Before he became a plumber to partake in typical plumber-like duties such as punching bricks, crushing turtles, crotch-polishing flagpoles and breaking into castles to let off fireworks, Mario owned a cement factory. True story. He made sure to let people know it was his, calling it Mario’s Cement Factory. This wasn’t a joint business venture with his brother – no, this was all Mario. Presumably Luigi just owned a gun, which he’d point towards the back of his trembling mouth each and every night.
Mario’s Cement Factory is one of those few Game & Watch games re-released through the DSiWare service. I like the idea of having these available for 200 Points ($3 something in Kangaroo money) a pop, but also lay awake in bed at night with the thought of never getting another awesome Game & Watch Gallery cartridge compilation ever again. This is a faithful replica of the original 1983 LCD handheld, and as far as Game & Watch games go, it’s probably one of the more hectic.
For whatever reason, Mario’s decided to do this all by himself. Conveyor belts dump bags of cement into chutes on both sides of the screen non-stop. As the company was put together with a budget of fifty seven cents, these have to be manually emptied and can only hold three bags at a time before the entire factory comes to a grinding halt. Naturally, arriving at this dreadful situation kills Mario and perhaps the universe itself.
Merely making your way over to a chute is no simple task, as you’ve got to wait for moving platforms to line up with your current position. One slight misstep sends ‘ol Mazza plummeting to his doom – a fitting fate for designing such a dangerous death-trap in the first place. Once a chute has been emptied, the bags of cement will fall down into another chute below. Head on down to take care of these ones and they’ll finally plop into a truck.
Sadly, they just have rotting corpses hanging out the driver side window. They don’t go anywhere. The trucks just sit there forever. The cement never gets delivered. Needless to say, it’s no mystery as to why Mario changed his profession just a year later.
Admittedly, I do have some silly nostalgia for Mario’s Cement Factory in particular (I used to own the ‘Mini Classics’ version as a keyring where my keys gradually scratched the crap out of its screen), but I’d certainly recommend it to someone looking to check out what this whole Game & Watch fuss was all about. You’ll get a few minutes of entertainment from it, and that’s high praise! There are two modes to choose from which just change up the difficulty, and even a continue option of sorts, allowing players to pick which level they want to start on. Again, this is just a quick way of ramping up how fast the game plays from the get-go.
The actual ‘Watch’ part is pretty much ruined in the DSiWare version though, as the alarm function is now non-existent and the clock is displayed on a separate title screen menu. The bottom screen is entirely wasted. They could have easily placed the time on here – or a bag of cement – but instead we just get a gigantic GAME & WATCH logo. Just in case you’ve been struck by a meteorite and can’t remember what you were playing. Actually, no. Because you were playing a DSi, not a Game & Watch. This is all wrong.