Category: Trinkets

My e-Reader Card Collection: Nintendo’s Last Straw.

I have made a fair share of questionable purchases over the years. Back when I was still a Nintendo apologist, during the heydays of Gamecube puttering along way behind the PS2 and when the Game Boy Advance was king of all portable gaming, I had bought stuff that in hindsight wasn’t that useful. Such as the GBA-GC link cable that connected a GBA to a Gamecube to transfer data, or in the case of games like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, have all the action take place on the GBA.


This looks neat at first glance, doesn’t it? Oh, if only.

But that isn’t nearly as much in terms of questionable purchasing decisions as me buying into Nintendo’s e-Reader. Not to be confused with an eBook reader, the e-Reader was a Game Boy Advance add-on where you could scan cards with codes printed on the side to get cool goodies. It sounds like a good idea on paper, but the execution was poor: Games sometimes needed 3-10 codes scanned to play something, you could only hold one thing on the e-Reader’s memory at a time, and you needed a GBA link cable if you wanted to transfer anything from an e-Reader to another system, or the Gamecube.

It was a mess. Needless to say, Nintendo of America wasn’t having more of this and discontinued the thing around 2004. Thus leaving me with a bunch of cards I had acquired that I didn’t really have much use for anymore.


52 e-reader pickup (digital photography, 2018)

Over 15 years after the e-Reader came out, I still have the damn cards. And I’m gonna show some of them off here. Now, these aren’t the most rare, or the most valuable, these are just cards I find interesting, because they have a story to them. Note I’m only gonna list cards I personally own, as much as it would be interesting to write about Japanese exclusive e-Reader cards, I don’t have those.


Props to Nintendo for using the original Famicom cover art, at least.

Donkey Kong Jr.-e

One of the two pack-in classic games – the other being Pinball – this was part of the “Classic NES Series” which featured almost nothing but early NES games, the ones you see crop up everywhere on Nintendo platforms: Donkey Kong, Balloon Fight, Ice Climber, even much-maligned brawler Urban Champion got the e-Reader treatment.

The first card shows how to play the game, with each subsequent card giving some important tips on how to play and eventually master the game. It’s nice considering people even of my generation never grew up on the older NES catalog, but them not being based on more “powerful” NES games like Super Mario Bros. really made this particular series only interesting to diehard Nintendo fans.

It also didn’t help it came on five cards, with one set of two dot codes each. That’s 10 codes I had to scan to play this thing. Worst off, if I wanted to play any other game, I had to remove the game from memory, thus requiring me to scan all ten codes again if I wanted to replay it.

Funny enough, some of these games later got treatment as part of a brief stint of a different “Classic NES Series,” which was on traditional cartridges. These featured more of the NES classics you’d be familiar with, like The Legend of Zelda and Metroid. Why scan 10 codes of Ice Climber when you could buy the same thing for a higher price on a traditional cartridge? Nintendo probably didn’t think that one through too well.

I’ve seen some of these Classic NES Series card packs on sale during the Portland Retro Gaming Expo, and I sometimes get the temptation to get another one of these. Then I realize I’d have to scan 10 codes, and I could play that game elsewhere with less hassle.

…Have I mentioned I hated having to scan 10 freakin’ codes yet?

Continue reading…

Random digital video game goodies, Volume 1.

video game closet collage

I am a master at image manipulation.

For the past several years, I’ve been collecting my fair share of random video game stuff. Some of which I’ve talked about on this blog, others of which I still need to get around to. But it hasn’t just been physical stuff I find at Goodwills and other places, oh no. It’s also been loads of digital stuff.

Many years ago, back when I had a crappy old HP Pavilion PC with Windows Vista, 2GB of RAM, and 250GB of hard drive space, I was hoarding lots of digital video game goodies. Wallpapers, soundtracks, press kits, the works. That practice continued when I got my current PC in 2013, where I let them lay in my cluttered downloads folder. It didn’t dawn on me until I started moving it to a unique folder on my hard drive that I thought these were worth sharing, just like everything else I do on this blog.

The downside is that I’m slowly rebuilding my collection. When I was on the old PC, there were times where I had to delete some files to save space. So for now, some of the things I had are lost to time, unless I find them again somewhere. If these are still available on the official website, I’ll happily link to where you can get them, otherwise I’ll slap them up on my Dropbox for those who want it.

So let’s clean out my digital closet with these goodies…

Payday 2 wallpapers and posters!


Payday 2 has slowly become one of my favorite games in recent memory. While it’s flawed in many areas, it’s still a fun action-packed ride. For some of Payday 2‘s updates in 2014, Overkill was releasing free goodies to go along with the big Team Fortress 2-style update pages. This included wallpapers for the Shadow Raid mission featuring the Payday crew, a poster advertising the crossover between Payday 2 and Hotline Miami, and the Gage Assault Pack, featuring the smirk of weapons dealer Gage as he holds a FAMAS and carries an M79 on his back.

Thankfully Overkill is damn generous and put these wallpapers on their official website, however they’re only for 16:9 monitors on 1920×1080, so ones with other setups are left in the cold, which is a shame.

Here’s something I’m wondering: Does anyone still rock a 4:3 monitor in this day and age?

You can grab these and some of the wallpapers at Overkill’s fan service page. Some of the individual update pages have more, but not all of them do.

Shadowgate NES ringtones!


I heard these games were notorious for being real dickish to you. I wonder how they got so popular, then…

I didn’t know about this until recently, but there was a reboot for Shadowgate a while back. As I never played any of the MacVenture series of games I can’t say much about it, but developer Zojoi didn’t want to forget the roots of the NES version. So they released a set of ringtones based from the NES soundtrack by composer Hiroyuki Masuno.* Now you can listen to some of those tracks without needing a pesky media player. Or you can pretend you’re the Gaming in the Clinton Years guy and have that Hall of Mirrors track as your ringtone. Either way, a nice treat considering how classic some of that music is.

You can snag those ringtones at the developer’s website here.

(*-Until very recently, no one knew who composed the special music for the NES MacVenture games. Thanks to the Video Game Music Preservation Foundation for solving the mystery of who composed those great tunes. Those guys do the heavy lifting not many others do, and it’s pretty great for a guy like me who loves nerding out about video game music.)

Continue reading…

Sega Hot Wheels, from 2003.

Back in late 2012, I wrote about Atari Hot Wheels. These were Hot Wheels cars based on old Atari games that had rather dubious car choices. At the end of the article, I had mentioned that I also had Sega Hot Wheels, and that I’d get around to writing about them someday. Well, now is the time, because I finally completed the whole set a few days ago.

So the Atari ones were not the first video game tie-in Hot Wheels cars. These Sega ones came considerably earlier, from 2003 to be exact. By this time Sega had already abandoned their console heritage and started publishing games for the other game systems like the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox. Each car is based off an existing Sega game from around that time period, and like the Atari Hot Wheels, a few of them are based on unique Hot Wheels lines than real cars. But enough about that, let’s look at the cars themselves:

  • A car from the “Fandango” series based on Space Channel 5
  • A car from the “Phaeton” series based on The House of the Dead III
  • A 2003 Lotus Esprit, based on the Shinobi reboot
  • A car from the “GT Racer” series based on Super Monkey Ball
  • and a custom 2003 Mercury Cougar based on Jet Set Radio Future.

These cars give a perfect snapshot of Sega from this period. This was back when they were experimenting with old series frequently and making sequels to games like Jet Set Radio. This was back when Sega actually cared and made cool new games, as opposed to today where they’re content with pumping out mediocre Sonic the Hedgehog games while making decent bank on the Total War and Football Manager series. But I digress.

The Sega Hot Wheels look considerably cooler than the Atari ones, as they’re based on car lines that would seem grounded in reality rather than the weird toy cars they made for the Atari ones. You could probably use these on those Hot Wheels racing tracks that were super popular twenty years ago. I think I still have mine kicking around somewhere…

As for how I got these, it’s a little more complicated than paying $12 at a Bi-Mart for them. I already had the Space Channel 5Shinobi and Super Monkey Ball cars as they were in a giant bin full of 2001-2004 era Hot Wheels cars that we have that probably have little to no value. I found the House of the Dead III car at a garage sale last year, and picked up the JSRF car at an antique store in Milwaukie, OR for the low low price of 50 cents. So now I have two complete Hot Wheels sets. This, along with having a Back to the Future DeLorean Hot Wheels, makes me have a pretty modest Hot Wheels collection now. Though, I probably won’t start collecting all of them, I do have my limits.

Now, I’m willing to bet that these aren’t all the video game Hot Wheels out there. Knowing Nintendo’s crazy marketing frenzy in the early ’90s, there might be a Mario car. There might’ve been other companies willing to make deals with Mattel for more Hot Wheels tie-ins. If there’s any more like these, let me know in the comments (or on Twitter, Facebook, et al) and maybe I’ll be back here again talking about other Hot Wheels cars based on video games.

What a way to start 2014, with more silly game trinkets…

A pile of items off my desk.

So I’m a messy person. My desk is usually cluttered with loads of junk on it. It doesn’t help that my desk is straight out of 1995, complete with old shelves and cut holes to plug stuff in like printers. I was fed up, and on Monday I decided to clean up my desk. It’s less of a mess now, but I then found a bunch of junk that I couldn’t have the heart to throw away.

I had a bunch of old school IDs and school bus passes, papers for stuff I did about 2-3 years ago, old phone bills, and just loads and loads of junk I should’ve tossed. But there’s a small amount of stuff I found that’s worth writing something about. So here it is:

Isn’t it a pretty sight? Yeah, this might have more toys than games, I don’t think you guys will mind. Let’s start from the top.

  • Atari Catalog from 1982 (?). I honestly forgot I had this. Covers Atari’s game library for the 2600. Sadly, the front cover is badly damaged, but the rest of it is in good shape. You could sign up for the Atari Game Club, which apparently someone did. I think I got this along with some 2600 boxes and a Super Mario Bros. 3 guide from a garage sale years ago.
  • Laser Pop projector candy. It’s a sucker that doubled as a flashlight. Got this years ago as a gimmick purchase, held onto it because of the concept. I’ve heard of Ring Pops, but I didn’t see Laser Pops getting popular. The light still works, surprisingly.
  • Twin Super Brick Game 2-in-1: It’s a Chinese Tetris Clone. Got this somewhere, complete with a box that had “SUPER BRICK CAME” on the side of it. If I ever find the box, I’ll give this a quick video review.
  • Tiger Electronics catalog from 1998. Ah, Tiger Electronics. Makers of so many god damn electronic handheld games that now rot on the shelves of Goodwills everywhere. I’m actually fascinated by a bunch of the items on display, like the and R-Zone, Tiger’s attempts to tackle the portable video game market, as well as the “grip games” featuring Duke Nukem 3D. They were even selling Talkboys! I was surprised those were still popular by this time!
  • Back to the Future watch. I like Back to the Future. It’s my favorite film trilogy, partially because of the time travel aspect, but because it has such a wonderful charm over 25 years later. The watch itself is more stylized like an old style watch where you’d put it on your belt or something. I honestly don’t know where I got this.
  • SEGA IR7000 Communicator. This is a really nice piece of obscurity: A Sega PDA from the late 90s. It does the typical PDA stuff: Calendars, contacts, a calculator… But it also had a fighting game where you’d fight with other owners of the IR7000 and get XP, or compete against the AI, which was a cheating bastard. Alas, I’ve never found anyone else who owned this thing. $10 at a Goodwill long long ago.
  • Destructoid sticker. Got this at PAX Prime 2012. Destructoid is an alright site worth visiting.
  • My old phone. A Samsung Transform. My first smartphone, and it was one hell of a learning experience, realizing the thing ran an old version of the Android OS, was slow as hell, and couldn’t play any games. I upgraded to a Galaxy SIII this year, and it’s a drastic improvement.
  • Back to the Future Part II model DeLorean. Inspired by Micro Machines, this came in a two-car set along with the futuristic car from 2015 (that I’ve since lost). Pretty cool toy.
  • Pokemon Tic-Tac-Toe. This is really cool: It reminds me of the old “Toss Across” games, even though it’s just regular ass Tic-Tac-Toe. You flip the knobs on the side to reveal Pikachu or Raichu. It’s built on a keychain, so I bet a kid circa 1999 could be the cool kid on the block with this toy. Okay, maybe not, but it’s a cool toy nonetheless.
  • Link figure from The Legend of Zelda. I think I got this at a Round Table Pizza at one of them vending machines that dispensed toys. I had another cool toy from that same place: A mini-projector of images from Super Donkey Kong 2. Yeah, somehow a Japanese toy came to the US without anyone questioning it, or even correcting it to the US title (Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest). Sadly that got damaged and thrown away a long time ago. 🙁
  • Army figurine. One of two items from the Wunderland visit back in December. The other item, the top, is in a plastic bag somewhere.
  • Chuck E. Cheese token. Oh snap, this is a blast from the past. Remember Chuck E. Cheese? If you don’t, it was much cooler when you were a kid. Nowadays they’re probably a shadow of their former selves. Funny enough, there is still a Chuck E. Cheese not too far from my house. I bet it’s a joy to visit these days.
  • Rubber band Axe. This is from some PAX booth, I just couldn’t tell you which one.
  • Bunch of old DDR1 RAM. I end up with a bunch of old computer junk, like video cards from years ago, a PCI wireless adapter that supports 802.11b, and this RAM. I think there’s about 2-3GB there. The question is: Who needs DDR1 RAM nowadays? Does it even work? If it doesn’t, where would you go to get rid of it besides tossing it into the trash?
  • Senario Games motion basketball LCD game. Our final item is a weird LCD game where you use the shoulder buttons on the ball to shoot in the game. Bought this at a Sporting Goods store, probably isn’t fun at all to play.

As for the other stuff in the picture, it’s just dinky stuff like a hairbrush,  my watch, and a Swiffer duster. Nothing too special there. Yeah, this was a silly entry for me to write. But I have a bunch of game-related junk, and I like sharing it to people. Someone’s bound to find this cool, right? 🙂

Also, I did a lot of stuff yesterday, including finding some game and magazine deals, which will be featured in an upcoming Game Finds video. Stay tuned!