Nintendo Game & Watch Modding Videos Taken Down

An IT Security Researcher detailed how to change the ROM in a Nintendo Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. handheld and was surprised to see a copyright claim from the company on his YouTube channel.

Published: January 12, 2021 4:56 PM /


Nintendo Game & Watch Super Mario Bros. cover

An IT security researcher figured out how to change the game in the Nintendo Game & Watch handheld console and has since discovered a copyright claim on his YouTube channel filed by Nintendo.

Late last year, Nintendo announced the Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. as part of the franchise's 35th-anniversary celebration. The original Game & Watch handhelds were simple machines that used a fixed LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen, but this new unit would feature the N.E.S. games Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, and a special Mario-themed version of the first Game & Watch title Ball.

It's certainly a neat little device, but it does have some limitations. That didn't stop hardware hackers from attempting to tinker with the device, and some of them succeeded. Unfortunately, one of them appears to have ended up on Nintendo's bad side as a result of his actions.

No Explanation Given for Nintendo Game & Watch YouTube Takedowns

German security researcher Thomas "stacksmashing" Roth put up a couple of videos on his YouTube channel. In them, he explored the internals of the Nintendo Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. handheld consoles.

His discoveries revealed some rather unsurprising facts. The USB-C port built into the handheld doesn't have data capabilities and can only be used to charge the console. It has no Internet connectivity and there's no way to expand the memory, either.

However, Nintendo had to get the digital game files onto the handheld somehow. Whether it was the same method or an alternate one, Roth found a way to do it. He managed to get other Nintendo games like The Legend of Zelda running on the handheld. And yes, the Game & Watch can run Doom.

Unfortunately, Roth's adventures have led to a couple of Content ID claims. His channel didn't receive a dreaded Copyright Strike, but the videos were taken down. Strangely, it appears that the videos only feature footage of Nintendo games — the video showing Doom running on the console is still live at the time of writing.

Thomas Roth has subsequently edited the videos and filed a counter-claim according to Gizmodo; neither of the missing videos have returned to YouTube at the time of writing. If you'd like to get Nintendo Game & Watch for yourself, you can buy it on Amazon for $49.99 or your regional equivalent. You can also check out Thomas "stacksmashing' Roth on YouTube or his official website

Disclosure: Amazon works with TechRaptor for affiliate partnership, and TechRaptor earns a small commission off purchases made from some links in this article.

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One of my earliest memories is playing Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I… More about Robert N