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Gunpei Yokoi's Withered Technology: Virtual Boy, Game & Watch, Wonderswan, etc. Let's laterally think!

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
I have definitely played that DK Jr. one some time in my youth because I recognize all those LCD sprite poses, but I don't think I personally owned it.

I *did* definitely own the Mario one with the maze levels, and it's *possible* it may still be in a box somewhere with stuff I cleaned out of the house I grew up in a few years back, but I'm not sure. I'll definitely keep an eye out next time I'm sorting through that stuff.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I have definitely played that DK Jr. one some time in my youth because I recognize all those LCD sprite poses, but I don't think I personally owned it.

It's one of the better Game & Watches, too, in my opinion - I was really happy to get one in such good shape, because I probably will be playing it a lot.

I *did* definitely own the Mario one with the maze levels, and it's *possible* it may still be in a box somewhere with stuff I cleaned out of the house I grew up in a few years back, but I'm not sure. I'll definitely keep an eye out next time I'm sorting through that stuff.

This is one of the ones I'm still looking for, and if you want to part ways with it... let me know lol.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Woof, so installing reflectors/polarizers is harder than I thought, though the polarizer thing is excacerbated by doing it yourself from a sheet in which you cut out the polarizer at the correct orientation. That's actually pretty difficult!

I did manage to get Helmet done up properly:



But, I struck out on both Mickey Mouse and, sadly, Pinball's upper screen (lower screen polarizer replacement worked wonders). I don't know what's going on with either - I'm going to have to research both - but I can only BARELY see Mickey Mouse, and there's no change, really, except maybe slightly lighter, to Pinball's upper screen.

This is actually pretty frustrating! I was kind of banking on doing some repairs of these things to spruce them up, but maybe they're not as easily repairable as I thought. I'm hoping I just have bad polarizer cutting skills, or something. In any case, I've kept all the original parts (including for Helmet, even though I don't need to) just in case.

Can't wait for my professionally cut polarizer to get here, though that took a few weeks last time so it might be a while. I'm giving up for this weekend, so I'll have to limit myself to Donkey Kong Jr, Squish, Green House, and Helmet for playing for now.

Dangit.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Update! The multiscreens have tons of polarization going on. Turns out the silver reflective bit also has a polarizer on it, so I have to use way more of my single polarizer sheet, two cutouts for each screen. Plus the sheet has to be rotated to polarize correctly, so I burned through the only sheet I had on hand :/ I wonder if a store sells them cheaply somewhere, like at Meijer or Walmart or something. Maybe a craft store?

It's good news, though, as I figured out what's wrong with Pinball! And fixed the bottom screen on my Donkey Kong! So, just need more polarization film and I should be good.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I wasn't sure if I liked Donkey Kong 3 at first, and it's still not my favorite, but I got into a rhythm on my most recent game and got 1500+ points, by far the highest score I've gotten on any Game & Watch thus far. There's a pattern that the CPU opponent struggles to deal with, that I wonder how well would work against a human opponent - spray once in the middle, then once on either the top of bottom, then spray again in the middle. Repeat so long as you don't have bees threatening you right in your face, and you'll score points and occasionally DK will get stung. You want to alternate that second shot often, though, because of how the bees are moving when you spray - it's not entirely random, there's a pattern to it, and I found the rhythm to hit it most of the time.

Donkey Kong 3 is on Game & Watch Collection Advance, by the way, if you want to try it out and don't want to spend $100+ on original hardware lol. It's pretty neat! I prefer Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. to it, though.
 

Tegan

dirtbag lesbian
(She/Her)
I may have looked into how much it would cost to buy an Ultra Hand on eBay.

(More that you'd like but less than you'd expect!)
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I may have looked into how much it would cost to buy an Ultra Hand on eBay.

(More that you'd like but less than you'd expect!)
I must be searching using the wrong terms, as I'm not seeing any on eBay (not that I really want one, as I have no use for it, unlike all these Game & Watches)... so how much we talkin'?
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Maaan, we had DK Jr. as a kid and those pics bring back memories.

It's a great game, too! I think it's my favorite of the ones I've played so far (though that may change when I can properly see Donkey Kong II and the rest lol)
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
I think Fire and Super Mario Bros. are my nominations for best G&W games. Fire feels like the purest example of simplistic LCD games and Super Mario Bros. is the closest they get to a “real” game. I am so sad we’ve never gotten an official digital release of SMB. It deserves to be preserved.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
I vote Mario Bros. The dual screen isn't a gimmick; you have to keep a close eye on both or you'll fail fast.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Yeah, I'd like to play the Game & Watch Super Mario Bros, but I don't have one yet - it's roughly $150 loose (in the Wide Screen version - the Crystal and Disk-kun contest prize ones are easily triple and 7x that price, respectively), and I'm... not trying to spend that much on a single G&W lol.

