Ereader for Gameboy Advance - E-Reader
E-reader with Donkey Kong.
The Nintendo eReader is the latest in a line of scanning devices for kids. The e-Reader is about the size of an N64 Transfer or Rumble Pak, and plugs directly into the cartridge port of the GB Advance. As the e-Reader also plugs into the Game Boy Advanced's Game Link port, a replacement port is provided on the e-Reader itself, so you can continue to use Link Cables and some (not all) GBA lighting products. The key to the e-Reader system is its data cards, which are basically another family of trading cards, a la Magic The Gathering and Pokemon (more on this in a moment). Cards designed for use with the eReader are distinguised by rows of dots along their length. These dots are the basis of Dot Codes, a proprietary format that the e-Reader sees as digital data. By swiping a compatible card through the e-Reader, you are loading data into the Reader. What kind of data, you ask? Depends on the cards. The e-Reader comes packaged with two 5-card booster packs. The first contains the complete Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) port of Donkey Kong Junior ... you read that right, an NES cartridge stored on five trading cards. Other NES games, similarly translated, are available from retailers now, with many more to come. The second pack contains an assortment of other e-Reader cards, including three from the Pokemon Trading Card Game. These three cards are the first in a new line of Dot-Code-bearing Pokemon cards. Along with being used in the Pokemon card game, these cards hold (in their Dot Codes) extra data on the particular Pokemon (readable on the Game Boy Advanced screen), and even mini-games you can play. A fourth card includes a sample Nintendo Game-and-Watch game (old pre-GB handheld games). However, it is the fifth card that really can open up doors in how you play games. This card contains bonus items that can be used with the Nintendo GameCube title Animal Crossing. By connecting your e-Reader-equipped Gameboy Advance to a GameCube via the appropriate Link Cable (with a compatible title, like Animal Crossing), you can upload new information to the GC game. Just imagine ... you could update the stats of your favorite football or baseball player simply by swiping his compatible trading card through the e-Reader. How does the system work in practice? Actually pretty well. It takes about 60 seconds to completely load a game like DK Junior, for example. Unlike ATM or credit cards, an e-Reader card needs to be swiped slowly. Like credit cards, you need to treat them somewhat gently; any stray marks (such as writing something on the card) in the Dot Code area could mess up the data, rendering the card useless. Younger kids may need some assistance at first with swiping, but they'll get the hang of it quickly. The e-Reader has a small amount of internal memory, so if you load a game/program you like, you can keep it, at least until you want to swipe something else into it. - Reviewer
Innovations of the Game Boy Advance
The Game Boy Advance (GBA), released by Nintendo in 2001, brought several innovative features and advancements to the world of handheld gaming, making it a significant milestone in portable gaming history:
Advanced Graphics and Display: The GBA introduced a high-quality 32-bit color screen, a substantial upgrade from the monochrome screens of its predecessors. This allowed for more vibrant and detailed visuals, enhancing the overall gaming experience. The screen resolution and clarity were impressive for a handheld device at the time.
Horizontal Layout: Unlike its predecessors, the GBA featured a horizontal layout with a wider screen. This design choice not only provided a better aspect ratio for gaming but also allowed for more comfortable gameplay and better visibility of in-game content.
Backward Compatibility: The GBA retained compatibility with Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. This feature allowed gamers to continue enjoying their existing game libraries on the new device, enhancing the value of the GBA for those who owned previous Game Boy consoles.
Shoulder Buttons: The GBA was the first handheld console to feature shoulder buttons, which expanded the range of gameplay possibilities. These buttons enabled developers to create more complex and diverse game mechanics, providing players with greater control and interactivity.
Link Cable and Multiplayer: The GBA continued the tradition of allowing multiplayer interactions through a link cable. However, the GBA's link cable introduced improved data transfer speeds, allowing for smoother multiplayer experiences and making games like "Pokémon" even more engaging with battles and trades.
Hardware Expansion: The GBA included a cartridge slot on top that allowed for various hardware expansions, such as the Nintendo e-Reader accessory. This peripheral enabled players to scan cards containing additional content, such as mini-games, extras, and even level packs, expanding the gameplay possibilities.
Classic Titles and New Experiences: The GBA featured a strong library of both classic franchises and new intellectual properties. Players could enjoy familiar titles like "Super Mario," "The Legend of Zelda," and "Metroid," while also exploring new and innovative games tailored to the GBA's capabilities.
Compact and Portable: The GBA's compact size and portability made it easy to carry around, enabling players to enjoy console-quality gaming experiences on the go. Its ergonomic design and lightweight build contributed to its comfort during extended play sessions.
The Game Boy Advance's combination of technical advancements, enhanced graphical capabilities, innovative design, and backward compatibility solidified its place as a beloved handheld gaming device. Its influence continues to be felt in the handheld gaming landscape, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations of portable gamers.