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Thanks to the incredible efforts of The Video Game History Foundation, we may have just discovered Nintendo’s first-ever US commercial. In the early 80s before the NES was released and Nintendo became synonymous with the idea of video games, The Big N needed to go through different publishers and manufacturers to get its products into the North American market. One such company was Mego, which produced the “Time-Out” handheld.



As you can see in the commercial, Time-Out is a rebranded iteration of the Game & Watch: Ball game. I didn’t know that any Game & Watch devices were released in the US, but it makes sense when you consider this commercial. Mego likely didn’t think the name made any sense to Americans or that it possibly didn’t sound like a toy. As such, it was rebranded to Time-Out and marketed as a device you could use to kill some time between various activities (such as getting surgery, I guess).

As noted in the YouTube video description, Digital Eclipse editorial director Chris Kohler acquired an original 16mm reel of this commercial and donated it to the VGHF. This reel was then sent to Movette Film Transfer, a company that specializes in digitizing film. You can read a breakdown of the color restoration process over on VGHF’s website, but needless to say, it looks stunning.

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Written by Peter Glagowski

Peter has been a freelance gaming and film critic for over seven years. His passion for Nintendo is only matched by the size of his collection.