Barcode Battler vs iPhone

Barcode Battler

The Barcode Battler was rubbish. Sure, it sounded exciting: turn everyday barcodes into exciting warriors, power-ups and so on, then battle them against others. Brilliant!

The reality was somewhat different. The barcodes had to be swiped through a narrow reader, so to even find out what a barcode was worth involved first cutting it off the packaging and taping it to a card. Which quickly became tedious.

Not to mention that the vast majority of barcodes were a massive waste of time. It also didn’t help that the display was little better than the average scientific calculator.

No wonder they’re now utterly worthless – even boxed – on eBay.

Warcode

I’ve often wondered why the brand hasn’t been revived on iPhone – it can scan barcodes, so it seems like an obvious application.

Warcode - iPhone

There isn’t an officially licensed Barcode Battler app, for whatever reason, but the brilliantly named Önders et Gonas (they’re Swedish) obviously spotted the gap in the market. Hence Warcode.

So, does the wonder of modern technology transform the experience of barcode battling? Not really. If anything, the tedium comes quicker: scanning barcodes is infinitely more efficient using the camera, so it takes less time to tire of searching for those rare powerful barcodes.

The game quickly becomes tricky without at least one very high level warrior in your team of three, and it’s not long until you need three of them. As such, how far through the single-player game you get depends on a how long you can be bothered to keep scanning barcodes, and how lucky you are with those barcodes.

Warcode - iPhone

I must have been quite bothered and quite lucky, having reached the lofty heights of the top hundred on the global leaderboard. Mind you, I was in the top thousand before even playing the game.

The initial barcode scanning is fun though, discovering the variety of warriors and equipment the game offers. A frustrating majority of barcodes seem to translate into one of several sorts of soldier, but there are other varieties of warrior to find – it’s definitely worth searching out foreign barcodes to see what stereotypical treats they conceal.

See, it’s not really about the battling. The attraction is the novelty of turning everyday barcodes into exciting warriors. And that novelty is only ever going to be short-lived.