Evolution of the Console Controller – Donkey Kong II (1983)

Game & Watch is Nintendo’s first line of portable handheld games. Starting in 1980 with the release of Flagman, 60 different games were produced. Since each game is fully self-contained, different cases could be built for different game needs. Some Game & Watch titles even featured two screens attached by hinge – a design strikingly similar to the later Nintendo DS.

The most significant controller development in the Game & Watch line is the debut of the cross shaped D-Pad for 1982’s Donkey Kong. Gunpei Yokoi, lead of Nintendo Research & Development 1 (R&D1), had worked on the arcade cabinet version of Donkey Kong (1981). Yokoi needed a means to reproduce the controls of an arcade stick in a portable version of the game and developed the D-Pad for this purpose. The D-Pad proved popular and was used on other Game and Watch titles. It is still in use on consoles today.

Up to D-Pad Era – Back to Atari Paddle – Forward to Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Gift of Ben Wilhelm, 2012.025.004