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Nintendo Embedding Classic Games on Trading Cards 336

bacontaco writes "Here's a quick article over at Adrenaline Vault about Nintendo's plan to put out old-school Nintendo games with the use of a e-Reader that plugs into the Game Boy Advance and trading cards that can be swiped with the device. The article flips back and forth on which console's games will be supported, saying either NES or SNES games will be used with the cards. It's kind of eye-opening when you think about how games that seemed so great so long ago can now be fit on something so small as a card."
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Nintendo Embedding Classic Games on Trading Cards

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  • Re:a swipe? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <valuation&gmail,com> on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @05:27PM (#4276608)
    The article says that the games will be stored using dots printed on the card and that the reader will scan in the dots optically. Now *that* sounds pretty cool...much cooler than just using a magnetic stripe.
    To have some idea of what the cards will look like, take a look at any UPS package with the dot-coded label that has that bulls-eye in the middle.
  • by Kraegar ( 565221 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @05:28PM (#4276627) available at Nintendo's site []

    (note for some reason the link generates a 404, but if you refresh, it comes up with the page)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @05:33PM (#4276670)
    "Really makes me wonder how many games used only a fraction of the cartridges total space."

    Go to any downloadable rom site. You will see that most the roms range from 50-250k in size.
    The occasional game like ff3 will top out at around 4 megs.
  • by sdjunky ( 586961 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @05:34PM (#4276684)
    You can see it here []

    From my understanding the games either
    A. span multiple cards
    B. are built into the eReader and the cards have barcodes to unlock them

    Also, the games ARE for the NES.

  • by Lxy ( 80823 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @05:34PM (#4276687) Journal
    What is preventing someone from putting out a console capable of running games from all the classic system?

    Nothing. It's called a Sega Dreamcast. has all the emulators and tools you need to put MAME, Stealla, NES, Sega Genesis, SNES, even LINUX on your Dreamcast. That is, assuming you have legally obtained ROMs.

    At last check, you could buy these units used for around $50. Sega killed it last Christmas, so there's no new ones to be found. Check your local Funcoland or pawn shop, you'll probably find one.
  • Re:Data size? (Score:3, Informative)

    by photon317 ( 208409 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @05:36PM (#4276697)
    In the old 8-bit nintendo (probably other and later consoles as well) cartridge programmers implemented bank switching to put more data in the cartiridge than the architecture was really designed to handle. They are known as "mappers", and it's what you hear about when you read about NES emulators and whatnot and what "mappers" they support - they're referring to memory addressing schemes used by games that couldn't fit normally.
  • by Mike the Mac Geek ( 182790 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @05:39PM (#4276740) Journal
    Bought an E-Card reader today for my GBA and Animal Crossing (GameCube Game).

    The data itself is embedded in the card. It's a printed optical dot code. VERY TINY DOTS. I can't pick one out with my naked eye. I'm sure I could with a magnifying glass though.

    I saw somewhere that a long strip (lengthwise) can hold up to 2.2KB of data, and a short strip (width) can hold 1.1. Each card can have only two strips. Presumably so the card can be handled.

    Picked up a few ECard games, like Excitebike, Pinball, Etc. Games take 9-10 long strips. The game can the be saved in the reader, so you dont have to swipe again until you save another. Only space for one.

    This is easy to use, holds a good amount of data, and has a LOT of possibilities. Kudos to Nintendo/Olympus!
  • by questionlp ( 58365 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @05:47PM (#4276816) Homepage
    Each e-Card has two sets of dots... one running on the bottom and on the right-hand side of the card. Each set of dots can hold so many kilobytes of data. There was some information in the latest issue of Nintendo Power and probably can be found at

    There is some ROM and Flash on the reader which is used to store the "OS" and the game data read from each of the cards respectively. Some games can fit on 2-3 cards whereas some games can take up 6+ cards.

    My guess is that the dots are arranged in a certain way and using a certain dye type to reduce/eliminate the ease of duplicating cards using copiers or printers... who knows. Each game goes for around $5-10 so it's not too expensive compared to GTA-3 or Halo.

    The idea of using the cards is also to trade stuff with friends for use in games (like Pokemon and the next Zelda game for the GC).
  • by creep ( 150035 ) <aarontbell@gmail ... inus threevowels> on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @05:53PM (#4276869)
    ..on my GBA for over a year. A Flash Advance card from these people [] running this [] is one of the best investments I ever made.
  • Re:Data size? (Score:4, Informative)

    by klevin ( 11545 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @06:03PM (#4276944) Homepage Journal
    Well, 8 Mb (megabits) doesn't necessarilly = 1 MB (megabyte). When measured in bits, kilo usually means 1000 and mega = 1000^2. When measured in bytes, kilo = 1024 and mega = 1024^2. So, 8 Mb = (8*1000^2)/(8*1024^2) = .9536 MB (or 976.56 KB).