I don't have Mario Bros. either! I'll probably get that one soonish, as copies are going for just under $100, and I bet I could get one a little cheaper...
 
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Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Success!








These are really hard to photograph, and look better in person fwiw. But, having gotten another few sheets of polarizer, I was able to fix all these up! Pinball is still a little faint, but it looks better in person than it does in this photo. Green House's bottom screen has two spider spots that are a little faint that a new polarizer doesn't fix, so I suppose that's LCD damage or something. That's ominous! I must take care of these as much as I can.

I'm going to go eat some dinner, then finally sit down and play some Donkey Kong II (which was so faint before it was impossible to play). Hooray!
 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
Fire feels like the purest example of simplistic LCD games
Oh yes, this is one of my favorite Game & Watch games. Simple but addictive gameplay that's a solid foundation for many other good LCD games.
I vote Mario Bros. The dual screen isn't a gimmick; you have to keep a close eye on both or you'll fail fast.
This is also one of my favorite Game & Watch games! "Here's a factory, have the Bros. alternate between moving things up a level." It starts off easy and quickly becomes chaotic.

Another fave of mine is Helmet. It's as simple as "Go door" but junk is raining from the sky and the door occasionally closes for a bit.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
They're all good! ...except Pinball. I hate to say it, but Pinball, despite having a gorgeous shell and a cute little song that plays when you insert the batteries, is just... hitting a ball around, randomly. It's like playing a video Pinball game with a low framerate. It doesn't work. I didn't expect it to be great, but I expected a little better, to be honest.

Donkey Kong II, however, is just as good as the first Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. - it's pretty fun! In fact, each game feels like a new Donkey Kong arcade level... sorta. They're slower paced than the arcade, obviously. But, they're all fun games.

Donkey Kong Hockey supposedly comes tomorrow, and I have no idea if it will be good. DK has a pretty good hit rate so far in the Game & Watch line, though, so I have high hopes.

I also really like Helmet, and was happy to get mine in good working order. I kind of suck at it, though - timing exactly when to move is difficult sometimes. Still, the door is a brilliant twist on the game - it opening and closing randomly really changes your options in the middle of the chaos.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
You know what sucks? Putting the lens graphics on the BACK OF THE LENS:



So, I had to use the aftermarket FF1 lens, which is fine, but it's not what I wanted because now I have two identical Wonderswans lol. I also don't have the screen lined up perfectly, possibly because of the aftermarket shell or something? I have it shoved down as far as I can without cutting, but I think I might have to open it back up and cut the shell.

Aftermarket shell feels fine, though, as do the buttons, so that's good.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Donkey Kong Hockey is pretty fun! Also Donkey Kong kicked my ass in my second game after I whooped him in the first. I just couldn't catch the puck!



Also, weirdly, the ref will eventually stay in the game and mess with the puck. I said out loud "what is the fucking ref doing?" at one point and followed up with "fucking ref!" which I realized is the only time I think I've said that about a video game, so that's kind of novel. In any case... This is a cool game. I'd like to play it two player! I can't imagine my wife will care and/or like it.
 
My biggest association with Nintendo and etched LCDs is the Super Mario World wrist watch game, though it was actually made by Nelsonic. It's hard to see in this picture, but in the upper left corner, it even has a headphone jack! And it came with earbuds! Just so you could hear its bog-basic beeps more clearly! Or prevent other people from hearing them, but I think you can just set the game to mute instead.

At the time, I thought it was so funny they'd make it easier to hear the crudest video game audio that I recorded a radio play on tape about a kid who would vomit every time he heard this watch play its simple rendition of the Super Mario World title screen jingle, and his abusive parent who repeatedly tormented him with its sound.

I was kind of a mean jerk in the early 90s, albeit a somewhat creative one.

 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I've been eyeing those old watches, and that close up picture of that cool Mario World art has me tempted. Are they fun to play? Nintendo not having designed them probably means they're Tiger-level of quality (read: bad), so I haven't bit... yet.

