A Stroll Down Memory Lane: The Golden Age of Nintendo's Game & Watch Gold Series

Take a trip down memory lane to discover why classic gamers still love Nintendo's Game & Watch Gold Series. From exclusive features to pop culture cameos, it will make you wish you had one growing up!

A Stroll Down Memory Lane: The Golden Age of Nintendo's Game & Watch Gold Series
Game & Watch Gold Series

Unzipping the Time Capsule: Unearthing the Magic of Handheld Gaming

Hey there, fellow gamers! Have you ever heard of Nintendo's Game & Watch Gold? If not, let me take you on a trip down memory lane and introduce you to this iconic handheld console from the 1980s.

If we're talking about video games, we can't ignore the giant that is Nintendo. They have been dominating the gaming market since the 80s, and the Game & Watch Gold was one of their earliest successes.

But before we dive into the details of this console, let's first understand its significance in the world of handheld gaming. Back in the day, playing video games on a portable device was an absolute luxury. Nintendo changed that with their Game & Watch series, which marked their entry into the handheld market.

Manhole 1981

Alright, let’s get on with it and delve into the world of Manhole 1981, one of the star attractions of the Game & Watch Gold series. Now, don't expect any flashy, high-definition graphics, or mind-blowing AR/VR technology. Nope, Manhole is all about simplicity, folks. It's a straightforward game where your sole mission is to prevent the town's pedestrians from falling into—wait for it—manholes. Riveting, right?

Manhole 1981 Game & Watch Gold

The game's display is pretty rudimentary, in line with the technology of the early 80s. You've got your tiny LCD screen and on it, a few static pedestrians who suddenly get the urge to walk about, risking a plunge into open manholes. Your job, as the responsible citizen you are, is to move a manhole cover back and forth to save these pedestrians from a rather unpleasant fall.

The sound effects? Think beeps, boops, and bloops. Nothing fancy but incredibly distinctive, and like an 80s pop song, they get stuck in your head. All these features together made Manhole an instant classic. Its simplicity was its strength, pulling gamers into hours of addictive gameplay.

Manhole 1981 box

Manhole 1981, with its simple concept and addictive gameplay, really embodied the spirit of Nintendo at the time. It was a nod to the idea that video games didn't have to be complex to be fun, a philosophy that Nintendo would continue to embrace in their future consoles. So, as we take a moment to appreciate this nugget of gaming history, let's not forget the countless pedestrians saved from an untimely fall, all thanks to our diligent manhole-covering efforts. Oh, the nostalgia!

Helmet (Headache UK)

After saving countless pedestrians in Manhole, we then put on our hard hats for Helmet. Known as Headache in the UK, this was another popular game in the Game & Watch Gold series. In this game, your task was to get from one side of the screen to the other, while avoiding a barrage of tools falling from the sky.

Helmet 1981from the Game & Watch Gold

Hammers, pliers, and what looked like anvils were all out to get you. Honestly, who even drops an anvil from the sky? It’s a health and safety nightmare! Thankfully, you were equipped with a helmet which gave you some level of protection, but let's face it, would a helmet really save you from a falling anvil? I mean, come on!

The controls were straightforward, just like Manhole: move left, right, or stand still. The fun (and most of the stress) came from timing your moves perfectly to avoid the relentless tool rain. I swear, there's nothing quite like that sense of achievement when you reach the safety of the door on the other side. Pure adrenaline!

Helmet 1981 in box

Helmet was another testament to the simple yet addictive nature of the Game & Watch series. It was as though Nintendo was trying to teach us something about life—perhaps that it's full of falling tools and we just need to keep moving and not get hit. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it and they just wanted us to have a bit of fun. Either way, Helmet certainly left an impression on all of us who played it. I'm pretty sure I still have a repetitive stress injury from all that button smashing. Ah, good times!

From Manholes and Falling Tools to...Lions?

Just when we thought it couldn't get any wilder after the anvil rain in Helmet, Nintendo decided to up the ante with Lion, another game that was part of the Game & Watch Gold series. In this game, your job was to keep a pair of feisty lions in a cage using a couple of charmingly pixelated zookeepers. I know, right? Who needs the Serengeti when you can have all the thrill of lion taming right at your fingertips!

