Saturday, February 22, 2003

Hack Potential: Skannerz

Skannerz is a relatively new children's electronic toy. It is your basic "collectible" style game with which you collect skills, spells, monsters, etc... for battle with other Skannerz owners. The units can be linked for battle.

The interesting twist is that the Skannerz unit is basically a standard UPC-A symbol scanner. You are supposed to scan random consumer products, some of which will yield various items/skills and some of which yield nothing.

The unit has a built in display, obviously has some persistent memory, the ability for simple networking, a bunch of buttons, and a UPC scanner.

Sounds like some serious hack potential to me...

A Google Search will reveal a bunch of information, but nothing terribly technical yet.

Update: As is so typical, Skannerz is just the imported, Americanized, version of an already existing game called the Barcode Battler. BB appears to be a closed box-- you can only scan cards included with the game. BB's scanner can scan generic consumer product barcodes, but appears to require the user to cut out the barcode and carefully insert it into a slot on the unit. (Thanks, LKM!) Implementation wise, I [still] suspect that means that the BB scanner is significantly less versatile than the Skannerz scanner.

Thanks to Marcia of DutchBint for the reference to Barcode Battler!
7:48:44 PM