Donkey Kong Game & Watch – Yay the D-Pad!

Ninendo’s Donkey Kong Game & Watch was the very first Game & Watch I had when I was a kid. I loved this thing more than life itself, which is why I still kick myself for swapping it for a Mickey & Donald Game & Watch at some point. It must have been some older kid talking me into it…. I can’t remember what actually went down in regards to the deal itself, but I do hope I got something in addition to that Mickey & Donald.

Anyway, being in Japan (the country with arguably the cheapest Game & Watches in the world), I could not think of a reason not to buy one again. And if you’re going to buy Donkey Kong, why not buy Donkey Kong II as well!


Released in 1982, Donkey Kong was revolutionary for a number of reasons, but most notable would have to be the D-Pad. This was the first time the cross style D-Pad (developed by Gunpei Yokoi) had appeared on any gaming device, and subsequently won Nintendo a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award (wiki). As many of you have probably read on my other posts, I am hard on the companies that used the D-Pad on the right side, and Nintendo really did set a standard by having them on the left – Donkey Kong Game & Watch was really a leader.


When it comes to story, Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong II were very different games (that’s if you think them to have a story at all of course). In Donkey Kong you are Mario (at least I think it’s Mario) and you have to save the hot girl with beautiful long legs, creamy complexion, long flowing hair draped over her firm…. (sorry about that, childhood imagination taking over for a second), and in Donkey Kong II you must play as Donkey Kong Jr. to save Donkey Kong.

Both games are extremely playable in their own right, but Donkey Kong II is much more difficult to conquer. Those of you that have played these games on an emulator really don’t understand what these games are about. I have tried many different emulations out there (including the one for the Nintendo DS) and none of them come close to the feel of the real thing. Due to hardware limitations, these machines almost seem to have a life of their own.



I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed picking up Donkey Kong again after a 25 year break. The memories that flooded back when clicking open that second screen, hearing that first beep, and making Donkey Kong fall were incredible! 😀

Bandai Playdia – When animation and games colide

Hmmm, what can I say about the Bandai Playdia…. Bandai has released successful machines over the years ranging from cool Game & Watches (without the ‘watch’ part) to the Wonderswans, but taking a new approach and creating a machine for the family/children was probably not their best idea. ?


A few details:

  • Model – Playdia
  • CPU – 8-bit Toshiba TMP87C800F
  • Released – 1994
  • Price then – 24,800yen
  • Price now – $10 to $100

The Bandai Playida was released primarily for the children’s market, and titles included revolutionary concepts such as edutainment (insert sarcasm), and also popular animation from the period – some even had edutainment mixed with popular animation (vomits in mouth a little).

Bandai was the only developer creating games for the Playdia, and although this strategy might work for Nintendo (if they ever decide to try it), it did not work for the Playdia. Most of the games are focused heavily on video, and seem to be influenced by games like Dragon’s Lair.

Dragon Ball Z (the game pictured bellow) was probably one of the more interesting titles, and it’s actually the only game I own for the system. It is a video based fighter… What do I mean by “video based fighter”? Basically, you trigger little fight sequences with moves on the control pad, and the timing and type of those moves mean punch or be punched. Although interesting, it feels somewhat cumbersome to play.


The controller is an infrared transmitter that actually works quite well – well better that I thought it would anyway.


The rear of the unit has standard AV out, and of course the power in port. I have to say that having standard AV outs is a plus, and I wish more consoles from the 80s and 90s did the same thing. Hold on, was that my first compliment for Bandai Playdia?



You can’t see it there very well (in the picture bellow), but there is a white piece of cardboard that sits ontop of the Playdia. If you’re looking for complete make sure that’s there.


For the collectors I guess this is one machine that looks great on the shelf. It’s the last console produced by Bandai, and that is reason enough to own one. Would I own one to play games on though? Nope, don’t reckon I would. ?

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Sonic Saturn – Toys ‘R’ Us Edition

Released in 1997 the Sonic Saturn – Toys ‘R’ Us Edition is a machine sought after by collectors.

The Saturn itself is identical to the regular white Saturn except for a little black Sonic printed on the lid. As the title states this particular model was a limited edition only at Toys ‘R’ Us stores over here in Japan.

Is it worth what I paid for it? Take a look at the pictures and you be the judge. 😀


And a close up of the Sonic.


Before I tell you how much I paid, there is a little bit of a story behind this purchase I should share…..

I have a regular run of ‘junk’ stores that I try do at least once a week. Sometimes these stores strike gold, while other times they come up with nothing. I bought this particular Saturn with a bunch of others, and honestly it was the last one I picked up. When I first saw it, I thought that someone had either stuck a sticker on it, or decided to draw a Sonic by hand – this put me off buying it (being the retro noob I was). As it was only 300yen (yes you read that correctly, 300yen!), and believe or not cheaper than the others there, I threw caution to the wind and spent the 300yen. It was only after I got it home that I realised the Sonic was professionally printed, so I asked questions to the experts on AussieArcade.

I almost left this for someone else, and it was only priced at 300yen (about $3.60)! I would have regretted this more than I can express in words if I left it there, but lucky I had a spare 300yen on me. 😀

Anyone know of the current selling price of these Saturns? I tried to do a quick search but not much came up about it.

PC Engine Avenue Pad 6 – The best pad for the PCE?

I would say that the PC Engine Avenue Pad 6 is the best looking control pad for the PC Engine, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to control – specially if you ask my friend Frank. 😀


If you’re looking for a control pad with 6 buttons for the PCE, then this is pretty much the only choice you have. There are many more choices in relation to joysticks out there, but when it comes to pads the choice is quite limited.



Released in 1993, it was specifically designed for Street Fighter II. In fact I can’t seem to think of any other games off hand that do support the 6 buttons – it is early in the morning here though.

The pad itself has a nice set of turbo options, and overall I like the feel of it. Since getting a decent stick for the PCE I don’t use this at all though, and I guess that gives you some insight into my recommendations for buying one. If you can’t afford a stick for the PCE then I say go for it, but otherwise spend the money elsewhere. 🙂

Tomy Slimboy Racing LCD

The Tomy Slimboy Racing is a very interesting little handheld. Some of the features on this machine would have been great on some of the Nintendo Game & Watches. Does it match up to the Nintendo classics though? I don’t want to spoil the ending, but in a word, no. 🙂


As I mentioned, there are features on the Tomy Slimboy Racing that would have been very welcomed on many Nintendo handhelds of the same era. The first of these features would be the screwed in battery cover. How often do we see Nintendo Game & Watches with missing battery covers?


The next feature on the Slimboy Racing that I would have liked to have see on many of the LCD handhelds from the same period is an on/off switch. The Slimboy Racing also has more than the usual 2 game modes that can be found on most Nintendo LCDs.


So what about the gameplay? Well first off there are many game modes to choose from. For example the easier game modes don’t actually require you to steer around the corners, you only need to accelerate, brake and pass. In the more advanced game modes you must not only brake, accelerate, and pass, but also steer around each corner. It can get quite challenging. There are other game modes in which you are racing in a straight line rather than the speedway style of track too. It’s quite impressive how much they crammed in.

One thing that I have to mention is the sound. The sound is actually quite good for reflecting the speed of your car, but man does it get annoying.


All up I don’t mind this game. I wouldn’t trade my Nintendo Game & Watches for it, but it’s unique and playable. If you can find one cheap enough, I say buy it! Speaking of buying it, I am pretty sure that there was an AussieArcade member that wanted this a while back, but I can’t remember who it was… Let me know if you read this. 😀

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