The e-Reader (Japanese: カードｅリーダー Card e Reader) is a peripheral for the Game Boy Advance that is used to scan special cards in order to add/unlock new features in existing games which have e-Reader functionality, or to play minigames on the e-Reader itself. The peripheral was developed jointly by HAL Laboratory and Olympus, and was released in December 2001.
For the e-Reader's release in North America in 2002, it received a redesign, adding a Link Cable passthrough connector to the system to allow Link Cable functionality when using the e-Reader and adding internal memory. This version of the e-Reader was later released in Japan in June 2003 Card e-Reader+.
In North America, the e-Reader was discontinued in 2004 due to its lack of popularity and sales. Although the e-Reader had been announced for Europe, it was ultimately confirmed to have been canceled in July.
The e-Reader attaches to the Game Boy Advance through the system's cartridge slot. The Link Cable passthrough plugs into the Link Cable port, allowing the player to use Link Cables with the device. The Game Boy Advance SP and Game Boy micro are compatible with the e-Reader, but do not use the Link Cable passthrough as the e-Reader was designed primarily for use with original model Game Boy Advance systems; for Game Boy Advance SP systems, Nintendo would release the 6PIN Protection Cover (AGB-016), a plastic shell designed to permanently fit flush over the 6-pin Link Cable passthrough connector to prevent it from being damaged. The device is also fully compatible with the Game Boy Player, allowing it to be used with Nintendo GameCube games.
The e-Reader is designed to scan special e-Cards to add content into games. e-Cards use Olympus's patented "Dot Code Technology" for data storage; each card has a series of dots printed on them that is interpreted by the e-Reader when scanned. These dot codes can be either short strips on the bottom of the card (1.4 KB), or long strips on the side (2.2 KB), and can be printed on both sides of the card. The device itself features 8 MB of flash memory and 64 MB of mask ROM data, allowing certain games to be saved to the e-Reader.
- According to Nintendo Power issue 169, it would take roughly 62,500 e-Reader cards to equal the storage capacity of one Nintendo GameCube Game Disc.
e-Reader on other NIWA Wikis:
- Nintendo will not release E-Reader in Europe. Eurogamer (July 8, 2004). Retrieved June 3, 2017.
- Nintendo e-Reader 6PIN Protection Cover and Urban Champion. retrostuff.org (April 23, 2014). Retrieved June 3, 2017.