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A rendering of the e-Reader being used with an original Game Boy Advance

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 unlock new features in existing games, add new features to games that have e-Reader functionality, or to play minigames on the e-Reader itself.

Developed jointly by Creatures, Inc., HAL Laboratory, Inc., and Olympus, the original Japanese Card e-Reader lacked the Game Link Cable functionality when it was released in December 2001. A re-release, the Card e Reader+, added a Game Link Cable port, allowing it to connect to a second Game Boy Advance or a Nintendo GameCube using the same Game Link Cables that the Game Boy Advance system alone would use. This version of the e-Reader was the one that was later released in the West as the e-Reader in September 2002.

Though it was popular in Japan, with e-Cards released until the end of the Game Boy Advance's lifespan, the e-Reader proved to be unpopular in North America, leading to its discontinuation in 2004. e-Reader functionality, included in the Japanese versions of Pokémon FireRed, LeafGreen, and Emerald, was removed from the English and other translations, as the compatible cards were never planned to be released. Due to this early discontinuation, the e-Reader was only released in North America and Australia, though e-Cards were released in Europe as well.

Technical specifications

  • "Dot Code Technology" (Optical scanning technology)
  • 8 Megabit flash memory
  • 64 Megabyte mask ROM
  • The long strip on each e-Card holds 2.2 kilobytes of data.
  • The short strip holds 1.4 kilobytes of data.
  • Passthrough game link port

English Release

To promote the e-Reader prior to its English release, kiosks with built-in Game Boy Advance consoles and e-Reader devices used three placeholder e-Cards to demonstrate its functionality: a "Manhole" card along with Pichu (Expedition 58) and Hoppip (Expedition 112). These three cards, which are slightly thicker than usual Pokémon cards and have a glossy finish, were all hole-punched so they could be attached to the device via a cable to prevent loss or theft whilst allowing enough flexibility for the cards to still be swiped.

It's a common misconception that these cards were the same cards handed out at the E3 Convention in 2002, which also featured a Kirby e-Card, but the Pokémon cards from that event are regular thickness cards without a glossy finish and have a Japanese back instead of regular English back.

Pokémon e-Cards


  • The minigame Machop At Work was included with the purchase of an e-Reader in the United States.
  • According to Nintendo Power v.169, it would take roughly 62,500 e-Reader cards to equal the data on one GameCube disc.
    • However, this is a gross understatement when checked mathematically. Assuming the figure listed in the tech specs of this article (2.2KB per strip) and the standard two-strips-per-card format, it would take approximately 350,320 e-Reader cards.
  • The device was originally going to be called the "Pokémon Card-e-Reader", and the only mentioned functionality for it was reading Pokémon TCG cards.[1]



Pokémon e-Reader applications
Expedition Base Set: Diving CorsolaFlower PowerFlying JourneyGO, Poliwrath!Gotcha!Here Comes GloomHold Down Hoppip
Kingler's DayLifesaverMachop At WorkMagby and MagmarMake A Dash!MetronomeSweet Scent
Aquapolis: Dream EaterHarvest TimeJumping DoduoMighty TyranitarPunching BagsRolling VoltorbSneak and Snatch
Skyridge: Berry TreeDitto LeapfrogFollow HoothootLeek GameNight FlightPika PopRide the TuftWatch Out!
Promotional: Exciting Hide and SeekTime TravelFire HoopsImakuni?'s BallWooper's Juggling GameBig Fruit Strategy!Tokotoko Truck
Construction: Construction: ActionConstruction: Melody Box
Pokémon Battle e series: Pokémon Battle e: Series 1Pokémon Battle e: Series 2Pokémon Colosseum Double Battle e
Pokémon Battle e FireRed & LeafGreenPokémon Battle e EmeraldPokémon Battle e Promotional cards
Berries: Pumkin BerryDrash BerryChilan BerryStrib BerryEggant BerryNutpea Berry
Ginema BerryKuo BerryYago BerryTouga BerryNiniku BerryTopo Berry
Others: Eon TicketPokémon Pinball: Ruby & SapphireSmeargle PaintList of TCG cards by e-Reader card ID
List of TCG cards with hidden attacksList of miscellaneous Pokémon e-Reader applications