader for Game Boy Advance. They often had buttons titled "Game A" and "Game B", where selecting one game mode over the other would affect difficulty. As the rest of the gaming industry expanded and developed, the Game & Watch series became somewhat less antiquated; it would soon play fully ported versions of Donkey Kong, Balloon Fight, Super Mario Bros., and The Legend of Zelda. Game & Watch games were not limited to known Nintendo characters either; there were also games based on Disney's Mickey Mouse, and several of the games featured an unnamed, fully black-coloured character in particular.
After the Game & Watch series was superseded by the Game Boy and its many future successors, the Game & Watch name took its place as an artifact from gaming's early history. When HAL Laboratory was designing Super Smash Bros. Melee in 2001, it decided to renew historical appreciation for the franchise by featuring properties from Game & Watch in Melee as a playable franchise, alongside such major game franchises as Mario and Zelda. To this end, they gave the unnamed character from several of the games the identity of Mr. Game & Watch, and made him to be the playable "mascot" of the Game & Watch series. Game & Watch has since become a better known subject among the gaming community, enough that properties from it make occasional cameo appearances elsewhere, such as a false clone of Mr. Game and Watch appearing as an NPC in Wario Land 4 for Game Boy Advance.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
Game & Watch is a franchise first introduced in the Super Smash Bros. series in Melee, featuring one character and one stage.
- Mr. Game & Watch: A small, flat, black, and voiceless personality who made several appearances among several of the games in the Game & Watch series, Mr. Game & Watch was given his identity for his appearance as a Melee fighter. A character like no other in the Super Smash Bros. series, Mr."G&W" is totally flat, and nearly every movement he makes is distinctively frame-by-frame, and is accompanied by a "beep-and-boop" sound. As a Melee fighter, he is also unique in his Side Special Move, Judgement, which creates a random effect that can be powerful, but may actually hurt him at times, and the bucket from his Oil Panic move collects projectiles thrown at him; when three projectiles are gathered, their accumulated damage and knockback is dealt the next time he whips out his bucket and there is an opponent in his way.
Melee features one stage based, quite literally, on the Game & Watch platform.
- Superflat World: Flat Zone: This stage takes place in the screen of a giant old-style Game & Watch platform, where the characters appear 3D but can seem to reside in a flat space. Visual elements of its layout are combined from elements of the Game & Watch entries named Manhole, Helmet, and Oil Panic. It has several platforms and one small house rooftop to the right, and various hazards such as spilled oil on the ground and falling tools from the sky complicate the action. This could be the smallest and most cramped stage in the game, with the left, right, and upper KO boundaries all rather close to the edges of the visible screen. This makes for a stage not often allowed in tournaments. However, it is always fought as the last stage in All-Star Mode (where the opponents are 25 Mr. Game & Watches), and it is the stage where Mr. Game & Watch's Target Test challenge takes place as well.
- 26: Flat Zone: An original composition comprised of atmospheric techno-sounds mixed with the beep-boop nature of the oldest Game & Watch games. It appears in Superflat World: Flat Zone.
- 49: Mr. Game & Watch's Victory: The victory fanfare of Mr. Game & Watch is an original composition with the same influence as track 26, "Flat Zone".
Full Trophy List
- Mr.Game & Watch's three game trophies
- Game & Watch
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Mr. Game & Watch was confirmed to return in Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the DOJO!! after Brawl was released in North America.
- Mr. Game & Watch: Not dramatically changed from Melee, he is confirmed to be a unlockable character. His Final Smash allows him to transform into the giant octopus from Octopus and extend his tentacles.
- Flat Zone 2: Like its predecessor Flat Zone from Melee, this stage is set in a giant widescreen Game & Watch called "Smash Brothers". Unlike Flat Zone, its layout alternates between the games Fire, Oil Panic, Chef, and Lion.
- Flat Zone 2 - Much like the Flat Zone music from Melee, this track is constructed out of various sound effects from the Game & Watch games, but has a decidedly different ambiance than the previous one, with the track being mainly composed of by Game & Watch sound effects, rather than having them dully in the background. It is used on the Flat Zone 2 stage. This song also plays during Mr. Game & Watch's Classic Mode credits.
- Flat Zone (Melee) - Taken directly from Melee. It is used on the Flat Zone 2 stage.
- Mr. Game & Watch's victory theme - An original victory fanfare made of various Game & Watch sound effects. It is completely different from his Melee victory theme.
The Game & Watch series gets a slightly larger boost in representation in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U with Mr. Game & Watch returning as a secret fighter.
- Mr. Game & Watch: Outside of some very minor buffs and nerfs in speed and power respectively, Mr. Game & Watch returns with his moveset practically unchanged from Brawl, including his "Octopus" Final Smash. Appearance wise, his nose is smaller and his hands are circular. His animations are also slightly more choppy to simulate the frame movements found in the Game & Watch games.
Wii U Version
- Flat Zone X: Also an unlockable stage, Flat Zone X appears exclusively in the Wii U version. It is a composite of Flat Zone from Melee and Flat Zone 2 in Brawl.
- Flat Zone: Taken directly from Melee. It is the alternate music of Flat Zone 2 in the 3DS version and Flat Zone X in the Wii U version.
- Flat Zone 2: Taken directly from Brawl. It is used on Flat Zone 2 in the 3DS version and Flat Zone X in the Wii U version.
- Victory! Game & Watch Series: From Brawl, an original victory fanfare made of various Game & Watch sound effects.
- Mr. Game & Watch
- Mr. Game & Watch (Alt.)
- Oil Panic
Wii U Version
- Unidentified Flat Zone