Game Review

Game & Watch Collection Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Clay Anderson

A blast from the past or something best left forgotten?

If you are a Nintendo fan living in North America, you probably remember the heavily publicised launch of the Club Nintendo program last December. Additionally, if you were a big investor at the time, you were probably hoping that you had enough recent Nintendo products to afford the coveted Game & Watch Collection -- a Club Nintendo exclusive. If you did not have the opportunity to get it at the time, then perhaps you’d like to find out if the 800-coin (approximately $800 of Nintendo products) game is worth your while.

The Game & Watch Collection, as its name would suggest, is a collection of three games from Nintendo’s first series of LCD handheld games. These generally featured a non-descript person doing any number of mundane tasks: such as cooking or maintaining a greenhouse. Others featured very linear platforming or other more goal-oriented tasks, but almost all of the handhelds had a distinct charm.

Due to the graphic capabilities, all characters and objects moved in pre-set frames of animation. A collection similar to this was released a while back on the Game Boy colour/advance; these could be brought by the average Joe, not like this indirectly expensive three-game compilation. Nethertheless, they are all fun, and unlike their Game Boy counterparts, are dual-screen like their original titles.

That, however, does not save the game from being entirely overpriced relative to its true value. But before we immediately criticise the game for its price, let us analyse the contents: the games Oil Panic, Donkey Kong, and Green House; and the alarm feature that was included in all of the original Game & Watches. Once selected, each of these games can be played in either A, B, or Time modes. Game B is harder than Game A, and that’s about it – they’re otherwise identical. Certain actions earn points, which will increase the pace a little, until the player reaches the next 100-point milestone where the game slows back down.

Should the player fail at completing the task at hand, they will earn a “miss.” In most cases, three misses equal game over. Manage to get 300 points without missing, and the player will enter “chance time,” which multiplies the points until a miss happens. Time mode might have people thinking of time trails, but it is actually what would display on a Game & Watch if left idle; it plays a demo of the game while the time is displayed, and if an alarm is enabled, a beep will go off at the appropriate time.

As far as specific gameplay goes, let us analyse every included game for a closer look. First on the list is Oil Panic, which some may recognise from Flat Zone 2 in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Oil Panic tasks the player with catching drops of oil falling from a pipe in the ceiling in an attempt to keep the building – a gas station, – from burning to a crisp. This scenario is conceivable because, at this particular gas station, burners and teapots are constantly turned on directly under oil leaks.

Obviously, these burners could simple never be turned off – life as we know it would cease to exist instantaneously (just trust us here). Of course, the player’s receptacle – bucket in this case – is certainly not bottomless: it will only hold three drops of oil, and any more will cause an overspill. To empty the bucket, the player must toss the oil out the top-floor window for their co-worker to catch and dispose of it. Unfortunately, there are two windows, and the co-worker constantly shifts from one to the other, which means there is always the chance of dumping oil on the wrong side – right onto the head of a customer, too. The game’s mechanics are well balanced, and it is a joy to play – certainly a welcome addition to the package.

Next up is Donkey Kong – the best of the bunch. Much like the arcade game, an average fellow must take on the job of saving a damsel in distress by climbing up girders at a construction site to take on the primate at the top. After jumping barrels being thrown at him (for points), the player may flick a switch that puts a swinging crane hook in motion, which the player can grab on to so that they can try to remove one of the cables suspending the girder that Kong is on. By removing all four, the player will topple the ape from the top of his structure – awarding points en mass. Miss while leaping for the hook, however, and the player will crash to the bottom – resulting in a miss. Likewise, getting struck by a barrel will also add to the miss counter. The game is essentially a very simple platformer that is nearly as fun as its arcade counterpart.

Last on the list is Green House; of all of the games, this is probably the one that requires the most constant attention. The player is a horticulturist who must spray insecticide on hungry insects that wish to gobble the flowers. On the top screen, worms climb across a strand of ivy to get to one of two flowers on either side of the screen. A single blast of insecticide will take care of the worm for a measly point, but more strategic players should opt for the multi-point option of waiting ‘till just before the worm takes a bite out of the flower.

