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Release date Japan December 1, 2001[1]
USA September 16, 2002[2]
Mexico September 16, 2002[3]
Australia October 31, 2003[4]
Discontinued USA Spring 2004[5]
Japan September 2008[5]

The e-Reader is an add-on device for the Game Boy Advance released in 2001 that can read dot codes on special cards and interpret them into data. While it is compatible with the Game Boy Advance SP, it does not mount properly without an attachable plastic cover for the link socket that was available only in Australia and the later Japanese release. Depending on the card, the data may contain either information or some type of minigame. Several Nintendo Entertainment System games were also made available on special packs of cards, but the 2-player modes have been removed. It took a total of nine or ten dot codes (two per card) to store the data of an NES game.

There are two versions of the e-Reader.[6] The original 2001 version, which never left Japan, had no linking capabilities, and thus was unable to be used for games such as Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3. It also could not store games due to memory limitations. In 2002, Nintendo added linking capabilities, the ability to store games, and emulate NES titles when it released this new version in North America. This updated version was released as the "Card e-Reader +" in Japan in 2003. Japanese e-Readers, regardless of the version, cannot read foreign e-Reader cards. The same is true for foreign e-Readers and Japanese cards.[7]

The e-Reader was packaged with either Donkey Kong Jr.-e or Pinball-e and a "sampler pack" containing cards from other franchises.

Some Animal Crossing cards featured Super Mario-themed designs that could be uploaded into the game. One card even rewarded the player with a copy of Mario Bros. to place in their home.

In 2003, Nintendo released Mario Party-e, a portable board game which included numerous e-Reader cards, some of which contained minigames. However, the e-Reader was not mandatory in order to play the main game.

Later that year, Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 was released. By linking a Game Boy Advance with the game to a second Game Boy Advance with an e-Reader, a player could use three special types of cards.

  • Power-Up Cards: A player could scan in items to add to their inventory. There was no limit to this option. There were also special switches that triggered new options in the game.
  • Demo Cards: Upon scanning a Demo Card, the player was treated to recording of how to either uncover a secret in a level, or see a single-level speedrun.
  • Level Cards: Probably the most desired, scanning these would add brand new levels into the game.

The device was never released in Europe, with Nintendo saying "the market potential wasn’t great enough".[8] As a result, e-Reader functionality was absent in the European versions of the respective games.[citation needed] In 2004, Nintendo discontinued the e-Reader outside of Japan due to low sales. However, it was supported in Japan until the end of the Game Boy Advance's lifespan. Many cards, particularly the new Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 levels and a set of bonus levels for Mario vs. Donkey Kong, were never seen elsewhere. The unreleased Super Mario Advance 4 levels were eventually made available internationally when the game was released on the Wii U Virtual Console, which has all of World-e unlocked from the start. In 2023, these levels would also be made available again on Game Boy Advance - Nintendo Switch Online.

There was a plan for an e-Reader line that featured classic and Super Mario-themed modern versions of various Game & Watch games similar to the Game & Watch Gallery series, but it was canceled.[9] The Mario Kart: Super Circuit website suggested that e-Reader compatibility might have been planned for this game.[citation needed]

Compatible games[edit]

Super Mario classic NES games[edit]

Game Donkey Kong-e Donkey Kong Jr.-e Donkey Kong 3-e Golf-e Mario Bros.-e Pinball-e
Donkey Kong-e
Donkey Kong Jr.-e
Donkey Kong 3 e-Reader
Golf e-Reader
Box mb-e.jpg
Pinball e-Reader
Card 1 Pauline's been kidnapped by Donkey Kong! She awaits your help at the top of the steel girders–can you rescue her from the ape's clutches?

+ Control Pad
Up & Down -Mario climbs the ladder
Left & Right -Mario runs

L Button + R Button
Resets game to Title Screen


Selects game mode

  • Game A is beginner mode
  • Game B is expert mode

A Button

B Button
Not used

Mario has gone ape and locked your father, Donkey Kong, in a cage. Steal the keys from Mario to set your papa free!

+ Control Pad Moves character

L Button + R Button Resets game to Title Screen

START Start/Pause

SELECT Selects game mode

  • Game A is beginner game
  • Game B is expert mode

A Button Jumps

B Button Not used

Stanley the bug man has his hands full in the greenhouse. Use your spray can to ward off any pesky critters, including Donkey Kong!

+ Control Pad Moves player

L Button + R Button Resets game to Title Screen

START Start/Pause

SELECT Selects game mode

  • Game A is beginner mode
  • Game B is expert mode

A or B Button Uses spray can

Gaze down the fairway, check your lie, and swing away–just don't forget to replace your divots! You are golfing on an 18-hole championship course, so you'd better be up to par!

+ Control Pad Up & Down selects club Left & Right changes stance

L Button + R Button Resets game to Title Screen

START Start/Pause

A Button First press-Starts the backswing Second press-Starts the downswing Third press-Determines the point of impact

There are pests in the plumbing and Mario has arrived to flush them out. Test your skills as a beginner or expert exterminator.

