The Barcode Battler was the epitome of early 90's handheld electronic gaming contraptions. It was a huge piece of black plastic with a LCD display and a few cryptic face buttons that absolutely decimated any batteries you put in it. When I first read about the device in whatever gaming magazine I was reading at the time, my mind was blown. The idea was that you went scavenging around hunting for barcodes, and after scanning them in to this monstrosity you discovered if that barcode was actually a powerful fighter, a useful item, or something like that. Incredible, right? Well, it was back then.

Unfortunately actually "playing" with the thing was entirely underwhelming, as it almost never could read any barcodes. Also, when it did, it just displayed three numbers indicating whatever statistics the device used to display your character. In other words, the Barcode Battler itself turned out to be the exact polar opposite of what you were expecting and imagining between the time you first read about it and when you actually got to getting your hands on one.

Check out this shockingly accurate video review of the Barcode Battler:

iPhone developers Önders et Gonas share an apparent love for wacky early portable electronics, and are in the midst of developing Warcode. Warcode is an iOS game playable on devices with autofocus cameras (So, the iPhone 4 and 3GS.) and sounds like it could be pretty cool based on the somewhat vague information posted in the Warcode thread in our upcoming games forum.

From the looks of it, you'll be able to scan in barcodes similar to the utility RedLaser [Free] to generate items and warriors much like the Barcode Battler. The main difference here is that Warcode sounds like it will have actual gameplay in the form of a single player campaign and Game Center-powered multiplayer.

I'm glad that it only took twenty years for someone to take the Barcode Battler and turn it in to what it should have been. I can't wait for Warcode to be released, as I have a feeling this barcode on this crazy mint flavored Orangina is going to be a beastly warrior (or cowboy, if the label is to be believed).

  • Facebook User

    Heh, I still have a barcode battler new in the box.

  • Jim

    The first barcode he tried to scan was an item: that's why it didn't work. And you don't need to fight monsters in 2 player (C-0) mode. Also, the monsters are numbered according to difficulty for the campaign mode so your character stands a fair chance in the beginning and is much stronger by the time you get to the higher level bosses.

    But it wasn't as exciting as the commercial made it seem; no.

  • Unclebobo

    The Monster Rancher Playstation games would generate monsters from your Music/Game CD Collection...

  • Rirath

    Finally. I've been dying for someone to make something like this on iOS since I first used RedLaser. There's an Android game going around, which looks so-so, but nothing for iOS. I really hope the single player is fun.

    And yes, I loved Monster Rancher. Such an amazing and under-rated game.

  • Kunioi

    So will this not work on the ipod touch 4g because it has no autofocus camera? Other barcode scanners work on the ipod 4 according to youtube. (I'm wondering if that would mean this game wouldn't work on the ipad 2 if it gets the same cameras as the ipod 4)

  • Simon Windmill

    I was always fascinated by Barcode Battlers, but the stuff outside of Japan was so lame by comparison. Check out the Japanese cards here out:

    And I love the other generative games like Monster Rancher, too.

  • Anonymous

    Wow...... I vaguely recall being aware of the Barcode Battler but never saw one. I always just assumed that the idea was that you scanned in actual barcodes from real-world products, not barcodes on cards specifically for the device. How long lasting could the enjoyment of this thing have been?

  • Jjp05c

    I still have my barcode battler somewhere in a box. Good times.

  • Chris H.

    So, no one here has ever heard of Skannerz?


    • Anonymous

      Only b'cos you reminded me. Didn't have one either.

      What I do remember is the local newspapers trying to hype them up as the video nasty of it's day, with articles about kids running rampant around the supermarkets zapping barcodes for some elusive super monster item.

  • ChrisC

    Dude I can see it now people running around walmart in a scanning

  • ChrisC

    Dude I can see it now people running around walmart in a scanning

  • iTouchAppReviewers

    WOW I want this to work on my iPod touch 4th Gen 🙁

  • Grant

    Dude i had a "skannerz." great fun for a while, then I discovered that my "health" card was defective, so i could never heal my monsters... i threw it away. If i remember correctly, you could hook two skannerz together to battle your friends. I thought it was awesome but none of my friends bought one. Btw i was a child at the time.

  • warfare2d

    Another good game is Warfare 2D