Nintendo E-Reader

Review

posted 1/11/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: GBA
In a move of sheer brilliance, Nintendo has said to hell with today’s technology and has instead opted to heed the calls of the millions of gamers who have wondered what it would be like to play 10-year-old games on their two-year-old hardware. Thus begat the E-reader a brilliant little contraption that won’t exactly be wowing today’s sensory intensive audiences but will do well to cater to the hordes of 30-something gamers who are looking to relive their youths.

What is the E-reader exactly? Consider it an emulator for your GameBoy Advance but then again, it’s so much more than that. Consider it an emulator that has the ability to extend the life of your favorite games, namely Animal Crossing, and then you’ll have a great idea of what the E-reader is really about.

What do you get when you throw down the $34.99 for the package? Well you’ll get the actual E-reader itself, a package of five cards that contains the entire Donkey Kong Jr. game on it and another package of cards that contains one Animal Crossing card, three Pokemon Cards, Machoke, Machop and Machamp, and the full game of Manhole, an old Game & Watch title. Scanning the short side of the Pokemon cards will reveal some information about the card while scanning the long sides of the Pokemon cards will unlock a special minigame, in this case it’s a very simplistic rock breaking game. The Animal Crossing cards unlock new features in the game, you’ll have to buy more of them separately in packs that cost $2.99.

The unit itself plugs into the expansion port on the top of your GBA and while the unit contains an additional expansion slot on it, some 3rd party light products, such as the Pelican Light Shield, can’t fit in to the port. Unfortunately this means that you’ll be left to play without a light source which is disastrous in but all of the most optimal lighting conditions. It seems like the only device that fits comfortably into the expansion slot of the E-reader is the GBA to GC cable which, not surprisingly, is one of the unit’s main selling points.

For the most part the games available for the unit are faithful to their NES counterparts right down to the last pixel. Everything looks just as I remembered it and thanks to the smaller, more compact screen, the visuals actually look more clean and crisp. Classics such as ExciteBike and Balloon Fight looked exactly as I remembered and while the graphics are pretty simplistic and archaic, they’ll still manage to be appealing to the fans who are looking to wax nostalgic.
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