Game & Watch

A couple of years ago I came across an old hand-held video­game I had that had been gather­ing dust for the past 20 years

Made by Nintendo, the video­game company currently known for the Wii and DS (notice the similarities), this game was part of a popular series collect­ively known as Game & Watch.

My discovery of this forgotten treasure sparked what was to become an expensive obses­sion. I soon learned that the original Game & Watch series numbered 60 in total which divided into 11 categories – Silver, Gold, Wide Screen, New Wide Screen, Multi Screen, Table Top, Panorama Screen, Super Colour, Micro vs. System, Crystal Screen and Special – a collector’s dream.

What makes them so compelling to me is that they represent the birth of hand-held videogames. What I particularly love about them is that each game is essent­ially unique, but as a set, they fit together in an elegant design system – both in game and package design. The boxes, which are very rare to find in mint condition, use wonderfully simple graphics, line-work, charming illustrations and colours that are iconic of their time.

The games are well crafted and solidly built. They feel sleek, vibrant with their rich, high quality sheen. The design feels considered, reduced to the essential details but with elements of finish that make them feel valuable: brushed metallic surfaces, high gloss, vibrant plastics, layered LCD screens and a discreet coding system on the box that makes them eminently collectable.

The games themselves are fairly easy to find, but pristine examples with complete packaging are quite rare, as their young owners typically trashed them. Many never made it to the UK, and one limited edition was never made available to the public.

My collection has grown to 46 through furious bidding on eBay, patience, geeky forums and one eye-opening trip to a fellow collector’s home to do a trade. The missing 14 are so rare that they cost a fortune, or are safely stored in other collections. If anyone has one that they’d like to donate, they’d be going to a good home…

Aporva Baxi,
DixonBaxi, London

 

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