A Guide to Games on Modern Watches

By Frederik Drost
A Guide to Games on Modern Watches

For centuries, a watch has been an absolute must-have as a fashion accessory, upgrading someone’s look by several notches on the belt of elegance. Today’s watches are not only stylish, however, but are also introducing cool and practical new functions. Sometimes, as with the Eone Bradley watch that we reviewed, that means innovative designs like magnets that help tell time. In other cases though –– and with the growing number of more tech-oriented watches in particular –– it can also mean direct entertainment for wearers in the form of games and other media.

Indeed, you can now play games right on your wrist with some modern smart watches. Often enough, these same watches are cited primarily for their health benefits. Just last January an article on The BBC credited watch-based step tracking as one of the reasons some have found success in workouts away from the gym during COVID. On the other hand, an in-depth examination at The New York Times a few years ago more or less concluded that watches don’t make us fitter. In short, there’s still quite a bit of debate about this primary function of many smart watches.

What is no longer up for debate though is that a growing number of these watches, in addition to being quite stylish in cases, are providing us with new ways to stay entertained. We can only imagine what the watchmakers of yore might have said about all of this; perhaps they’d balk at the ostentatiousness of it all. Then again, maybe it would simply blow their minds. Whatever the case, with watch-based entertainment becoming more common, we thought it about time to take a look at some of the offerings.

Pacman on Casio

This makes for a really trendy choice of watch, managing to blend the retro design of Pacman with the brand’s own elegant style. Casio and Pacman have both been around for more than 40 years, so it’s a partnership made in 1980s heaven. You can’t actually play Pacman on the watch, mind you, but it is literally a game on a watch, so makes our list. (Plus, you can find and play the retro game on the official website if you wish). What’s also interesting about this partnership though is the potential it introduces. Could vintage arcade games grow to become an important part of gaming watches in the future? From Pong (already available on Apple Watches) to Donkey Kong and so much more, the old-world gaming heroes might be coming to watches near you. Most of them are simple enough from both gameplay and graphical standpoints to work on miniature screens.

Bingo on Apple Watch

There are several bingo games on watches already. And as is the case with Casio, Pacman, and vintage hits, the presence of a simple bingo game on the Apple Watch also opens the door to some exciting potential for advancement. In particular it may well open the door to slingo –– not a new twist on the game, but one that’s been resurgent online of late. The Gala Spins gaming platform has pioneered this resurgence by introducing a large online audience to modernized Slingo games that combine classic bingo gameplay with the excitement and animation of digital slots. Such games are perfectly plausible on watch screens as well, and given their current popularity, could well follow classic bingo to the medium and further expand watch entertainment.

Discover the Key on Galaxy

This one requires a little more patience and strategy. The game makes use of the bezel of the watch as the dial that you twist and turn to crack a code. Specifically, you have to figure out the lock’s three-digit code through your rotations. The haptic feedback on the watch is like the type you might get from a real bank safe, so it all feels pretty real, and ultimately makes for one of the cleverest uses of modern watches to facilitate games. Just don’t get carried away and branch out into real banks….

Flappy Bird on Fitbit Smartwatches

This game was all the rage back in 2014. In fact, Business Of Apps claims that it was at one point roping in $50,000 a day (or roughly 37,522 GBP as of this writing). The game may be past that lucrative heyday, but it is now available on watches. It’s a simple game: Just control the bird, and help it navigate a series of obstacles in the form of green pipes. The trick is managing to fly between the green pipes without hitting them. Still, with minimal controls, it’s an ideal fit for the burgeoning watch gaming medium. And who knows? The little bird’s enthusiasm may even get you in the mood for some activity that will satisfy your demanding Fitbit.


Now to a game involving a bit of word play. Wordie is another example that’s available on the Apple Watch. The game throws up a range of images, and you have to guess the round’s word from them. It might be simple at first, but as the game progresses, it starts to get trickier. What might the four images be trying to say to you? It’s a great way to spend some time training your brain a little between work and social meetings, and a very creative use of a small space to put forth a terrific game.

Modern watches are ultimately capable of a lot of things. They can be very stylish, and they often boast various helpful functions. But they are becoming more and more closely associated with entertainment, and the games mentioned above speak to why.

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