Barcode Battler

Barcode Battler

Infobox CVG system
title = Barcode Battler

manufacturer = Epoch Co., Ltd.
type = Handheld gaming console
generation = Handheld LCD game
lifespan = March 1991
media = N/A
The Barcode Battler was a handheld gaming console released by Epoch in March 1991.

The console was supplied with a number of cards, each of which had a barcode. Upon starting the game, the player had to swipe a barcode representing a player. The game used barcodes to create a character for the player to use. Not all barcodes worked as players, instead some represented enemies or powerups. As well as the barcodes provided with the game itself, players were encouraged to find their own barcodes from everyday products. Despite this, the Barcode Battler was unable to read most of the barcodes.

Once the game itself was started, the characters "battled" against each other. The characters statistics, combined with a random number generator, determined the outcome of each round in the fight.


The original Barcode Battler was released by Epoch in Japan only. It was identical in shape to the world-wide released Barcode Battler and had a white case.

Battles on this machine were much more simplistic than its successor, with support only for "Soldiers" (re-named in the world-wide release as "Warriors"), and infinite Survival points.

In 1992, the Barcode Battler II was released. It featured an extended single player mode, a wider variety of game elements, and an output port which allowed connection to the Famicom and Super Famicom for play with certain games. The functionality of the Barcode Battler II while on this connection was purely as a barcode reader and the gameplay depended purely on the game cartridge in the machine it was connected to.

Some time in 1992/1993 Epoch released the Barcode Battler II across the world, under the name of Barcode Battler. Essentially, the world wide release differed from the Japanese model only in the design of the LCD screen - it had English words instead of Japanese words. It still had the output port, but no games supported it outside of Japanese releases.Also, the artwork on the manuals and barcode cards differed to suit the Western gaming audience.


The Barcode Battler was very popular in Japan - the idea of collecting barcodes to find out what they would equate to in the gaming world fired the imaginations of many people.There are those who would suggest this is the inspiration behind some other games, such as Pokémon.

Outside of Japan it was a massive flop - it was hyped up, and sold in shops alongside the Nintendo Game Boy, and the Sega Game Gear, to which it bore some superficial similarities. Ultimately, the Game Boy and Game Gear proved to be more popular in Europe and the United States, probably due to the wider number of game cartridges available for these systems. By comparison, the gameplay of the Barcode Battler was repetitive, featured no graphics, sound effects or controls, and it was quickly forgotten by the general gaming public.

However, the recent release of barcode games in arcades in the UK such as Dinosaur King and Love and Berry has shown that there is now an interest in the market. The Barcode Battler grew in popularity in Japan so much that special edition cards were created. The special edition cards were characters from Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, and many more. These cards had their own barcodes and unique stats and powers. The special edition cards looked like this: [
] & [

ee also

* Barcode Games
* Skannerz


External links

* [ Combat King's Barcode Battler Website]
* [ Dr. Ashens reviews the Barcode Battler]

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