    Pedantic, yes, but a helpful thing to remember.
  • Animal Crossing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Wind_Walker ( 83965 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @06:11PM (#4277005) Homepage Journal
    As a self-proclaimed Nintendo fanboy, I think it's also necessary to point out Animal Crossing [], dubbed a "communication game" by Nintendo. It's for the Nintendo Gamecube (the cheapest of the consoles at $150) and the game retails at $50, which includes a special memory card (retail $15).

    Imagine a cross between Harvest Moon and The Sims. The player controls a small, cartoonish character and basically lives their life. You begin by getting a mortgage on a house, which you then have to pay off by performing tasks for the other villagers in town. There are also Pokemon-like collection aspects to Animal Crossing in that it features over 40 species of insects, dozens of fossils to discover (which you can sell for profit or donate to the museum), and also tons of fruit to collect and sell (or consume). You are also given a rating on your house, depending on how good your Feng Shui is. Actions affect how other villagers react to you. If you dig up their gardens, they'll stop being curteous to you, and eventually run the other way when you come around.

    But the game is about communication. You can visit other people's villages by inserting both your and your friend's memory card in the Gamecube. Items can then be traded with each other and collections can be completed. Don't have friends? You can also trade over the Internet by providing passwords that are keyed to the player name and the village name. There is already at least one good community for trading [].

    Finally, the game runs in real time, based off of the Gamecube's internal clock. If you can only play after work, then the villagers will begin to make fun of you for being a night owl. Holidays occur on their specific days, and special things happen (presents exchanged on Christmas, girlfriends on Valentine's Day, etc). Also, you will receive presents on your own birthday (set at the start of the game). Seasons change, and snow or leaves fall according to the season. Sales happen during specific hours, and if you miss it, you miss the sale. And don't try to reset the clock - if you do, a character named Resetti will be coming after you and bother you with text for a full 5 minutes.

    How does this relate to the story at Slashdot? One of the things to collect are first party NES games. Donkey Kong, Pinball, Ice Climbers, Balloon Brothers, and dozens more are available. All of them can either be played in-game or downloaded to the Gameboy Advance for play on the road (until the power is switched off, it's stored in RAM).

    I advise anybody who's into addictive, play-for-30-minutes-a-day-everyday games to buy it. You won't be disappointed. Now if you'll excuse me, Tanooki is having a sale on coconuts in an hour and I don't wanna miss it.

  • Just got mine today (Score:3, Informative)

    by GweeDo ( 127172 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @06:32PM (#4277207) Homepage
    I picked up my e-Reader today and it is an interesting idea. It came with Donkey Kong Jr and it needs 5 cards to store that game. There are two bars per card for a total of 10 swipes for this one game. I believe that each bar can be either 1024bytes or 2058bytes each and no more. So SNES games are basically out the window since most where about 512K to 1M (I know I don't want to swip a card over 100 times!). But old NES games are all that Nintendo is using this for. there are also cards for the new game Animal Crossing that contain special songs and items that can only be gotten via the cards and their are new Pokemon cards for the up coming GBA pokemon as well. So it looks like Nintendo has a new cash cow on the way :)
  • Re:turbographic (Score:5, Informative)

    by icer1024 ( 175958 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @07:09PM (#4277541)
    I don't know if anyone reads this far down into a Slashdot thread but... The last post was correct. The Turbo Grafx 16 game system (or the PCEngine in Japan) was produced by NEC, with some significant Hudson Soft development effort.

    In case anyone cares, Turbo Zone Direct [] still sells new TG16 hardware and software (This is not a plug, I have no relationship with TZD). There is also a Turbo mailing list [] still in existence, where people discuss the PCE/TG16, as well as buy/sell/trade games and accessories. There's even a few fan sites [] left out there.

    The Turbo Duo was the American re-release of the original TG16, which included the cartridge (HuCard) port, and integrated CD-ROM unit. The TG16 was also the first game system to utilize as CD-ROM, and the only system to ever have a successful expansion device. Until the Game Boy Advance, the portable Turbo Express was the most powerful handheld gaming system, and it was capable of playing the entire library of games from the parent system, since they were on the extremely portable HuCards.

    While most people in the U.S. have never heard of the Turbo Grafx, the system was extremely successful in Japan (as the PCEngine), much more so than the MegaDrive (Sega Genesis). Send me a message if your a fan of the system. :)

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas