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From 1980 to 1991, millions of gamers wasted even more millions of hours playing Nintendo's thumb-blisteringly addictive Game & Watch series. Spanning 60 titles, these unique, portable games were the brainchild of the late, great Gunpei Yokoi, who was reportedly influenced by the sight of a fellow Bullet Train commuter wearily pressing buttons on an LCD calculator to kill time. The Game & Watch would ultimately become an '80s icon, and one that is now cherished by a wide community of dedicated collectors.

Each model came with a game built in, a clock and an alarm, and most featured a 'GAME A' and 'GAME B' button, with Game B typically a faster, more difficult version of Game A. While the premise of each game was undeniably simple, the LCD screen technology and the use of cheap, long-lasting "button cell" batteries was groundbreaking at the time, and played a major role in making Game & Watch handhelds the first high quality portable electronic games.

The inclusion of a cross-shaped directional button, known as a "D-pad" (Yokoi deemed a joystick to be too clumsy for a handheld gaming device), would eventually be adopted by every notable console that has appeared since.

Click on Gunpei Yokoi to join us on a whirlwind (and sort of chronological) tour of the Game & Watch phenomenon!


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