The Nintendo Super Mario Bros Game & Watch is a $50 handheld game console designed to run just three games. But Nintendo’s latest retro console has proven to be hackable… at least by folks with the necessary skills and hardware.
Launched this fall as an homage to Nintendo handhelds from the 80s, the new Game & Watch ships with three Super Mario Bros games pre-installed. But it didn’t take long for stacksmashing to hack the device and get it to run DOOM and other games.
Over the past few weeks several other hackers have gotten in on the action.
Here are some of the latest things folks have figured out how to do to Nintendo’s Game & Watch.
- Stacksmashing has published backup and restore tools on GitHub, as well as other tools including a tool for flashing data to storage, various scripts, and source code for the Game & Watch port of DOOM.
- Daniel Padilla has shared some X-ray images showing the circuit board and other components.
- Jake Little has traced the Game & Watch PCB and posted details on GitHub.
- Alfonso Luna is porting a CHIP-8 emulator, allowing classic games like Space Invaders, Cave, and Pong to run on the device. You can find more details at GitHub or check out a short video of the game selection menu.
- StackSmashing upgraded the device’s 1MB of internal storage with a 16MB module, making it possible to run larger Game Boy ROMs including the US and EU versions of Pokémon.
Now for the bad news – it’s not clear if any of these hacks will be available to casual users anytime soon. Upgrading the storage, for example, requires opening up the Game & Watch, desoldering the flash storage, replacing the module with a larger one, and then using the flash tools to write code to the new storage.
It’s not for the faint of heart.
That said, it’s pretty impressive to see all of the development happening around Nintendo’s newest device which was only supposed to run three games.
— stacksmashing (@ghidraninja) December 7, 2020
Porting my CHIP-8 emulator to the G&W! pic.twitter.com/j55dVxIEaR
— Alfonso Luna (@AlfonsoJLuna) December 5, 2020
— Daniel Padilla (@dproldan) December 2, 2020
【Game and Watch】 The PCB has now been fully traced by Jake. Amazing effort and this will help us understand how the charging circuit etc works in detail.
Repo: https://t.co/uXXNPvRR4E pic.twitter.com/A5EueQNtlk
— Konrad Beckmann (@kbeckmann) December 7, 2020