(Image via Gamespot Japan)
While not every arcade game out there features a card system, most games in Japan do, as a way for you to save your progress, statistics, etc. without that information which can be tied to a specific machine (which might crash and loose all of the locally stored information). For some time, many games used a proprietary card that only worked on that particular game but a modern trend we are beginning to see is the unification of game cards into a single system per company or in some cases multiple companies.
Enter in Bandai Namco’s BanaPassport card, where the goal is to do just that – make one card that will work not just on Namco titles but on others as well. There are three games which will support the new system: Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Dragonball Zenkai and the new Gundam pod battle game. I haven’t been able to find out what other companies will be supporting the card yet but I’m sure we will be hearing about that soon enough. One neat thing about the system is that you don’t have to have your card there for it to work – a smartphone can serve as a substitute.
It’s too bad that card systems like this tend to stick to the Japanese market –
the only game I can think there are a couple of recent games in the US that uses a card such as Incredible Technologies Golden Tee, GlobalVR’s NASCAR Team Racing, and Raw Thrills’ Big Buck games, but for the most part any player tracking used is done with PIN numbers. The Banapassport uses online authentication and if something like this were to be introduced in the States – a system that would let you save info over various games made by different companies – I think it would be more successful than other card systems that have been tried here. The challenge is getting everyone to play along with a unified system, which I imagine would be the one point that would really hinder the development of such a tool. I wonder if we had a system that was all digital however, something done through smartphones and other “smart” devices. That would be limited by the number of smart devices that are out there but it would be a nice place to start, if it could be put together.