On the bottom screen, where the spiders dwell, the scenario is mostly the same; they slowly creep down a web to consume plants flanking the screen. The difference lies in the fact that, unless a spider is right next to the plant or its home, a single blast will not kill it – blasts on the web’s midsection will just push the spider closer to its home. Despite the simultaneous bug hunting, this is actually the easiest, and dullest, of the bunch. It’s not bad, just average.

The graphics are obviously nothing to write home about, but that’s the point; this is meant to invoke the feeling of nostalgia. The inlayed levels of the original Game & Watches are replicated colourfully and accurately, the frame-by-frame animations are matched perfectly – a sublime enhanced trip down memory lane, albeit with uninspiring menus. The accompanying presentation component, sound, is incredibly primitive yet quintessential Game and Watch; the beeps and screeches of the originals are ever-present. The alarm is a marked improvement from the originals – no more barely perceptible beeps that fail to wake you up! Once activated in time mode, the alarm will be primed and ready to blast out a wakeup call with its superior DS speakers.


Needless to say, we think that Game & Watch Collection is a simple yet fun game that pays true homage to three classics. However, there is one major criticism: the price. You’ll be set back points from $800 of merchandise for these three fun and thoroughly enjoyable games, but you could easily find them elsewhere for a fraction of the cost – the collection needed to be more substantial. Still, with saved high scores, a backlight, a better alarm, and not much else to purchase right now, one could certainly do worse than to buy Game & Watch Collection. But, considering the other exclusive games Japan has seen, it might be worthwhile to keep your coins in the bank until a potentially better game comes around.

Ultimately, Game & Watch Collection has three dual screen games faithfully recreated, but the high pricetag is a massive deterrent.

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User Comments (58)



Supermarioman said:

It is a pretty fun game and I just barely managed to buy the dang thing, but I would give it a 7. Just because it has pretty good arcade style gameplay and is a pretty good as a collectors item, too bad it is the most expensive Nintendo game to get new ever.



timp29 said:

When I moved house recently, I found two game and watch games from my childhood. The traditional donkey kong, but I also found a snoopy one where he has to bash musical notes with a mallet. I wonder if these are worth anything.



Drake said:

I wish Nintendo of Europe would throw this in the Stars Catalogue, every region but Europe has it!



jones2929 said:

I am close to 800 points, so I'll be ordering this pretty soon. However, I think that these three games would be great downloadable DSiWare. I'd buy DK itself for 500 points...



Bahamut_ZERO said:

You have to realize, its not $800, its free. You register products you already bought for different reasons, and Im basically just getting some freebies off games I already own. I would be spending $800 on games anyway (sad when you think about it), so this is a bonus.

If it was a Mother Collection which people would buy and register Nintendo products just to get the game, thats one thing, but as a free extra, its the best of the bunch out right now.



siavm said:

I just got mine last week. I will play it when I get back from college. It may be $800 to get, but that was on games that I wanted to play. So I see this game as what it is a thank you from Nintendo for buying their products over the years.



maka said:

Why won't Nintendo release a true DS sequel to the G&W Gallery games for the GB and GBA? I've been waiting for it since the release of the DS... Each of those had tons of games in classic and modernized versions, but playing the dual screen games on the GBA was a pain.... That wouldn't be a problem with the DS... C'mon!!!!



thewiirocks said:

It's only $800 if you paid full price for all your games. I don't know about anyone else, but I like to keep an eye out for deals.



Cheezy said:

I got this on ebay from Japan about a year ago, if only I knew it would ever come out in America (d'oh) but I really like it, the dual screen games in game and watch collextion aren't very good, were these are pretty much emulated perfectly. I give it an 8.



