Nintendo’s Zelda Game & Watch packs three classics on a tiny screen

Zelda, on a little Game & Watch: arrives this fall.

Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET

It’s the 35th anniversary of Zelda. And of course, there’s a Zelda edition Game & Watch coming.

Nintendo announced the second in its rebooted series of novelty Game & Watch retro handhelds at this year’s E3 version of Nintendo Direct: a Zelda-infused version coming Nov. 12. It looks very much like the Mario Game & Watch released last year, but significantly better: There are three Zelda games on this one (the original Zelda, Zelda II, and Link’s Awakening, plus a bonus original Game & Watch game called Vermin). Last year’s Super Mario Game & Watch just had the original Super Mario Bros. and Mario: The Lost Levels along with a Game & Watch game called Ball.


Zelda clock!


Like the previous Mario Game & Watch, there is a watch mode with Zelda-themed animations, which cycles graphics and effects. The Zelda game’s four-in-one combo gives this model a little more value than the Mario one last year, and having the Game Boy version of Link’s Awakening, available in a remastered iteration on the Switch, feels particularly perfect. What remains less clear is how save states will work: Game & Watch Super Mario could pause and save a game in progress, but Zelda games are a lot longer and save state-intensive. The Game & Watch charges via USB-C and should have decent battery life. I was impressed by the Mario version’s battery, as well as its display that was a lot crisper and more colorful than I expected.

Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda (the official name) is already available for preorder for $50 at Best Buy. 

The design looks as collectible-ready as last year’s Mario version, which is still readily available. With Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 not arriving until 2022, this will have to fill that Hyrule hole in your heart till then.

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