Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Handheld video games console - Game & Watch Wide Screen

Game & Watch Wide Screen

  • Object:

    Handheld video games console

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (manufactured)

  • Date:

    28/04/1982 (released)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Nintendo (manufacturers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Injection-moulded ABS; other plastics and metals; printed paper

  • Museum number:

    B.613:1 to 5-2016

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

'Game & Watch' consoles were a long-running series of games produced by Nintendo between 1980 and 1991. The original idea supposedly came from one of Nintendo's designers observation of a commuter fiddling with a pocket calculator whilst on a train. The 'Wide Screen' version was the console's second iteration, 'Snoopy Tennis' was the last game released for this format. In this game, the player takes control of the 'Peanuts' character Snoopy (a fictional beagle) in a chaotic game of tennis against Charlie Brown and Lucy.

Physical description

Handheld video games console, with instructions and box. The console is made predominantly from lilac ABS plastic, with a large, central LCD screen on its front. Set into the front, around the screen and the controls, is a shiny white-gold plastic panel. The screen is printed with an image of a tree with a bird's nest and a dog's kennel below it. To its left is an image of the cartoon dog Snoopy, and a large, round red button marked 'HIT'. To the screen's right are six buttons, arranged vertically, the topmost three are pill-shaped and grey, the lower ones are round and red. They are marked (from top to bottom): 'GAME A', 'GAME B', 'TIME', 'UP' and 'DOWN'. Alongside the topmost three are two tiny buttons: 'ALARM' and 'ACL' (time). On the back of the console is a small folding metal wire stand. On the right is a battery compartment.

With the console is an instruction manual of printed paper, it gives information about the console's features and how to play the game. There is also a pink paper warning leaflet, advising users not to tamper with the console. The printed card box shows an artist's image of the game being played.

Place of Origin

Japan (manufactured)

Date

28/04/1982 (released)

Artist/maker

Nintendo (manufacturers)

Materials and Techniques

Injection-moulded ABS; other plastics and metals; printed paper

Dimensions

Height: 6.7 cm, Width: 11.1 cm, Depth: 1.4 cm

Historical context note

Nintendo is among the world’s largest video games companies, originally founded in 1889 in Kyoto, Japan, as a manufacturer of hanafuda playing cards. Nintendo entered the electronic toy industry in 1966, producing a series of early light gun games, but not to great success. In 1974, they were able to secure the contract to distribute the Magnavox Odyssey home video games console in Japan, which marked their first entry into this market. Nintendo began to produce arcade games from 1975, although the company’s fortune was truly made in 1981 with the release of the Donkey Kong in 1981, the title character being designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, who also designed Nintendo’s signature character Mario (an early version of whom appeared in Donkey Kong as ‘Jumpman’).

The previous year, 1980, had seen the release of Nintendo’s first Game & Watch handheld console. The idea of simple handheld game supposedly sprung from Nintendo’s Gunpei Yokoi’s observation of a commuter fiddling with an LCD calculator whilst on a train. The Game & Watch series spanned several versions throughout the 1980s, until superseded in 1989 by the Game Boy. Many titles were released across the different versions, although the games were not interchangeable between them: each had a single, inbuilt game.

Descriptive line

Handheld video game, 'Game & Watch Wide Screen', with inbuilt 'Snoopy Tennis' game, Nintendo, Japan, 1982

Materials

ABS; Paper

Techniques

Injection moulding; Printing

Subjects depicted

Tennis

Categories

Digital play; Character merchandise; Product design

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Museum of Childhood

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.