Lion 1981 from Game & Watch Gold

The gameplay was quite simple, as is the tradition with the Game & Watch games. You controlled two zookeepers—one at the top of the screen, one at the bottom—and you had to move the zookeepers back and forth to prevent the lions from escaping. The lions would try to sneak out when you weren't looking, the cheeky little...big cats. If a lion managed to slip past your zookeeper, it was game over.

Lion 1981 in box from Game & Watch Gold

The game was a real test of your reflexes and spatial awareness, because the lions didn't always move in a predictable pattern. Just when you thought you had them cornered, one would make a dash for it. Oh, the stress! Oh, the excitement! I'm sure more than one Game & Watch Gold got flung across the room in a moment of exasperation. (Or was that just me?) But despite the occasional frustration, Lion was just as addictive as the rest of the series. It was another fine example of Nintendo's magic formula: simple gameplay, challenging enough to keep you engaged, but not so hard that you'd want to give up.

So there we go, from saving pedestrians from manholes, to dodging falling tools, to taming lions, Nintendo's Game & Watch Gold series really had it all. And it's this variety and simple charm that made it such a hit back in the 80s, and why it's still remembered fondly today. I mean, who needs ultra-realistic graphics and surround sound when you can have the thrill of virtual lion taming right in your hand? Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go find my old Game & Watch. I have some lions to tame.

The Cost of Nostalgia

Now, let's talk about the price tag on these little beauties. Remember when I said that the Game & Watch Gold could be yours for just $20? That was true... in the 1980s. Those were the days when your most significant expense was probably arcade tokens and bubblegum. But in today's market, you'd be lucky to find a Game & Watch Gold for less than a few hundred dollars. The eBay prices for a well-preserved Game & Watch are enough to make your wallet weep with despair. And if it's still in its original packaging, you might need to take out a small loan or sell a kidney. (I’m joking, of course... or am I?)

But why the massive hike in price? Well, it's simply a matter of supply and demand. The Game & Watch Gold is now a coveted collector's item for retro gaming enthusiasts. As the supply of these games dwindles and the demand for them increases, the price skyrockets. It’s Economics 101! So, if you’re lucky enough to own one of these treasures, hold onto it. The value of these charming handhelds will only continue to rise over time. Who knows, that Game & Watch Gold could end up being your retirement plan! (Again, I’m only half-joking.)

Fast forward to today, and it's a whole different ball game. The Game & Watch Gold series is now considered a retro collectible. And you know what happens with collectibles, right? As supply dwindles and demand goes up, so does the price. A Game & Watch Gold in good condition can fetch anywhere between $100 to $300 on online auction sites. That's right, from pocket money to a pretty penny. So if you've got one of these babies tucked away in your attic, count yourself lucky. You're sitting on a piece of gaming history that's worth quite a bit of cash!

A Walk Down Gaming Memory Lane

As I sit here, reminiscing about the good ol' days, I can't help but get a little misty-eyed. The days of the Game & Watch Gold were simpler times, when the only stress we had was trying to keep lions in a cage or avoiding anvils raining from the sky. The beep and boop of the games, the feel of the console, the thrill of reaching a new high score — ah, those were the days! The Game & Watch Gold wasn't just a game console; it was an iconic piece of our childhood that shaped our understanding and appreciation of the gaming world.

pixelated character

Every pixelated character, every repetitive melody, every rapid click of the button was a ticket to a world far away from homework and chores. And even though we've come a long way since then — with our VR headsets and motion sensors — there's something incredibly special about that small, handheld device that could entertain us for hours on end.

So here's to the Game & Watch Gold, the console that thrilled, frustrated, and delighted us. The console that made us gamers. It's more than just a collector's item; it's a token of a time when the lines between the virtual and real world were just beginning to blur. It's a symbol of our passion, our enthusiasm, and our never-ending love for the world of gaming.

As I sign off, I'm going to dig out my old Game & Watch Gold, blow off the dust, and immerse myself in the simple, pixelated world that holds so much nostalgia. Because sometimes, you just need to press pause on the future, and hit play on the past.