+ Control Pad Moves player (Up & Down not used)

L Button + R Button Resets game to Title Screen

START Start/Pause

SELECT Selects game mode

  • Game A is beginner mode
  • Game B is expert mode

A Button Jumps

B Button Not used

Get the highest score possible by hitting targets with the pinball.

+ Control Pad Operates left flippers

L Button + R Button Resets game to Title Screen

START Start/Pause

SELECT Selects game mode

  • Game A is beginner mode
  • Game B is expert mode

A Button Releases pinball Operates right flippers

B Button Same as A Button


There are three levels to clear before Mario is reunited with his sweetheart. After that the game loops and gets progressively more difficult.

Rounds 1 and 2: Mario has to climb to the top of the structure where Pauline awaits. Donkey Kong throws fireballs, Jacks and Barrels to foil you!

Round 3: Mario must undo eight bolts by running over them. This will cause the collapse of the structure and the downfall of Donkey Kong!


In Rounds 1 through 3, work your way to the top of the level to reach the key. In Round 4, carry all six keys to the top of the level and put them into their keyholes to free Donkey Kong. Once Donkey Kong is free, the game starts again, but faster and more exciting. Test your skill by saving your father against greater odds.

BEWARE! Each time you collide with a spark, fall from a vine, get bitten by a Snapjaw, or get pecked by a Nitpicker, you'll lose a life. Once all of your lives are gone, the game is over.


Spray repeatedly to force Donkey Kong up to the top of the vines and zap the bees.

A power spray can is attached to the vine. Spray Donkey Kong to where the power spray can is attached and it will drop to where Stanley can reach it. Use it when you are in trouble and need to fight back.

The bees come to get the flowers at the bottom of the screen. Zap them before they return to their hive.

The round ends when Donkey Kong is successfully defeated or all the bees are eliminated.


Shots from the tee, fairway, and bunker A. Select a club (Press Up/Down on the + Control Pad)

B. Press the A Button 3 times to shoot.

1) Press the A Button to start the backswing on the swing meter.
2) Press it again to stop the backswing and start the downswing. (This determines the flying distance.)
3) Press it one more time to determine how the ball curves during flight.

C. The direction you face can be changed by pressing Left or Right on the + Control Pad.

The arrow on the course [up arrow] indicates which direction you are facing.)

D. The WIND direction is displayed on the left side of the screen with an arrow.


As bad guys fly out of the pipes, punch them from below to stun them. After a short time, they get up faster than before, so kick them while they're down to finish them off.

Eliminate all the pests to complete each round. The rounds get progressively harder with new enemies as you go along.

You only have a limited time to finish a round before Fireballs show up–don't waste a second!


Your first pinball will appear at the bottom of the plunger lane, in the lower right corner of the screen. The A Button launches the pinball onto the table. The longer the A button is held down, the harder the pinball will be hit with the plunger.

Once the pinball is on the table, use the flippers to hit it. You can direct the pinball to aim for targets, hit the correct combination at the slots, and unlock the Mario mini-game. If three pinballs are lost, the game is over.


You can gain points by picking up Pauline's lost parasol and purse. It pays to be alert! You get an extra life if your score exceeds 20,000. Gain points by bonking a Barrel or Fireball with your Hammer. You also get points if you successfully jump a Barrel.

Bonus points are added to your score when you reach Pauline. But if you take too much time to reach her, these points will decrease. The sooner you finish the level, the better!


Use these two special moves to help speed up the action:

  • Grab onto two vines at a time to speed to the top.
  • Go down quicker by sliding down just one vine.

Five hundred bonus points are awarded for each remaining flower at the end of the round. Defend them all to receive an extra 500!

  • Queen Buzzbee–700 points
  • Buzzbee with a flower–400 points
  • Beespy–400 points
  • Attacker–200 points
  • Buzzbee–100 points

Time bonus points - Any time left at the end of the round is added to your score.

The first 50,000 points will earn you an extra life!


Putting A. Press the A Button twice to putt.

1) Press the A Button to start the backswing.
2) Press the A Button again to start the downswing. (Where you start the downswing determines the rolling distance.)

B. The ball will be hit toward the target mark (+) on the screen. Before putting, use the + Control Pad to aim the target mark in the desired direction.

C. The (v) mark on the green indicates the grade of the turf. (The roll of the putt will change according to the conditions of the turf.)


There are five types of enemies in the game: Turtles, Crabs, Fighter Flies, Fireballs, and Freezies.

Turtles need one hit to flip, while crabs require two. Fighter Flies can only be flipped when they touch the surface.

Freezies come along later in the game to freeze the beam and make life slippery! Two types of Fireballs, red and green will heat you up. Only the POW can get rid of the green ones.

  • A 3-3-3 combination gives you a 3,330 point bonus and the block post is raised for six seconds.
  • A 7-7-7 combination gives you a 7,770 point bonus and the block post is raised for 14 seconds.
  • A three-penguin combination raises the block post and all points earned while it is raised are doubled.

