One of the main themes in the history of Nintendo is “ahead of its time.” Take the Virtual Boy, the largest hardware failure in the history of consumer gaming. It took over a decade for the stereoscopic 3-D Nintendo was so keen on to become marketable, in 3DS form. Or take the Game Boy Advance-GameCube Link Cable, which Nintendo pushed harder than just about anything else. It got released about ten years before cross-platform connectivity became a buzzword.
But what about our obscure friend, the e-Reader?
I had one. I still have one. It still works. I still have a couple of Animal Crossing cards that it’s still perfectly capable of scanning, even though it takes a few tries. But it was pretty unwieldy. It took several cards to start up an NES game, it took two connected GBAs for some features, and a GBA-GCN connection for some others.
It caught on in Japan but never in the USA or Europe and it was discontinued by 2004. Why not? Was it because keeping track of all the cards and their respective games was too difficult?
Was it because it wasn’t practical to release things that had little to no intrinsic value (except as collectibles) when separated from their associated games and functions?
Maybe it was because many of the cards themselves weren’t really necessary for the games they were tied to. I guess we’ll never know. For the record, e-Reader cards themselves are now highly collectible, as any __________ card becomes after enough years.
I don’t think anyone wants my crinkly Tom Nook one, though.