Super Mario Bros Game & Watch

Lab Notes

I thought the Super Mario Bros Game & Watch would be an overpriced toy that I put in a drawer. I was not prepared for how wrong I was. This is a perfect grab and go toy with multiple levels of engagement, a fidget toy during meetings and a casual game between meetings.


Critical to its utility is its instant on feature. I have dozens of handheld game devices, and none of them turn on as quickly as this does. Instant pause-off, instant on-play. It lives on my desk like no other device.

Secondary but still important is the inclusion of Super Mario: Lost Levels, more difficult and less familiar for when I need a stronger distraction. SMB is so familiar I can play it by habit alone, and that fits a need too sometimes.


I’m a big fan of single-purpose computing devices for focus and relaxation. It’s an extravagance in some ways, but often it’s an essential antidote to stress-inducing amounts of choice. SMB G&W plays SMB. That’s all it does. And it’s awesome.

(Originally posted to Twitter on December 1, 2020. It received 6 likes and 1 retweets.)