informa
2 min read
article

Tracing the legacy of watch game design, from Casio to Apple

There's a nice feature over on Polygon today examining where watch games came from, how they were sold by firms like Casio & Nintendo, and how they influenced the design of modern smartwatch games.
"We thought, if it is possible to put the game in a portable device that you can carry around, that we could create a new lifestyle to enjoy games during small time pockets of everyday life."

- Casio executive Yuichi Masuda.

What sort of games do you think the quote above refers to? If you guessed classic '80s watch games, you're right, but you could be forgiven for thinking Masuda is talking about modern mobile games -- their perceived place in the market is strikingly similar.

Masuda was speaking to Polygon for a wide-ranging feature on watch games -- where they came from, how they influenced the game industry, and how they're making a comeback of sorts thanks to contemporary smartwatches like the Pebble and the Apple Watch.

"It was a completely new design challenge and that was exciting," game designer Will Luton told Polygon, explaining why he pushed the limits of the Pebble last year with his game Pixel Miner. "The thing we never expected was that [players] would keep the game open and running...they leave it running all day on their watch and they watch it. That wasn't the common expectation."

Luton and many other developers expressed excitement earlier this year about the game design potential of modern smartwatches, and as companies like EA experiment with wrist-mounted game design smaller studios have already seen commercial success with smartwatch games like Spy Watch and Lifeline.

Polygon's feature traces the genesis of this nascent market all the way back to Casio's decision to release its CA-90 watch in 1981 with an offbeat, numbers-based version of Space Invaders. You can read the whole thing, replete with some great photographs of game watches through the ages, over on the Polygon website.

Latest Jobs

Treyarch

Playa Vista, California
6.20.22
Audio Engineer

Digital Extremes

London, Ontario, Canada
6.20.22
Communications Director

High Moon Studios

Carlsbad, California
6.20.22
Senior Producer

Build a Rocket Boy Games

Edinburgh, Scotland
6.20.22
Lead UI Programmer
More Jobs   

CONNECT WITH US

Register for a
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Account

Game Developer Newsletter

@gamedevdotcom

Register for a

Game Developer Account

Gain full access to resources (events, white paper, webinars, reports, etc)
Single sign-on to all Informa products

Register
Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Subscribe
Follow us

@gamedevdotcom

Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more