TIP: The block post is lowered when the pinball goes through the lane on the right hand side of the table.


Take advantage of jumps. Use your jumping skills to avoid Barrels, Jacks, and Fireballs. Pauline's waiting!

You can jump left, right, or upward. Press the + Control Pad in the direction you want to jump as you press the A Button. Note that Mario cannot jump on or off the ladders.

Mario can jump the distance of two sections of the steel girders. He can only survive a jump down the height of two sections of the steel girders– the same as Mario's height.


Timing is everything! In Round 2, press the A Button at just the right time and you'll launch off the springboard onto the moving island.

Drop fruit from vines on your enemies to get extra points.

Score 20,000 points and earn an extra life!


Includes: Beespy, Buzzbee, Attacker, and Queen Buzzbee. (As the rounds advance, other pesky bugs will also appear.)

Creepy the snake will crawl down from the palm trees to attack. Its movement is slow, but it can quickly revive after being sprayed. Chase the "Creepies" back into the trees, and knock out the ones on the floor. You can safely walk past unconscious "Creepies."

BEE-WARE! Each time you collide with a creepy, get stung by a bee, are hit with a stinger, or are hit by a coconut thrown by Donkey Kong, you lose a life. You will also lose a life if the timer runs down to zero or Donkey Kong drops to the floor.


If a ball goes OB (Out of Bounds), you are penalized 2 strokes, and the ball is played from where it was lying before going OB.

The Ocean, ponds, rivers, etc., are considered water hazards. If a ball lands in one of these, you are penalized 1 stroke, and the ball is played from a set location.

The flying distance of a bunker shot is calculated as half that of a fairway shot.

*Note: Some of these differ from real golf rules.


Punch the fireballs when they hit the floor to get higher scores. But beware–revived red fireballs are dangerous!

When you exterminate a pest, a coin appears. Hit it to add points to your score. You get special high scores for kicking down several baddies in a row. When your score passes 20,000, you get an extra life.

Periodic bonus rounds let you earn more bonus points. Collect 10 within a limited time for a perfect score.


An extra pinball is earned at 50,000 points.

The flippers and block post disappear after 100,000 points and reappear after 150,000 points. Knock out one lane light in the top left corner and receive 100 points. Knock out all lane lights and receive 2,000 points.

Each card that is turned over by the pinball is worth 500 points. If five spades are turned over in a row, you'll receive a 5,000-point bonus and the block post is raised.


Level 1: Two Hammers are on this level. Each can be used only once. Find the right place, grab it, and use it to bonk Fireballs and Barrels!

Level 2: The Jacks come down on a set course, so they're easy to avoid. Wait in front of the position where the Jack will bounce. After it passes, its safe to move on.

Level 3: Undoing the bolts needs to be done quickly because the number of attacking Fireballs increases. The best way to proceed is to go from the lower left upward and then from the upper right downward.


Keys: Pick up the keys to Donkey Kong's cage (Rounds 1-3). Insert keys into keyholes to free Donkey Kong (Round 4).

Fruit: Pick up fruit for extra bonus points.


The key to success is to fire the spray cans as fast as possible at Donkey Kong while avoiding various enemies.

Remember to jump closer to Donkey Kong to get a better shot at him.

In the second round, be sure not to stun all of the "Creepies" directly in front of Donkey Kong. It will make it much more difficult to hit him.

Remember, when attacking the Queen Buzzbies, it takes two shots to knock them out. Upon defeat they will shoot their stingers in four different directions. Directly below them is the ideal place to be.


Impact the ball when the swing meter is on the white line and a straight shot will be hit. If it is to the left of the line, the ball will slice.

If it is to the right, the ball will hook.

If the wind speed is great enough, it can seriously affect your drive. Make sure to check it before each shot.

Sand traps can ruin your day. Be sure to steer clear of them every chance you get.

Occasionally you'll get close to the hole without being on the green. Don't hesitate to putt the ball from where it lies–it can be a great way to make Par.


If a flipped enemy is hit again, it will be returned to full health and be faster and deadlier than ever! If left alone they can also flip themselves over. Try to eliminate them ASAP!

Using the POW delivers a hit to all pests that are touching a beam. A POW hit equals one hit, so crabs still need to be hit twice to flip. You only get three POW hits before it disappears.

Mario can walk through the left edge of the screen to reappear on the right, and vice versa. Use this to your advantage!


You'll be able to play this game when you direct the pinball into the hole on the right of the cards.

Use the + Control Pad to move Mario, rebounding the balls that come down. When the lady appears at the top of the screen, prevent her from falling. If she does fall, position Mario so she can catch her.


  • If Mario doesn't catch her, you lose a ball.
  • If Mario catches her safely to the exit, you'll receive a 10,000-point bonus.
  • If Mario drops her on the way to the Exit, you lose a ball.
  • If you lose a ball, the mini-game will end.