Monday, October 3, 2011

Game & Watch: Playable LCD Games

In the days before the Game Boy, handheld gaming was a much different affair. Sure, there had been handheld systems that featured interchangeable games before the Game Boy, (Anyone remember the Microvision? The Solarpower? Didn't think so.) but by and large if you wanted a little gaming on the go you picked up one of these babies....
Back in the 80's, these little single game LCD units were all the rage. In fact, years before the Game Boy first saw the light of day, Gunpei Yokoi (the man behind the Game Boy) designed a number of very successful LCD games for Nintendo under their Game & Watch line. One can still see the influence of their 'Multi Screen' design in the Nintendo DS and 3DS systems.

I recently came across a couple of different sites that allow you to play these classic games through your browser.

The first site is over at (click the image above to go straight to the games). The best of these are the games from the actual Game & Watch line. Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., Fire, and Octopus are all solid and worth a try. There a couple of games here that were clearly never available in handheld form, but are entertaining nonetheless. Chainsaw Maniac (a Resident Evil 4 tie-in) and God Of War (a re-skinned whack-a-mole style game) are also worth a look.

The next site is the very lovely Again, click the image above for the link. Well designed, and interestingly curated, this site offers several Game & Watch titles (including the rare Legend Of Zelda) as well as a few more bizarre Japanese and Russian games. I haven't had a chance to play them all, but Thief In Garden and Search Light (two different games in which you play as a criminal attempting to evade the police) and Coffee Shop (where you play a waitress serving customers) stood out to me.

Sadly, I wasn't able to find very many playable LCD games made by Tiger Electronics. Those who remember know that Tiger deserves just as much credit (if not more) as Nintendo for their contributions to the LCD gaming craze of the 80's and 90's. Tiger made loads of games that featured TV and movie tie-ins, and they even made several LCD versions of popular arcade and NES titles as well. Pica-pic features a playable version of The Terminator but, much to my surprise, I just couldn't seem to find anything else made by them.

Finally, take a look at a couple of parody pages courtesy of the folks at Handheld Remakes and Something Awful. Here they imagine what many iconic films and TV shows might look like as LCD handhelds.

'You insulted him a little.'

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