I was expecting a little more interest in the subject of this thread (or maybe I'm just too impatient) but alright, I'll just post my ideas and leave it at that.
I think Nintendo could go beyond the original SMB (and Zelda) and give fans a few more "NES Game & Watch" offerings. Super Mario Bros 3 is an obvious one and they wouldn't even need to put any other games on the device, it would just sell like hotcakes on its own (although a save-state function or a general save feature on the map screen would be a must).
Here are a few more suggestions that I think could sell pretty well under the Game & Watch form factor:
- Donkey Kong + Donkey Kong Jr + Donkey Kong 3 (please, Nintendo, include the fourth screen in DK!)
- Mario Bros + Wrecking Crew + Dr. Mario (not sure this one would see great sales, but it offers variety at least)
- Punch-Out (like SMB3, it doesn't need anything else to sell well, but the controls need to be really tight and responsive)
- R.C Pro AM + R.C. Pro AM II + Cobra Triangle (the screen would need to be very crisp, to avoid motion blur)
I'm excluding Metroid because I don't think the NES game on its own would be enticing enough to sell well. Although if they included a colorized version of Metroid II, it might be worth it... Then again, nah, what people would really want is Super Metroid and that goes beyond the scope of this forum thread.
Where third-parties are concerned, I think Capcom and Konami would stand to benefit the most from jumping onto the Game & Watch form factor with their NES libraries.
Capcom could put Mega Man 1+2+3 on one device, and Mega Man 4+5+6 on another, and perhaps even do another device with colorized versions of Mega Man III, IV and V on Game Boy. If I had the chance to be involved in the design of those devices, given the need to often jump and shoot at the same time in Mega Man games, I think it would be more comfortable to have the fire button as a face button and the jump button as a shoulder button. It would take a little getting used to, but it would probably be less of a stress on the right thumb given the smaller form factor. But then again, two face buttons could work well too, I suppose, if it works for Super Mario Bros.
I expect Capcom would also see good sales with these devices:
- 1942 + 1943 (not sure this one would be all that playable on a small screen. The sprites are already small on a regular TV.)
- DuckTales 1 + 2
- Commando + Bionic Commando
- Ghosts 'n Goblins + Gargoyle's Quest II
DuckTales in particular is an almost cathartic experience when you pogo-stick all over the place, and would be well-suited for rainy days or during long car/bus/train rides.
Meanwhile, Konami could partner up with other parties to release these:
- Castlevania 1 + 2 + 3
- Contra + Super C (perhaps include Operation C on Game Boy as a bonus, if possible?)
- Gradius + Life Force
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II - The Arcade Game + TMNT III - The Manhattan Project
And finally, here are other good one-off collection possibilities:
- Adventure Island 1 + 2 + 3
- Adventure of Lolo 1 + 2 + 3
- Batman + Batman - Return of the Joker
- Bubble Bobble + Bubble Bobble Part 2 + Rainbow Islands
- Double Dragon 1 + 2 + 3
- Dragon Warrior 1 + 2 + 3
- Ninja Gaiden 1 + 2 + 3
- Shatterhand + Shadow of the Ninja (both were made by Natsume)
- Solomon's Key + Fire 'n Ice
- Wizards and Warriors 1 + 2 + 3
I think the Batman one in particular would be very interesting: Shape the thing like a Batarang and Batman fans will eat it up. Emulating Return of the Joker would require some work because it uses an advanced mapper, but it's not an unsurmountable technical obstacle.
There are lots of NES games that are really good, but not quite good enough to warrant the investment in hardware as Game & Watch one-offs. I think mostly of games like Blaster Master and Mighty Final Fight when I say this. Also, I'm not a fan of sports game on NES (although I enjoyed playing Blades of Steel BITD) so I wouldn't buy any sports collections on the Game & Watch form factor, and I would expect that many other people wouldn't be all that interested either. I should also mention I would prefer seeing a Game Boy Classic with 25+ games on it rather than seeing individual Game-&-Watch-style Game Boy re-releases, aside from the Mega Man GB games and perhaps the Zelda GB/GBC games. As for the Sega Master System, I don't see any games worth converting to Game-&-Watch-style format, mostly because all the good games were done better on the Genesis. And they've already done the Game Gear Micro thing (sigh...)
Of course, it's an understatement that all of the above is a glorified pipe dream. We'll be extremely lucky if Nintendo just does Zelda in Game & Watch format next year (let's be honest, they likely won't). But it's nice to think of the most interesting possibilities. The Game & Watch form factor is an attractive one for impulse-buys.
Thanks for reading.