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barcode scanning in games

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aust
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Joined: 08/01/2008

I feel like at some point on the bgdf people were discussing barcodes in games, where cards would have barcodes on them and you'd scan the card to get information that you couldn't fit on a card.

I guess now there are iphone apps that can scan barcodes, like this one:
http://www.ismashphone.com/2009/05/red-laser-the-first-accurate-iphone-b...

This seems like a great resource for game design. Have people done this yet? Does enough of the population have iphones to make this possible?

Black Canyon
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Joined: 05/30/2009
It's been done

It has been done before. There was a toy/game called Barcode Battlers that originated from Japan (where else?) where you scanned random bar codes to see what kinds of monsters they created, then you could battle your monsters against your friends'.

Somewhat more recently, there was an accessory for the Gameboy Advance called the e-Card Reader that read a dot matrix-like strip on a card to let you do things on the GBA such as play games, unlock portions of video games, etc. They even included the e-Card strip on a few editions of the Pokemon TCG.

I've always liked the concept, but it hasn't really ever taken off here in the US.

InvisibleJon
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Joined: 07/27/2008
As with so many things, it depends on context...

Somewhat related...

We used a 2-D barcode on a recent promotional postcard that we gave out at PAX. The barcode directed them to our board game's website.

This worked for several reasons:
1) The bar code wasn't essential to get the message across - it simply enhanced the "postcard experience".
2) The bar code took up very little space on the postcard.
3) It's a hip, tech-savvy audience.
4) Scanning a 2-D barcode to get access to "secret information" makes them feel smart and leading-edge. The very fact that it's there provokes that particular crowd to scan it.

My point is that the effectiveness of putting barcodes on your game depends on context. Right now, you can't be certain that everyone who buys your game has access to barcode scanning technology (unless you include it with the game!). Therefore, the bar codes should not be an integral part of the game. If you know that the game will only be played by tech-savvy people (or you want to restrict your audience to them), you can make the bar codes more integral.

There's my 2 cents.

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