It’s time now to continue our look at the Nintendo e-Reader for the Game Boy Advance by looking at its content. As I explained last time, the e-Reader disappeared quickly from North American markets, lasting for only roughly two years. Still, you could release a whole lot of stuff within two years, but the e-Reader honestly had very little to offer, even if you DO count the Japanese exclusives. I don’t nearly have a complete set for it but I will be talking about what I managed to get.
Let’s start with the Classic NES series that included 12 games from the early NES days. I got three: Balloon Fight, Ice Climbers and Donkey Kong Jr. I now have no reason to use these cards though, since I got them on my 3DS thanks to the ambassador program (of course, these would be the only three found in both collections…). These games deserve to be reviewed on their own, so I’ll talk more about how they’re ported. The changes are minimal, though there seems to be a few options missing, like the two player mode (THIS is the one thing you don’t let me use my link cable for?). There’s also no save feature for high-scores even if you store the game on the e-Reader’s memory. Along with the dot codes, the cards themselves have the rules, the controls, some tips and even the story for the game. So it’s like a helpful version of the instruction booklet conveniently always with the game.
Next up, I also have some Pokemon cards, which was what I was most excited about. I got two games, but those were from promotions, so it’s not like I found them myself. The first game is Machop at work, a single screen game where you crush boulders, and the other is Fire hoops, an auto scrolling game where you need to jump at the right time. In both cases, the sprite work is really good, making great use of a 32 bit system. The games are a little more than a distraction though, and once you hit the 100 point limit, there’s very little reason to play again. I feel like if they made a collection of these games separately on a GBA cartridge, it would have been better. I wasn’t able to collect the necessary cards for other games, however if you scan one card that is part of a game, it lets you know what else you need (for example, I have Corsola, but to play its game, I would also need Quilfish). There are other applications offered, such as a customizable music box and a timer for your card matches, and along the bottom of each card there is a second code which allows you to access Pokedex data.
Two more games I got through promotions are the Manhole-E and Kirby Slide games. The Manhole one is just a recreation of the Game & Watch game and the other is just a slide puzzle to promote “Kirby Right Back at ya”. Both aren’t very fun to play, look at or listen to and aren’t worth the money now.
But the real reason I decided to do a second part was to talk about the Mario Party-E game (terrible title by the way: Mario Part-E-E, Mario ParteeeEEE). This isn’t really a video game, but rather a card game with video game elements. The game is played with a deck of cards which includes coins to play cards, special cards that do different things and the superstar items, which you must collect for the end goal. Where the e-Reader comes in is with some of the mini-games and challenges. There are some games to earn added effects for the card they’re on or that can allow you to play the card for free. On average these games last like 10 seconds for each player. Why even include the e-reader option at all though? The duels could be settled with rock-paper-scissors and you could just ignore the free card options. Bottom line; if you want to play a board game, play a board game. If you want to play a video game, play a video game (like, maybe Mario Party?). This mix of both feels too forced.So that is most of what I got for the Nintendo e-Reader: the only other cards I have are a couple add-ons for Animal Crossing and Pokemon that that I never used. All and all, it’s just very underwhelming. It’s obvious that Creatures Inc. really wanted to push this to succeed by making the Pokemon Trading Card game compatible with it and that was probable enough to sell a decent amount of units. However HAL labs and Nintendo didn’t seem to want to push it as much, and there is no third party involvement. I’m of the opinion that, if you’re going to make the customers pay so much for the add-on and make games for it so cheaply, MAKE A LOT OF GAMES. This was a really cool concept that was just wasted. Even if you can find an e-Reader for sale with everything I have offered with it, I still don’t think it would really be worth your time or money (especially considering how much they’re priced online). The e-Reader itself isn’t bad; it works fine and does what it was meant to do. But everything for it is either irritating or lacking. I give the Nintendo e-Reader Accessory for the Game Boy Advance 4.5 levels out of 10.