Game & Watch Gallery

Game & Watch Gallery
Format: Nintendo 3DS eShop Virtual Console / Game Boy
Price: £2.70
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle
Release Date: 1997 / 21st July 2011 (vc)

Four games in one! Back when I was eight I thought this was such a great deal. Little did I know the four games were little high scoring challenges dug up from the past and given a new lick of paint. I was expecting four games the length of Super Mario Land 2! But at least I learnt that even games from the past are still worth playing though sometimes you must give them a nudge to get with the times. 

Game & Watch Gallery consists of four games from the Game & Watch devices. A Game & Watch was a portable device from Nintendo before the Game Boy and each unit contained one game. These were rather simple with basic controls and visuals, but people seemed to love them and now some of the devices are collector’s items! They were before my time so this Game Boy game was my first experience with Mr. Game & Watch.

On one cart, or download thanks to the 3DS virtual console, there are four games to pick from providing a classic and modern version. The games are Manhole, Fire, Octopus and Oil Panic. Classic version gives a good indication on what they would play and look like on the Game & Watch, while the modern version sticks Mario characters into the mix and makes the games a little more… modern. Like adding a few new moves or making them not so brutally hard. There is also a gallery to visit to look up other Game & Watch classics, some which ended up in sequels to this collection.

The four games are incredibly simple. Manhole has you moving platforms to stop pedestrians from falling to their deaths, the modern version making it easier with four plates you keep fixing rather than one plate for all. Fire features two firemen (or Mario and Luigi in the modern version) carrying a trampoline and you must guide falling fire victims to the fire engine by bouncing them across. Octopus is a game of greed, you dive deep into the sea and steal treasure from an Octopus while avoiding its tentacles. The modern version adds weight to the treasure, so you need to think carefully on how much you can get away with before surfacing. Oil Panic is the final game and the objective is to collect dripping oil with a canister and deposit it into a barrel a man carries or a Yoshi. All simple, all brilliant fun with the catchy music, chunky visuals and easy to learn, hard to master gameplay. That’s the modern versions by the way.

The classic versions are hell. The simple rules apply, but each start at a painfully sluggish pace and by the time they get going, the characters moving around are like a flickering light show. In the old games animation is none existent, instead an image of the character flashes across the screen, much like the old LED devices, but when the going gets tough you just can’t tell what’s going on. The modern versions just highlight how dated they are even more, and it makes half the collection more like an interactive gallery. perhaps hence the name, but it makes the overall value feel a little lacking when you only have four decent mini games to keep you going. Some masochists will love the classic though.

Game & Watch Gallery is a curious one. It is a gallery of old dated tat but they’ve done a special exhibition in which they’ve got new talent to remake the tat. But unlike movies, these new editions are better than the old. Worth it just for Octopus. The music on that one will haunt you for years to come. Nearly fifteen years for me it has.



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