Those wonderful Game & Watch handheld games of yore from Nintendo are serious collector’s items these days, with a complete, boxed collection running up an approximate £35K to gather in full.
These dedicated LCD beauties are the games that inspired not only the DS, but the whole realm of handheld gaming, and as beautifully as they’d fit on the iPhone, Nintendo is very unlikely to ever allow their existence. Which is why it’s such a surprise to find five clones of Game & Watch games currently lighting up the App Store.
GW Fire, GW Parachute, GW Chef and GW Octopus are currently on sale for Apple’s handheld system – each one beautifully replicating their inspirational retro grandfather.
Developer Mobile 1UP is even giving away GW Helmet for free, which is a beautiful New Year’s gift for the retro starved iPhoner.
It’s actually something of a surprise that they even made it through Apple’s strict approval system, but in all likelihood they’re not going to be around for very long. Nintendo still makes full and profitable use of the Game & Watch properties, and although the simplicity and essential ambiguity of the games could prove to be a grey area when it comes to labelling them as direct rip-offs, Nintendo’s lawyers are broad of shoulder, keen of eye and void of heart.
For what it's worth, we'd like to salute Mobile 1UP for this bold retro move, as Pocket Gamer naturally owes much of its existence to the lineage forged by Game & Watch (all hail Gunpei). Here’s a link to the official (well, official in so much as it’s in no way associated with Nintendo, but does contain links to the various games on the App Store) website to get you to the games on time. Grab ‘em while you can – we did. For journalistic purposes, obviously.