Pokemon Tretta Card

Date:  June 17, 2018

I think both of my son are addicted playing this Pokemon Tretta arcade game.


They wanted to catch various pokemons.


And the more they played the more cards they collected.


Source:  https://swf.com.tw/?p=1050

So, something came to my mind.  Can I build something to read these Pokemon Tretta cards?

Is this Pokemon Tretta card based on NFC or RFID technology?

Well, based on what I read from this web site (in Chinese), and based on I got zero results from google search.  So, I decided that this website (see source above) gives the correct answers.

Tomy came out with this Pokemon Tretta Lab device back in 2013.  It has been discontinued.

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.10.32 AM.png

This is the Pokemon Tretta card scanner.  And you have to run the software on the Nintendo 3DS in order to get it to work.

So, basically, you place the Pokemon Tretta card at the scanner there.  And somehow, it reads the card.

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.11.37 AM.png

This Chinese author did not have a Nintendo 3DS, so, he uses a 2DS and trying to make it work.

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.12.53 AM.png

This is when the author found out that, there is no NFC chip in there.  So, this other guy (I think Indian) try to use a hammer to open up the Card, and he found only a metal coin only (for weight) I think.

So, this Chinese guy, open up the Nintendo Pokemon Tretta Lab Tretta card reader, and trying to figure out what’s inside.

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.17.41 AM.png

This is what he found out.  When you place the card on the black circle scanner, it activated a switch, and that switch will shine a Infrared LED onto the black circle and then, thru the 3DS build in camera, it take the image of the Tretta Card surface.

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.18.37 AM.png

So, our eyes can only see the left side.  What is printed on the surface.  But thru Infrared, you see the hidden identification codes (those circle and dots), and this image is immediately matched with the database and identify all the attributes of your cards.

So, here is your answer.  It is not RFID, it is not NFC.  It is just a special printed paper that can only be red under infrared.  If you take the picture of the Tretta card and do OCR on it, it will be too slow.  But using those circular codes, it is something similar like reading a QR code like that.

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.20.21 AM.png

Well done and all credits give to this Chinese author.

He glue some Lego on it.

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.25.21 AM.png

Hacked the device a bit.

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.25.47 AM.png

And his 2DS sit properly and function properly on the Tretta Card scanner.

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.26.09 AM.png

So now, we know how this Pokemon Tretta works.  hahahahaha


  1. This is pretty cool. I wonder if anyone is cloning them after doing a complete scan of all possible combinations.

  2. Hi able to share the software to me? Bought the accessories but unable to download the software anymore due to eShop has removed it. Really appreciate if you can help.

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