Difference between revisions of "Game & Watch"

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;'''[[MAME]]''':It was officially the 1st Game & Watch emulator, with support for almost all games. It started to comprehensively cover the Game & Watch games from around just before mid-2017 (e.g. [https://wiki.mamedev.org/index.php/MAME_0.185 0.185] in May 2017) and emulated its first game in [https://wiki.mamedev.org/index.php/MAME_0.186 0.186]. Since July 9, 2020, MAME supports at least one version of each Game & Watch model.
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;[[MAME]]:
:* See [https://github.com/mamedev/mame/blob/master/src/mame/drivers/hh_sm510.cpp MAME driver] which covers all of the Game & Watch series of games and those of a similar ilk from other companies running on the LCD game handhelds with Sharp SM5xx family of CPUs (SM5A/SM510/SM511/SM512) (Other companies that released similar games included Konami, Elektronika, [[Tiger_LCD_Handhelds|Tiger Electronics]], Tronica and VTech).
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It was officially the 1st Game & Watch emulator, with support for almost all games. It started to comprehensively cover the Game & Watch games from around just before mid-2017 (e.g. [https://wiki.mamedev.org/index.php/MAME_0.185 0.185] in May 2017) and emulated its first game in [https://wiki.mamedev.org/index.php/MAME_0.186 0.186]. <br> Since July 9, 2020, MAME supports at least one version of each Game & Watch model.
:* [http://adb.arcadeitalia.net/lista_mame.php?game_sourcefile=hh_sm510.cpp&arcade_only=0&current_version=0 Arcade Italia's database] of compatibility records for games on MAME.
 
  
 
;'''DSP''':It was officially the 2nd Game & Watch emulator. Just before mid-June 2017, it also started to emulate a few notable Game & Watch "Thanks to MAME for the ROMs and the info." (as stated in the [https://github.com/leniad/dsp-emulator readme]).  
 
;'''DSP''':It was officially the 2nd Game & Watch emulator. Just before mid-June 2017, it also started to emulate a few notable Game & Watch "Thanks to MAME for the ROMs and the info." (as stated in the [https://github.com/leniad/dsp-emulator readme]).  

Revision as of 22:37, 25 June 2022

Nintendo Game & Watch
Gamewatch1.png
Developer Nintendo
Type Handheld electronic game
Generation Second generation
Release date 1980
Discontinued 1991 (2010 & 2020)
Successor Game Boy/Color
Emulated

The Game & Watch is a series of self-contained handheld LCD games by Nintendo where the first one was released on April 28, 1980, and which are often seen as the precursor to the Game Boy/Color, although new Game & Watch games were still released as late as 1991.

Despite their simplicity, Game & Watch handhelds were completely unemulated for a very long time due to a lack of information about their hardware and difficulties with dumping ROMs and accurately recreating graphics. After an extensive reverse-engineering effort by several MAME developers, MAME became the first emulator to support many retro handheld electronic games, including Game & Watch systems.

Emulators

Name Platform(s) Latest Version libretro FLOSS Active Recommended
PC / x86
MAME Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD 0.246
DSP Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD 0.19
MAME

It was officially the 1st Game & Watch emulator, with support for almost all games. It started to comprehensively cover the Game & Watch games from around just before mid-2017 (e.g. 0.185 in May 2017) and emulated its first game in 0.186.
Since July 9, 2020, MAME supports at least one version of each Game & Watch model.

DSP
It was officially the 2nd Game & Watch emulator. Just before mid-June 2017, it also started to emulate a few notable Game & Watch "Thanks to MAME for the ROMs and the info." (as stated in the readme).

Emulation issues

Although Game & Watch emulation has recently become possible, it took quite a while to achieve due to the lack of information about the microcontrollers driving them and the high difficulty of dumping the ROM from a system. (To dump a game's ROM, the microcontroller often must be decapped, which is not only very costly and complicated but highly destructive to the system.) The lack of information on the Game & Watch's hardware leads to the false belief that it does not contain a CPU or ROM and therefore could not be emulated. Even though this was disproven after reverse engineering efforts of several MAME developers which led to support for all of the games. Emulation of the games had been progressing slowly due to the high amount of time and patience it takes to dump their ROMs and recreate their graphics.

Graphics

Even when a Game & Watch game's ROM had been dumped, one of the biggest challenges with accurately emulating it was with how the Game & Watch displayed graphics. Rather than by sending output to an LCD display like most cartridge-based handhelds do, Game & Watch games (as well as most other handheld electronic games from the same time) displayed graphics by lighting up pre-drawn LCD segments, like a calculator. To recreate this as accurately as possible, MAME uses .SVG files traced from high-quality scans of the LCD screen, allowing graphics in supported Game & Watch games to be displayed crisply at any resolution without the loss of any detail. While this is the most accurate way to recreate the LCD graphics outside of obtaining the original art from Nintendo, it is a difficult and time-consuming process as not only does the LCD need to be scanned at a high resolution with all segments lit up to capture all of the graphics but the scans must be traced very carefully to faithfully recreate the original artwork.

