Sakurai reveals exclusive look at Nintendo’s oldest character art

Scott Baird
Smash Ultimate Duck Hunt Duo vs Game & Watch

Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai has offered an exclusive look at the reference material used to bring one of Nintendo’s oldest characters to life.

One of the best things about the Super Smash Bros. series is how it brings back retro characters for a modern audience. If not for Smash, characters like Captain Falcon, Ness, the Ice Climbers, R.O.B., and the Duck Hunt Duo might have become footnotes in video game history.

The most unusual retro fighter in Smash is Mr. Game & Watch from Super Smash Bros. Melee, who is arguably Nintendo’s oldest character. Mr. Game & Watch appeared in LCD handheld gaming systems with limited animations, recreated in Smash with his jerky moveset.

Smash creator Masahiro Sakurai has been revealing development info in his YouTube series, with the latest episode focusing on Mr. Game & Watch and everything he was given to bring such an unusual character to life in a modern 3D game.

Banjo Kazooie appear triumphantly in a jungle setting

Sakurai has revealed exclusive Mr. Game & Watch artwork on YouTube

In a new episode of the Masahiro Sakurai on Creating Games YouTube channel, Sakurai revealed all of the LCD artwork of Mr. Game & Watch his team was provided for use with the Smash games, starting with Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Sakurai stressed how he had to get special permission to show off all of the artwork despite the old Game & Watch titles being ancient history in video game terms. However, Nintendo will still release adapted versions of them as retro titles from time to time.

The artwork comes from Game & Watch titles dating back to 1980, including Fire, Ball, Flagman, Manhole, Helmet, Chef, Oil Panic, Donkey Kong, Green House, Lifeboat, Pinball, Mario’s Cement Factory, and Mario’s Bombs Away.

Mr. Game & Watch’s moves were adapted from these static animations, showing just how creative the Smash development teams have been in turning these old images into attacks for a fast-paced fighting game.

Sakurai has been allowed to handle some of the most important video game properties in history without issue, and it shows Nintendo’s supreme trust in him that they’d let him show off exclusive artwork from one of their oldest titles.