And yeah, the biggest design flaw of all the Game & Watches is a lack of a mute button. When you're playing them, they constantly beep and chirp! I've had to leave the room to play them sometimes so as to not annoy my wife lol
 
As implied by the background art, you go through about four different areas, each with a unique play mechanic, although it's all very simple and short. It's pretty comparable to the Tiger games, though I don't recall Nintendo's own Game & Watch games being any better.

Edit: A couple years earlier they did a Zelda one, which I also got. Obviously it only recreated the tiniest sliver of the game, but I think I was intrigued by the sheer audacity of even attempting to do this.


 
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Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I'm having a blast with these Nintendo Game & Watches - though I haven't played a Tiger handheld probably since the 90s. I was very unimpressed with them as a kid, though, I remember that. Who knows, maybe I'd have hated Game & Watches, too. If I can pick one of those up for cheap, I might - the art is great on it, at the very least.
 

ThornGhost

lofi posts to relax/study to
(he/him)
@Vega I think you had the two I didn't have. I had Super Mario Brothers and Super Mario Brothers 3. Mario 3 also featured the headphone jack, which I'm pretty sure I used as a child to discretely play that bad boy through MANY church services. I think my parents were just happy I was sitting still.

I always thought the Zelda watch had the potential to be the most game accurate version if it used the grid system in a smart way. While the Mario watches sorely missed the kinetic gameplay of a Mario game, Zelda 1 was much more about positioning than the movement to get to that position. I'm not saying they did that with the watch, but if I squint I can just about see that world.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
I'm having a blast with these Nintendo Game & Watches - though I haven't played a Tiger handheld probably since the 90s. I was very unimpressed with them as a kid, though, I remember that. Who knows, maybe I'd have hated Game & Watches, too. If I can pick one of those up for cheap, I might - the art is great on it, at the very least.
The Tiger electronics were trying to emulate console games, as opposed to G&W, which mostly tried to emulate single-screen arcade games. The latter works a lot better with the limited LCD visuals. G&W also did a better job of building and releasing tension, and a great job getting you into a zen mode as you got good of the game.

There are some Tiger game recreations on the Internet, though I’m at work so I can’t glance at them atm.
 

muteKi

Women want fish fear meme
I know a bunch of them are supported in MAME these days as well, though I haven't spent much time messing with them.
 

John

(he/him)
I played the SMB1 version in school. My parents wouldn't get me a toy I'd covertly play in school, but one of the other kids had one. It was fun, but I think a Donkey Kong version would've been a better fit for the format. I never saw one of those in the wild though.

 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Super Mario Bros. is the closest they get to a “real” game. I am so sad we’ve never gotten an official digital release of SMB. It deserves to be preserved.
This is no joke - I agree completely. Just got a few more games today, including this one:



Bomb Sweeper is faint and barely playable, and probably needs new screens, unfortunately. Explains why I got it so cheaply. Mario's Cement Factory is fun, but I'd played it on the little keychain version already (although this one is in immaculate shape).

As for Super Mario Bros... It's surprisingly deep. I've only made it to level 2-8 so far - and while the levels kind of loop, they throw variations at you. You don't see a Bullet Bill until you get to World 2, and even before that they manage to work in "underwater" levels, rotating "fire" blocks (represented by rotating platforms), and a warp maze. In some levels, you can even find hidden 1UP mushrooms and invincibility stars to prevent damage from the Bullet Bills. You get a 1UP when you clear a world and when you get 1,000 points in addition to the hidden mushrooms. According to the booklet that I got with it (in great condition also), there are 8 worlds. It's a long game, too, as I just sat and played it for like a half hour to get that far! Beating it is going to be quite the feat. Thankfully, it happens to be pretty fun, so I'll keep at it.

Charmingly, when you start the game it plays the first few notes of the 1-1 SMB1 theme, it plays the level complete theme when you complete a level, and when you run out of lives, it plays the Game Over jingle, all from SMB1. It's very charming!
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
Amazing! I’m glad you like it. I played it a ton as a kid. If I remember right, after beating world 8 you start over but with extra Bullet Bills.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I played like, two hours of it today total lol. Farthest I got was into world 3. It's pretty tough! It is really good, though. It totally should have been on the 35th Anniversary Game & Watch release.
 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
I played like, two hours of it today total lol. Farthest I got was into world 3. It's pretty tough! It is really good, though. It totally should have been on the 35th Anniversary Game & Watch release.
Given all the really good Mario Game & Watch games there are I am disappointed that the only actual G&W game on that 35th Anniversary model is Ball. Like, I know it was the first one, but acknowledgement of a few bits of Mario's LCD history would've been far more welcome.
 
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