Objection said:

I have almost 600 points. What are the other Club Nintendo games that have been offered in other regions? Should I hold out for one of them? I was planning on getting one of the stylish "hold your DS games and styluses" cases.



Clayfrd said:

@Objection_Blaster - Tingle's Balloon Fight and Exclamation Warriors have both seen release on Club Nintendo in Japan. I can't say that I know if either one is better, but it certainly foreshadows the release of more exclusive games here.



TheBaconator said:

I think this game is good or great depending on how you look at it.
Some are like it is good because it's free.
Others say it's ok only because of the $800 pricetag



Objection said:

I kinda hope we get Exclamation Warriors...but they need to announce new items soon...
If you consider that you can get this game for around $30-$40 on ebay, what score would it receive then?



dagreenone said:

3 Game & Watch games?? C'mon, a DS cart can easily hold all 59. Easily. Rating this a 6/10 is extremely generous.

Its going to be great when Nintendo actually puts something really good up for 800 coins, and people won't be able to afford it because they spent their coins on this.



Kawaiipikachu said:

Well I pass on this one as I prefer the Hanafuda deck that isnot in the Australian Stars Catalog plus I don't have enough stars from Wii Fit Brawl & GHWT songs to get anything.



Big_A2 said:

Well, you can't really critisice the price, since you're basicly getting it for free.



Starwolf_UK said:

Well, you can't really critisice the price, since you're basicly getting it for free.
It isn't so much the price but the effort you go to and the fruits of said effort. Why only 3 games? At that rate it'll be like 20 volumes until you have all the Game & Watch titles.

All I can think is Nintendo are trying to avoid making this too desirable or too highly in demand. While Zelda Collectors Edition is a bit of a pain to get ahold of it felt hardly like an extremely limited release.

I wish Nintendo of Europe would throw this in the Stars Catalogue, every region but Europe has it!
I wish NOE would throw something worthwhile on the Stars Catalogue full stop. Last Friday the UK got Mario vs. Donkey Kong...for GBA and at a mere 5000 stars (1000 coins if we assume 1 coin=5 stars)...



J_K said:

I think the review is a little harsh, but a 7 or even 8 (maybe) would have been more fair. You need to look at it in the perspective of how it would capture the real original G&W units and then the little perks put in the review covered like the better alarm feature and all that.

The review does need a correction for starters or at least better information when it comes to the conclusion and opening part. For starter's it's not $800, but 800coins, you're not paying $800USD for it. Furthermore, it should be noted your comment on holding out for a better DS cart or item to come along is a bit misinformed. I'm not sure if you're aware but Nintendo has a yearly cycle on points. At the end of June they will purge your points back down to zero for status, so anything that goes unclaimed goes bye-bye. They do this so they can keep a yearly ticker for those to qualify into the gold and platinum awards plans. Beyond that you get 2 years to use the points once you cash em in and then they're erased as well. Given you get some decent decks of cards, DS card/stylus holders, a useless Wii controller holder, and then this DS game it actually is probably the best value even if the games on it are thin. I used to own 2 of the 3 inside (DK and Oil Panic) and they're 100% faithful.



vherub said:

Agreed with JK, it's the only game available to spend points on. Club nintendo needs to offer a better range of items- and cycle more stuff in. I will probably end up getting this, because nothing else is good, and my hopes of seeing a new item pop up have dwindled.



Starwolf_UK said:

I'm not sure if you're aware but Nintendo has a yearly cycle on points. At the end of June they will purge your points back down to zero, so anything that goes unclaimed goes bye-bye.
Actually its two years. Though its two Club Nintendo years with the points expiring at the end of the Club Nintendo year. They explain it better on thier website...the yearly thing is points towards the Platinum mebership status (so if you get enough for two membersihps in one year it won't carry over to next year...).



Cheezy said:

There's also a G&W Collection 2, but it kinda sucks because there are only Parachute and Octopus, two singlescreen games, and Parachute x Octopus, a mix of the two.