Games

The main way of these games outside of buying any of the units second hand is MAME, its accuracy automatically makes it the recommended way of playing these game but if really don't want to use it, there are other ways in the simulators list

MAME Support

Model Year Series MAME support ROMs Emulators / Description
Ball 2010 Club Nintendo None
Ball / Toss-Up 1980 Silver Good Yes
Balloon Fight 1986 Crystal Screen Good Yes
Balloon Fight 1988 New Wide Screen Good Yes
Black Jack 1985 Vertical Multi Screen Good Yes
Bomb Sweeper 1987 Vertical Multi Screen Good Yes
Chef 1981 Wide Screen Good Yes
Climber 1986 Crystal Screen Good Yes
Climber 1988 New Wide Screen Good Yes
Crab Grab 1984 Super Color Good Yes
Donkey Kong 1982 Vertical Multi Screen Good Yes
Donkey Kong 1998 Nintendo Mini Classics None
Donkey Kong II 1983 Vertical Multi Screen Good Yes
Donkey Kong 3 1984 Micro Vs. Good Yes
Donkey Kong Circus 1984 Panorama Good Yes
Donkey Kong Jr. 1982 New Wide Screen Good Yes
Donkey Kong Jr. 1998 Nintendo Mini Classics None
Donkey Kong Jr. 1983 Panorama Good Yes
Donkey Kong Jr. 1983 Table Top None
Donkey Kong Hockey 1984 Micro Vs. Good Yes
Egg 1981 Wide Screen Good Yes
Fire 1998 Nintendo Mini Classics None
Fire 1981 Wide Screen Good Yes
Fire Attack 1982 Wide Screen Good Yes
Fireman / Fire 1980 Silver Good Yes
Flagman 1980 Silver Good Yes
Gold Cliff 1988 Vertical Multi Screen Good Yes
Green House 1982 Vertical Multi Screen Good Yes
Headache / Helmet 1981 Gold Good Yes
Judge 1980 Silver Good Yes
Lifeboat 1983 Horizontal Multi Screen Good Yes
Lion 1981 Gold Good Yes
Manhole 1981 Gold Good Yes
Manhole 1983 New Wide Screen Good Yes
Mario's Bombs Away 1983 Panorama Good Yes
Mario's Cement Factory 1983 New Wide Screen Good Yes
Mario's Cement Factory 1998 Nintendo Mini Classics None
Mario's Cement Factory 1983 Table Top Good Yes
Mario Bros. 1983 Horizontal Multi Screen Good Yes
Mario The Juggler 1991 New Wide Screen Good Yes
Mickey & Donald 1982 Vertical Multi Screen Good Yes
Mickey Mouse 1984 Panorama Good Yes
Mickey Mouse 1981 Wide Screen Good Yes
Mysteries of the Deep / Sea / Octopus 1981 Wide Screen Good Yes
Octopus 1998 Nintendo Mini Classics None
Oil Panic 1998 Nintendo Mini Classics None
Oil Panic 1982 Vertical Multi Screen Good Yes
Parachute 1998 Nintendo Mini Classics None
Parachute 1981 Wide Screen Good Yes
Pinball 1983 Vertical Multi Screen Good Yes
Popeye 1983 Panorama Good Yes
Popeye 1983 Table Top None
Popeye 1981 Wide Screen Good Yes
Punch Out / Boxing 1984 Micro Vs. Good Yes
Rain Shower 1983 Horizontal Multi Screen Good Yes
Safebuster 1988 Vertical Multi Screen Good Yes
Snoopy 1983 Panorama Good Yes
Snoopy 1983 Table Top None
Snoopy Tennis 1998 Nintendo Mini Classics None
Snoopy Tennis 1982 Wide Screen Good Yes
Spitball Sparky 1984 Super Color Good Yes
Squish 1986 Vertical Multi Screen Good Yes
Super Mario Bros. 1986 Crystal Screen Good Yes
Super Mario Bros. 1988 New Wide Screen Good Yes
Super Mario Bros. 1998 Nintendo Mini Classics None
Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Edition 2020 Color Screen None
The Exterminator / Vermin 1980 Silver Good Yes
The Legend of Zelda 35th Anniversary Edition 2021 Color Screen None
Ball / Toss-Up 1980 Silver Good Yes
Tropical Fish 1985 New Wide Screen Good Yes
Turtle Bridge 1982 Wide Screen Good Yes
Zelda 1998 Nintendo Mini Classics None
Zelda 1989 Vertical Multi Screen Good Yes

List Note: underlined text = devices that are re-releases of G&W games that are technically not apart of the Game & Watch Series.

Simulators

Simulator Description
Nintendo Nintendo officially released virtual reproductions in the games and compiled them in the Game & Watch Gallery (and, later, Game & Watch Collection) series of games. These games had both "classic" and "modern" variations of these games. While these collections have a loss of "authenticity" (especially in the collections that are running on earlier hardware), these collections are Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS games for which emulators are widespread. (A few games are from the DSiWare series, though every game in the DSiWare series appears in another collection.) However, some of the games in the collection (notably Zelda) may need to be unlocked before play.
Pica Pic Developed by Hipopotam, Pica Pic is an online collection of Game & Watch games under an authentic presentation (using Adobe Flash). While there seems to be no way to play these games offline, there are a few games that are exclusive to the website.
Madrigal Simulations An offline, authentic presentation of the Game & Watch games, the collection of these games growing through time. Of particular note is that these are available to play through RetroArch through the gw-libretro core. There are also some that are not of the Game & Watch series.
lcdgame.js An open-source JavaScript library that currently supports authentic representations of Donkey Kong II and Mario Bros.
Handheld Quake A free simulator that simulates some Elektronika and Nintendo handhelds.

Miscellaneous G&W Info

  • The silver version of Fire has slightly different gameplay than the widescreen version.
  • The three Panorama titles listed above are completely different games than the standard versions despite the same names.
  • The tabletop version of Mario's Cement Factory is similar to the widescreen and panorama versions but has different artwork and slightly different gameplay.
  • From an emulation point of view, the 2009 re-release of Ball is a completely new game with a different CPU and a different program compared to the original Ball release.

Resources