J_K said:

Yup good catch starwolf. I remembered that after I hit the button and didn't think there was an edit feature here to fix that from work as they block things and not everything shows up.

And yah G&W Collection 2 is awful. You get just 2 games, not even their better stuff, and then as a third they halfassed them into one game. I won't pick that up if it cycles here. I have 800pts still in the shop and I'm confused why I don't have their new 1600pts elite status. I'd be sold on the hanafuda cards, but I couldn't figure out how to play it on my own with Clubhouse Games (instructions sucked), and I have a DSi so the DS holder is useless, and I have a 6game+stylus carrier already(white Yoshi) which leaves nothing left I want so I'm going to sit on them. I think the wii controller holder is a waste of points as it sits just fine on my side table with the lamp with the other remotes and ps3 pad.



Clayfrd said:

@J.K.- The $800 bit was simply a conversion factor. If a Wii game costs $50 and awards you 50 coins, then the two values are in a 1/1 ratio, making a coin worth approximately $1. You could go into petty details about feedback coins, et cetera, but the point was to emphasize that the game will set you back quite a bit if you plan to invest in that many Nintendo products.

Furthermore, in regards to the comment about coins eventually being void... is there any reason why you couldn't just hold on to your product reg codes until you need them? Absolutely not. The oldest Wii codes don't expire until Nov. 19, 2010 (I believe), so if you registered them the day before, you'd still have another two years to hold out. If Nintendo still doesn't release something else by then, I will withdraw my review, go into hiding, and never be heard from again.*

*Probably not.



StarDust4Ever said:

I'm gonna spend my 800 points (when I'm done registering all my games) on the Hanafuda Cards set

I have Donkey Kong from when I was a kid; that one and Super Mario Brothers were my favorites

The game & watch galleries can be had on ebay buy-it-now for less than the price of one retail Wii game. Of course, ebay takes all the fun out of claiming your reward directly from Club Nintendo.



Ricardo91 said:

I guess then I'll save my Nintendo coins for when Tingle's Balloon Fight sees a US release, if ever. If not, I'll invest in the Hanafuda cards.




Clayfrd said:

@Ricardo91 - I became a member in 2007 (I started reading VCR in 2006), but I started reviewing the other day. You can expect another review soon. Probably an NES game.



metakirbyknight said:

You people must remember those $800 of your money isn't paying for this, it's paying for the Wii games, this is a bonus. This is like when you go to the store you buy a bunch of stuff and they give you a crappy item they can't sell, is it so bad? If you buy your games for coins, we can get you help.



Xkhaoz said:

I got it, and I have to say, it's very fun. But I do agree that it's a bit overpriced.



suburban_sensei said:

I was thinking about getting this on Club Nintendo, but now I am not so sure...but to be honest, not much else on Club Nintendo. If I get it, I wonder if I should leave it shrinkwrapped and sell it, or actually play it...hmm.



Deviant_Mugen said:

I got this and it is indeed very fun, plus I already had more than enough coins from registering all my products and taking the surveys to get me Platinum status for 2009-2010 as well.

I'd give it an 8 myself, great review, though...



motang said:

I just got might yesterday, going to open it up and see what Game & Watch was all about.



Simon_Deku said:

I really want this game. It is #1 on my most wanted video games list. Too bad it is worth like $800 If you get it off of club nintendo. It does look fun though...



pokemonzrpg said:

I got this one from Nintendo a while back. I might get the sequel just for collection purposes.



FloatzelPwns said:

Well considering there is nothing in the aus club nintendo outside of the zelda poster set ill probably get this or its sequel



Sam_Loser2 said:

However unlikely it is (and believe me, it's unlikely) I would love to see a DS or 3DS game and watch gallery with ever Game & Watch game on it. Though I know they'd probably never do it, most of the games have already been released (multiple times) on the GB & GBA. I've had little hope for another entry at all, so why not end the series with a bang? It's bound to sell for such a collection of games on one cart. .

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